The Truth About Lies

Susie Linfield warns us against “telling lies” [Letters, April 6], then proceeds to demonstrate her commitment to exactly that by claiming, falsely, that I have manufactured “entirely fictitious claims.”

Linfield is referring to her central charge in the chapter on me in her book The Lions’ Den: that I invented a fairy tale about the 1976 United Nations Security Council Resolution, which very explicitly called for a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict along the internationally recognized borders, with guarantees for “the sovereignty, territorial integrity, and political independence of all states in the area,” including Israel and the new Palestinian state.

In fact, I discussed this resolution accurately, quoting its crucial words and pointing out that it was supported by Egypt, Syria, and Jordan; rejected by Israel; and vetoed by the United States, while the Palestine Liberation Organization condemned “the tyranny of the veto.” I also quoted Israel’s Ambassador to the UN (later president) Chaim Herzog, who claimed that the Palestinians not only backed the resolution but even “prepared” it, therefore rendering it unacceptable. Not true, but a useful illustration of how extreme was Israel’s concern that a two-state solution might be endorsed by the UN. The country’s formal reaction was presented by Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin: Israel must “vehemently oppose any tendency to establish a third state in the area between it and Jordan.” See my books Towards a New Cold War, pages 267 and 461, and Fateful Triangle, pages 67 and 68. Linfield cites both, thus demonstrating that her charge arises not out of simple ignorance but by conscious fabrication.

The same books review many other occasions in the 1970s when Israel rejected opportunities for a diplomatic settlement, all evaded by Linfield, who prefers such gambits as repeated laments that “[Chomsky] cites himself as the source”—meaning that I gave a page reference in the same book for explicit statements instead of merely repeating them.

There is no point wasting space on Linfield’s litany of deceit and misrepresentation, though I’ll be happy to respond to specific queries. What is important to recognize is that in the early stages of the occupation, in the ’70s, Israel made a fateful decision to choose expansion over security.

That decision had far-reaching consequences for the Palestinians and more broadly, including for Israel itself. In the ’70s, Israel was still highly admired, even benefiting from accolades accorded to no other state. That is now far from true. The decline is a matter of real concern to those who care about the society and its people, a concern that should not be contaminated by anything like this sorry performance.

Noam Chomsky
oro valley, ariz.

A Puzzling Decision

Re “ “No Cross Words,” ,” by Joshua Kosman and Henri Picciotto [April 6]: I am a lifelong liberal, but I subscribe to The Nation because of the puzzle by Kosman and Picciotto. When the puzzle goes, so will I.

Matthew Field
hastings, england

I quit The Atlantic after it yanked its puzzle and stubbornly did not read it again until 2020. At the same time, I’ve remained loyal to the increasingly weird Harper’s largely because of its excellent monthly puzzle. What do you expect us all to do while we are trapped at home by the pandemic? This is just so mean!
Amy Brunvand
salt lake city