Noam Chomsky Denied Entry to Israel


Lefty legend and distinguished linguist Professor Noam Chomsky was denied entry from Jordan into Israel, where he was scheduled to give a speech at Bir Zeit University, outside of Jerusalem, Haaretz is reporting.

Chomsky was told by an inspector that the reasoning for the denial would be sent to the American embassy in writing. But it doesn’t take a foreign policy expert to guess the freedom-less rationale, regardless of what the government ends up putting on official letterhead.

According to Haaretz:

Interior Ministry spokeswoman Sabine Haddad said Chomsky was turned away for various reasons but declined to elaborate. The ministry was looking into allowing him to enter only the West Bank, said Haddad.

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.

Like a G, Chomsky was quoted as saying, “I suggested [the interrogator try to] find any government in the world that likes anything I say.”

Though he’s been critical of Israel’s policies and American involvement in the conflict, he’s right: there aren’t many issues in this fucked-up world that Chomsky doesn’t have a somewhat controversial take on. Controversial, that is, when framed by the establishment media Chomsky has spent much of his career as a writer, teacher, and lecturer taking on. They, in turn, paint him as a fringe-dwelling lunatic, as these things go.

Though his views on Israel are relatively nuanced, at least compared with the state of the debate in the U.S., here’s a sampling, from a semi-ancient 1992 interview, excerpted from Chronicles of Dissent:

The only realistic political settlement, for the time being, in the past ten or twelve years, that would satisfy the right of self-determination for both national groups is a two-state settlement. Everybody knows what it would have to be: Israel within approximately the pre-June 1967 borders and a Palestinian state in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip, and a return of the Golan Heights to Syria, or maybe some other arrangement. This would be associated with maybe demilitarized zones and international guarantees of some sort or another, but that’s the framework of a possible political settlement. As I say, I don’t think it’s the best one, but that’s the realistic one, very realistic. It’s supported by most of the world.

That said, we’ll see if the brewing publicity storm ends up writing his ticket in.