Sunday, May 16, 2010


Desert Peace

Noam Chomsky denied entry to Israel

Left-wing American Jewish intellectual known as fierce critic of Jewish state detained for four hours while trying to enter country through Allenby Bridge in order to deliver lecture in Ramallah, sources at Birzeit University report

Jewish intellectual Noam Chomsky, one of the prominent speakers against the Israeli policy, was stopped Sunday while trying to enter Israel through the Allenby Bridge, sources in the Birzeit University in Ramallah told Ynet.

According to the officials, Chomsky was scheduled to deliver a lecture at the university and was detained at the border crossing for more than four hours. A human rights activists who was with Chomsky at the crossing confirmed that the 81-year-old linguist was not allowed to enter Israel.

The American radical political activist was slated to visit the territories as a guest of the university and Palestinian lawmaker Mustafa Barghouti, president of the Union of Palestinian Medical Relief Committees.

According to Barghouti, security sources at Allenby Bridge told Chomsky that he would not be allowed to enter Israel following an order issued by senior Israeli Interior Ministry officials due to his political opinions.

Barghouti, one of the leaders of the struggle against Israel, was slated to accompany Chomsky on his tour of the West Bank and separation fence. He said that “Israel’s decision testifies to its racist nature. Even a person like Chomsky couldn’t avoid it. We are proud of Chomsky’s role in supporting the Palestinians and the struggle against the injustice of the occupation.”

The American intellectual was scheduled to deliver a lecture on the “liberalism in industrialized European societies.”

Won’t speak in Birzeit. Chomsky (Archive photo: AP)

Chomsky, a professor emeritus of linguistics at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, is a fierce critic of the Jewish state. In March, Chomsky called on US citizens to confront Israel over its treatment of the Palestinians.

“Over time, the apparatus of Israeli control has become more sophisticated and effective in affecting Palestinian life,” said Chomsky, a noted author and Massachusetts Institute of Technology professor emeritus. Israel has finally begun to adopt the South African policy of what they call ‘indigenization of repression,’” he said.

Addressing the comparison between Israel and South Africa, Chomsky said, “It’s not exactly like the South African apartheid. In some respects it’s not as bad, but in some respects it’s worse.”

“For decades, Israel has been killing and kidnapping civilians in Lebanon…bringing them to Israel, imprisoning them, keeping them as hostages…but two Israel soldiers are captured at the border (and it) justifies a US invasion,” he said. “It’s a comment of us and what we go along with.”

Chomsky criticized US foreign policy toward Israel but stressed it could also use its power abroad to lessen the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

“The world works like the mafia,” he said. “There is the don, or us (the United States), and when the don says not do something, you don’t do it.”

Anat Shalev and Shmulik Grossman contributed to this report

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