“Matzpen” and its Sponsors
THE Committee on New Alternatives in the Middle East, according to Noam Chomsky, one of its founders, was established to promote discussion of the Arab-Israeli crisis, and specifically “to introduce left-wing voices that are rarely heard in the United States.” In a letter inviting other intellectuals to sponsor the Committee with him, Chomsky emphasized that it would “take no specific stand on the Middle East” and expressed the hope that people representing “a range of differing views” would join in lending their names to the encouragement of its activities. The first of these activities, he said, would be a national speaking tour for Arie Bober, a member of the Israel Socialist Organization (ISO), often referred to as Matzpen (Compass) after the name of the periodical it publishes. Chomsky described Matzpen as “a small, non-Zionist, Jewish- Arab organization which recognizes the national rights of both Jews and Arabs in Palestine” and believes that reconciliation between them depends upon a “profound social transformation” of the entire area.
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