UPDATED

Noted linguist and far left activist Noam Chomsky can’t haz Knaffeh as he was denied entry into the Palestine Authority by Israel’s Ministry of the Interior. Chomsky was supposed to give a lecture at Bir Zeit University in Ramallah at the invitation of Palestinian Authority member of Parliament Dr. Moustafa Barghouti. He was detained and questioned at the Allenby Bridge crossing for 3 hours and then sent back to Jordan. Haartez reported that:

In a telephone interview with Channel 10, Chomsky said the interrogators had told him he had written things that the Israeli government did not like. “I suggested [the interrogator try to] find any government in the world that likes anything I say,” he said.

Chomsky is particularly notable because he is a Jewish-American academic who is amongst the most well known and vociferous critics of Israel. Chomsky has also in the past justified the development of nuclear weapons by Iran:

Speaking at Harvard’s Memorial Church on Saturday, March 6th, Chomsky critiqued the foreign policy of President Obama ’91 and explained the historical reasons that Iran would perceive a need to develop nuclear weapons. “If they’re not developing a nuclear deterrent, they are crazy.” The problem, said Chomsky, is the defiant and hypocritical insistence of the United States on holding the constant threat of military action over Iran as a punishment for its noncompliance with United Nations mandates. “Hostile actions of the United States and its Israeli client are a major factor in Iran’s decisions of whether or not to develop a nuclear deterrent.”

While hosted by Hezballah in Lebanon in 2006, Chomsky stated that an armed Hezballah is justified as a deterrent against potential aggression. One month later, Hezballah started lobbing their “defensive” missiles at Israel, prompting the start of the 2nd Lebanon War.

I think Chomsky’s politics are not only detestable, they’re also intellectually dishonest and one sided. I know this because I’ve seen him speak several times and have read much of what he’s written. I’m not keen on Israel barring anyone from merely speaking, even at a campus as politicized and radical as Bir Zeit. Had he chosen to speak at an Israeli University, I likely would have attended. However, I do recognize that speech can act as an incitement to violence so I can understand the reasoning behind the Ministry of the Interior’s decision to bar Chomsky’s entry. Such decisions are made all the time by Western, Democratic countries and Israel is no different than them in that respect. So bottom line? I’m opposed to Chomsky’s denial of entry but I kind of understand the presumptive reasoning behind it. I look forward to the government’s public justification.

UPDATE: Will cooler heads prevail? According to the Jerusalem Post, Chomsky’s denial of entry was a misunderstanding and the decision might well be reversed. That would be good. We have nothing to fear from old man Chomsky, an old-skool radical activist who never met a 3rd world Dictator he didn’t like.

About the author

ck

Founder and Publisher of Jewlicious, David Abitbol lives in Jerusalem with his wife, newborn daughter and toddler son. Blogging as "ck" he's been blocked on twitter by the right and the left, so he's doing something right.

23 Comments

  • they should not have barred him from going to make the speech, and i hope that they reconsider.

    chomsky makes the same speech every time, so israel really has nothing to fear from his words.

    i am sure that he is lying about what the security personnel told him…they dont have to give reasons for the denial, and usually dont.

    let the old curmudgeon speak

    btw, the man isnt a leftist….he is a radical

    true leftists do not allign themselves with fundamentalist muslims.

  • This makes Israel – or rather specifically, Likud – look very bad indeed. If people like Bibi truly believe they are right and just, then they should feel they have nothing to fear from the likes of Chomsky. This proves that these people know they are wrong and unjust.

    JMJ

  • JMJ

    every day countries like the uk and the us deny entry to individuals seeking entry

    think the uk knows its wrong because michael savage is on the do not allow entry list?

    think that canada thinks its wrong because they now deny entry to galloway?

    i personally dont have a problem with letting that old radical speak…but i dont speak for the israeli government

  • TM: Chomsky looks both decrepit and cuddly in that photo. And it seems that he may very well get his knaffeh after all. I can’t imagine they’re not going to let him in now. I mean who can deny an 81 year old man a taste of baklava pizza? Unless he’s lactose intolerant of course…

  • I think Israel authorities should have let him into the Palestinian territories only, as they have done recently for other anti-Israel activists.

    People who try to delegitimize Israel, encourage an international Israeli boycott and encourage and support Hezballah terrorists should not be allowed into Israel. Period. I guarantee 90% of Israelis would support a ban. There is nothing fascist about that as the hysterical YNET op ed states it is. The US and UK also ban inciters, especially since 9/11.

  • so, noam chomsky is a terrorist? a threat to the state. because he uses reasoning and can allegedly make hezballah launch missiles. of course, this is what he wants to achieve with his evil superpowers. are you all for real, people? what universe are you living in? or is it me? yeah, it it is me.

  • I’d let him in. He’s a loon, obviously, but the damage to Israel’s image outweighs whatever harm as he’s likely to cause (he’s a formidably boring speaker, btw). Israel should act self-confidently and not defensively here.

  • Chomsky has compared the inident to a ‘Stalinist regime.’ Because Stalin waw famous for making his political enemies it around for four hours before sending tnem back their hotels. That’s why they called it ‘The Terror’.

  • Israel is the latest in a long line of countries that has decided the best way to fight its enemies is by emulating them. I doubt Ahmadinejad would let Daniel Pipes enter Iran to give a speech either.

    The man is, after all, Jewish. It really speaks worlds when Israel is barring Jews from entering the country because they are critics of the government.

    • Um, Neil, when the government of Israel steals an election and then kills opponents of the theft after subduing the ensuing riots, you can begin to compare Iran to Israel.

      Israel allows its opponents into the country regularly. In recent years, as the campaign to deligitimize the state’s existence entirely has accelarated, they seem to be getting far more cautious about enabling the deligitimizers. I personally disagree with blocking Chomsky from enterring, but let’s be clear that Daniel Pipes wouldn’t be going to Iran to enable the destruction of that state in the middle of an existential struggle between two nations.

      Oh, and being Jewish doesn’t preclude a person from wanting to see Israel destroyed.

  • Just as long as you’re OK with censoring him over his political speech. This probably does more to validate his opinions than anything else, of course, by asserting that they are worthy of censorship. (And of course, as you and I both know, Chomsky doesn’t “want to see Israel destroyed,” he wants to see it reformed. There’s a reason that the people who do want to see it destroyed don’t bother trying to give speeches there.)

    If Israel does not wish to be compared to Iran, it should stop behaving like it, rather than pointing out ways in which it isn’t. Barring dissidents and censoring political discourse are not good ways to avoid being compared to a totalitarian police state.

  • Excuse me, did you miss the part where I said I disagreed with not letting him in? I’m not afraid of what he has to say.

    As for comparing Israel to a totalitarian police state because they didn’t let Chomsky in, you might want to brush up a little on what totalitarian police states are really like (hint:closer to Saudi Arabia and Syria than Israel).

    Sorry, this is a minor event in Chomsky’s life and Israel’s existence and really doesn’t merit the type of in-depth analysis and introspection you’re proposing.

  • i would like to know what israel is like, given chomsky was not permitted entry. he, who is obviously not a threat to the state. he, who is not a terrorist. he, who, as some might say, is just a lunatic radical who is not worth listening to anyway. what is israel like? i would like to know. thank you.

  • Yeah, we’re not afraid of Ol’ Man Chomsky. Apparently this is just some kind of bureaucratic snafu. I hope they let him in.

  • we dont know if it is some kind of bureaucratic snafu or if this was done on purpose. we will never know for sure. so, what if it was done on purpose? two of his friends were allowed to enter. chomsky and his daughter were not. doesnt look like a bureaucratic snafu to me.

  • Previpu post makes little sense. If Chomsky is being ‘censored’ for his political views, can we assume that his friends, who were granted access, have views opposed to Chomsky’s? Seems unlikely when you consider one of Chomsky’s latest catchphrases is, ‘there isn’t even any serious debate about that anymore,’ suggesting a certain lack of regard for viewpoints divergent from his own. So it’s unlikely Chomsky’s chums think, for instance, that Hezbollah might not be such a nice bunch of people or that every single survivor of Pol Pot’s terror isn’t a politically-motivated liar.

  • wtf

    who is israel like? britain and canada.

    puts them at the top of the list of world democracies

    amazing how people want israel to be better than everyone else

    here is a suggestion for mr chomsky…next time he wants to get into the west bank, let him parachute in.

  • Oh, whatever, I just heard an interview with him where he gave the same “totalitarian state” comparison Neil gave us. What a joke.

  • doomsday, are you a troll? how can you say my comment makes little sense and then just throw phrases out of context in and make them general statements? how can you dare to say what chomsky thinks? can you look inside his head? you do not even know what chomskys views are like. and who knows, maybe chomsky, being an academic (and so were his friends) is open for debate and not that blinkered.

    uncle joe, i bet when chomsky tries to parachute in, he will be shot. what is comparing israel to britain and canada based on? i wasnt asking for a comparison to a country. but comparing isr to those countries must be a silly joke. and yes, israel should be better than any other country. chosen ones and all, you know.

    themiddle, saying that something is a joke without providing reasons for it, while other people do not find it funny, does not make sense. you might as well explain the punch line in the scenario. here is a little help. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Totalitarian_state

    for anyone else http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Noam_Chomsky's_political_views

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