Israel Bars Noam Chomsky From Lecturing in West Bank

JERUSALEM (AFP)–Renowned Jewish-American scholar and political activist Noam Chomsky said he was barred from entering Israel and the West Bank on Sunday to speak at a Palestinian university.

Chomsky had been invited to speak on Monday at Bir Zeit University near Ramallah, but was stopped from entering the West Bank at the Israeli-controlled crossing from Jordan, he told Israel’s Channel 10 television.

“I went with my daughter and two old friends. We went in the normal way to the border where we were all interrogated. They were particularly interested in me,” he told Channel 10, speaking from Jordan.

Chomsky said the Israeli border officials were “very polite” as they “transmitted inquiries from the ministry of the interior.”

However, he was denied entry because “the government did not like the kinds of things I say and they did not like that I was only talking at Bir Zeit and not at an Israeli university too,” he said.

“I asked them if they could find any government in the world that likes the things I say,” Chomsky said.

A spokeswoman from Israel’s interior ministry, which controls the country’s borders, said Chomsky was still at the border and may yet be given permission to enter the West Bank.

“We are checking it with security officials” Sabin Hadad told AFP.

She said the decision not to allow him in appeared to be “some kind of a misunderstanding,” and added Chomsky was “not on any [black] list.”

Palestinian lawmaker Mustafa Barghuti, who had invited Chomsky to speak at the university, said the scholar had been detained at the border for five hours.

“This act shows the nature of the Israeli government that is against freedom of speech, particularly from such a noted international figure like Chomsky,” said Barghuti.

Chomsky, 81, is a professor of linguistics at the US Massachusetts Institute of Technology and a prominent critic of US foreign policy. He has also frequently spoken out against Israel’s occupation of Palestinian territories.


Discussion Policy

Comments are welcomed and encouraged. Though you are fully responsible for the content you post, comments that include profanity, personal attacks or other inappropriate material will not be permitted. Asbarez reserves the right to block users who violate any of our posting standards and policies.


  1. douglas smith said:

    It should be clear now that Isreal is “the problem” in peace in the middle east. No matter how much the US supports Isreal with money and ammunition, it is clear that Israel is against freedom of speech, and any move towards peace or even basic communication to ease tensions. It is clear again that Israel is selectively barring independently minded Americans from its territories just because they do not want the world to hear the injustice that they perpetrate in the West Bank and inside palestinian terrotories. This is unfair oppression of the people of Palestine! And it needs to stop! When is America going to take a stance and put sanctions against Israel for its blatant refusal to stop building settlements in the West Bank. The Obama adminstration has clearly requested that they stop invading Palestinain terrortories and they continue to defy and violate the US demands. If Iraq or Iran were to break international rules as Isreal does nowadays, the US army would have been flying B52s and taken them to war long ago. Why do we continue to sit-by and allow this kind of injustice?

  2. Edward Mouradian said:

    Mr.Chomsky`s views are liked by all communist regimes and leftists in the world &are always used for their primitive anti-american propaganda.Mihran,why did you choose the USA rather than a palestinian or an arab or any other muslim de-mock-racy?

  3. john papazian said:

    Free speach is a myth.It works well here in the States only because thats all Americans do,I know I am one.

  4. Edward Mouradian said:

    Dear John , you take your freedom for granted.In my country people are being beaten to death for publicly expressing their opinion.And-free speech is what most Armenians mostly do.America is not what it is today thanks to free speech alone.

  5. Norin Radd said:

    You’re right Edward, free speech alone certainly could not make America what it is today. It took lots of bombs, a handful of illegitimate wars of aggression to secure foreign energy resources, and a multitude of covert assasinations by the NSA/CIA of foreign dignitaries and “free speakers” to secure today’s America.

    As Americans, we enjoy lots of liberties, that much is true. What is a myth is our belief that we live in a truly democratic state. We only happen to think this merely due to the fact that our bellies are plump and fat while our standard of living is the highest in the world. With all the luxuries we get as Americans from cars, houses, to everything else, very few of us take time to consider the notions regarding a “true” democracy. Every time the country begins to critically think, the powers that be stuff more luxuries and foreign resouces in our faces, and like fat pigs, we pork away while shouting “oink oink oink”.

    Edward, while in some places your opinion gets you a beating, often times, Americans can speak freely, but if they dare actually act on their ideas, well then they will get a beating. We Americans get to speak about our actions but not act on them, we essentially get a beating “after free speech” where in some other places they just cut to the chase and beat you in the beginning.

  6. Norin Radd said:

    Doug, any and all violations Israel may or may not commit will continue to be tollerated internationally as long as the status quo of Israel acting as a satelite “watch dog state” in the region is needed by US and Co. This scenario is a good working tactic for those living in Israel as long as the US continues to “need them there”. However, if at any point in the future that need should run out, Israelis have got a huge hurt coming to them from surrounding states.

    A much better solution for both Israelis and Palestinians would be to just cut to the chase and set up the two state solution, that way the Jews can live in peace within their borders and the Palestinians can live in peace within their borders. Nothing lasts forever, and Jews need to realize this, they are strong now, but what happens if at some inevitable point in the future the tables are turned? To think this will never happen is sheer arrogance and will result in perhaps a worse catastrophy than the Holocaust. That whole region is a ticking time bomb and it needs to be diffused by all parties involved ASAP.

    Also the whole “we experienced a Holocaust” arguement is also steadily waning in the world’s eyes. Jews everywhere could have taken a truely humanistic stance on their lessons learned from the Holocaust by affirming and teaching humanitarian approaches to conflict for all cultures having experienced Genocide. However, they have chosen to selectively affirm Rwanda and Sudan alongside the Holocause while omitting the most important Genocidal event of the 20th century, the Armenian Genocide, which kicked off the 20th century’s reign of genocides.

    This decision will also come back to haunt Jews everywhere in the future because it has directly negatively impacted their credibility on “human rights” and “violation of human rights”. They can’t expect the world to continually remember their pain when they selectively ignore other atrocities for their own gain, namely, ignoring and working against the recognition of the Armenian Genocide, a truly shamless diservice to the deaths they themselves experienced in the Holocaust.