Noam Chomsky barred from entering West Bank

Published on WSWS, by David Walsh, 19 May 2010.

Israeli authorities barred Noam Chomsky, professor emeritus of linguistics at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and a well-known critic of Zionist policy, from entering the Israeli-occupied West Bank Sunday.

After being questioned for several hours, he and his daughter Avi were turned back. Chomsky had been scheduled to deliver three lectures at Birzeit University, the leading Palestinian institution, one of them on Monday. Instead, he participated in the latter seminar on US foreign policy, attended by 100 Birzeit students, via videoconferencing. Chomsky, who lived in Israel on a kibbutz in 1953, has visited and lectured in the country numerous times in the past. 

In the aftermath of the episode, the Israeli interior ministry claimed the decision to deny Chomsky entry was a “misunderstanding.” A senior government official told the AFP that the situation was “a total cockup.” The interior ministry asserted that Chomsky would be granted entry if he tried to cross from Jordan again, but the MIT professor learned that the government, in fact, would not “officially” guarantee his admittance and decided to deliver his talk by other means.

Later, interior ministry spokeswoman Sabine Hadad blamed the incident on the Israeli military’s Coordinator for Government Activities in the Territories. She denied that Chomsky’s name was on an Israeli government blacklist … //

… It is a sign both of the extreme right-wing character of the Netanyahu regime, and the deep instability of the political situation in Israel, that the government has taken the step of banning a figure as prominent as Chomsky. (full text).

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