Pierre Vidal-Naquet: On Faurisson and Chomsky (Notes)

  1. Mémoire en défense; this is the book announced in n. 91 of my study "A Paper Eichmann"; the announced title has become a subtitle. A detailed refutation of this work has recently been published by M. Steinberg: Les yeux du témoin et le regard du borgne (Paris: Cerf, 1990).
  2. That is what I wrote and believed in 1981, but further information has led me to realize I was wrong (note from 1987).
  3. A falsification that has been modified without informing the reader remains, of course, a falsification. Where "special action" (the code name for gassing) was principally (Vérité, p. 109) the "sorting out of the sick from the healthy," it becomes additionally (Mémoire en défense, p. 34) the "cleaning of either third class or especially freight trains, in which the new detainees had just arrived." In the first hypothesis, why should "special action" concern those arriving from the outside and not yet afflicted by the epidemic? In the second, it could not concern, for good reason, the "Muslims." And why, above all, should the same expression employed the same day have two different meanings?
  4. Chomsky's preface, which is seven pages long, is entitled "Quelques commentaires élémentaires sur le droit a la liberté d'expression."
  5. Ibid., p. ix.
  6. This was already the case for the preceding book, by Serge Thion.
  7. See this volume, pp. 39-40 and Esprit, p. 38.
  8. Esprit, p. 52.1 reprint these lines as they were published. For reasons of precision I rephrased them in the definitive version of my text, supra, p. 58.
  9. Maurice Nadeau, Histoire du surréalisme, II, Documents surréalistes (Paris: Seuil, 1948), p. 154.
  10. Concerning the refusal of the personnel of the Centre de Documentation Juive Contemporaine (a private foundation) to serve him, cf. Esprit, p. 52, and supra, p. 58.
  11. These are words, American and English colleagues have told me, which might be said of a university thesis --and a good one!
  12. For the sake of completeness, I will say that in his new book there is material on gas chambers that were either imaginary or did not function in the western camps, Buchenwald and Dachau. But it is all so poorly analyzed from a historical point of view that even such documentation is hard to utilize.
  13. "Le Cambodge, les droits de l'homme et l'opinion internationale," pp. 112-113.
  14. "Le Cambodge, la presse et ses bêtes noires," pp. 95-111.
  15. When a regional director of LICRA protests against a performance of Shakespeare's The Merchant of Venice (cf. Le Monde, July 5,1980), he is working for Faurisson, who is delighted to mention such venomous foolishness.
  16. Cf. Stephen Lukes, "Chomsky's Betrayal of Truths," Times (London), Higher Education Supplement, November 7, 1980, p. 31.
  17. See P. Guillaume, Droit et Histoire (Paris: La Vieille Taupe, 1986), pp. 158-159.
  18. I possess a huge file of material; suffice it for me to refer to a small book published, alas, by Editions Spartacus (Paris, 1984), N. Chomsky, Réponses inédites à mes détracteurs parisiens.
  19. P. Guillaume, Droit et Histoire, p. 54.
  20. P. Guillaume signed a preface to Chomsky's book, Réponses inédites, with his initials.
  21. My colleague and friend Professor Arno Mayer of Princeton spoke with Chomsky about his preface a few weeks before its publication.
  22. See his letter in the Village Voice of March 18,1986, p. 7, responding to an article by Paul Berman in the same newspaper (February 18, 1986).
  23. I refer to the American edition of the Biographical Companion to Contemporary Thought, edited by A. Bullock (London: Fontana-Collins, 1983); details of this matter can be found in an article by G. Sampson (author of the note), "Censoring 20th-Century Culture: The Case of Noam Chomsky," The New Criterion, October 1984, pp. 7-16.
  24. W. D. Rubinstein's article, "Chomsky and the Neo-Nazis," published in the Australian periodical Quadrant, October 1981, pp. 8-14, seems to me to miss the mark; it was followed by a published debate, in which Chomsky (setting forth his usual line) participated, as well as R. Manne (on the subject of Cambodia) (Quadrant, April 1982, pp. 622). In P. Guillaume's Droit et Histoire, pp. 152-172, one finds fragments of an unbelievable attack by one Chantal Beauchamp, characterized as a "professor and agrégée in history," against Chomsky, who is accused of being a closet exterminationist, and his accomplice P. Guillaume. One would like to know the elements of this delectable affair.
  25. N. Chomsky, for example, appears not to have had any problem with La Vieille Taupe publishing the (genuinely Nazi) volume of W. Stäglich, Le Mythe d'Auschwitz (1986). To someone who asked him what he thought of it, he replied that he did not discuss things with fascists (testimony of Paul Berman, 1986). The most intelligent article written to defend Chomsky--C. Hitchens's "The Chorus and Cassandra: What Everyone Knows About Noam Chomsky," Grand Street, Autumn 1985, pp. 106-131 --avoids confronting this type of question.
  26. See his polemic against Nadine Fresco, for example, in Dissent, Spring 1982, pp. 218-220.


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