Noam Chomsky blocked from entering Israel





Interior Ministry spokeswoman Sabine Haddad to The Jerusalem Post: 'The initial decision to deny Chomsky entry was due to a misunderstanding. Chomsky’s name is not on a blacklist of individuals prohibited from entering the country.'

US linguist and philosopher Noam Chomsky pauses while addressing the audience at the National Autonomous University's Educational Investigation Institute ...

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Chomsky barred from West Bank Chomsky barred from West Bank
MIT professor turned away at Jordan border

By Peter Schworm
Globe Staff / May 17, 2010

Noam Chomsky, an outspoken voice on the political left and a fierce critic of Israeli foreign policy, was denied entry by Israeli officials into the West Bank yesterday, where he was scheduled to deliver a lecture at a Palestinian university.

Chomsky, a renowned linguistics professor at MIT, was seeking to cross the border between Jordan and the Israeli-occupied West Bank, but was turned away after being questioned for several hours. He said authorities did not provide an explanation, but told him they would send a written account to the American Embassy.

An Israeli official said in published reports that border officials barred Chomsky because they mistakenly thought he was also planning to visit other places in Israel outside of the Palestinian territory. She said border and immigration officials were consulting military officials about potentially letting him enter the country.

“We are trying to contact the military to clear things up, and if they have no objection, we see no reason why he should not be allowed in,’’ Interior Ministry spokeswoman Sabine Haddad told Reuters.

In an e-mail to the Globe, Chomsky said he believed he was being singled out for his criticism of Israel, as well as his plans to speak at a Palestinian university. “They are carrying out an action of a kind that I’ve never heard of before, except in totalitarian states,’’ he said.

Chomsky, 81, said he believes he was also targeted because his trip did not include any engagements at Israeli universities, as he has often done in the past. He predicted that Israel would ultimately reverse its decision because of international criticism.

In a live television interview with Al Jazeera, Chomsky said the Israeli government “does not like the kind of things I say, which puts them into the category of every other government in the world.’’

In Jerusalem, the Association for Civil Rights in Israel condemned the barring of Chomsky.

“A democratic state, which considers freedom of expression a guiding principle, does not close itself off to criticism or uncomfortable notions and does not refuse entry to visitors whose views it does not accept, but rather deals with them through public discourse,’’ the group said in a statement.

Chomsky, who is Jewish, is a frequent critic of Israeli policy in the Palestinian territories and of US support for Israel.

On its website, Birzeit University said that “academics who hold international passports and wish to teach at Palestinian universities are often denied entry/deported by Israel.’’

Chomsky’s daughter — Aviva Chomsky, a professor at Salem State College — was also denied entry.

In e-mails, she said that she and her father were questioned by an official from the Ministry of the Interior, who asked why Chomsky was going to Birzeit and not to an Israeli university and what he was planning to speak about.

Chomsky said he had traveled to Israel on numerous occasions.

© Copyright 2010 Globe Newspaper Company.

Posted by: Mork | 05/17/2010

'misunderstanding' Published

After denied entry to West Bank, Chomsky likens Israel to 'Stalinist regime'
Linguist Noam Chomsky was scheduled to lecture at Bir Zeit University near Ramallah, meet PA Prime Minister Fayyad.

By Amira Hass

The Interior Ministry refused to let linguist Noam Chomsky into Israel and the West Bank on Sunday. Chomsky, who aligns himself with the radical left, had been scheduled to lecture at Bir Zeit University near Ramallah, and visit Bil'in and Hebron, as well as meet with Palestinian Prime Minister Salam Fayyad and various Palestinian activists.

In a telephone conversation last night from Amman, Chomsky told Haaretz that he concluded from the questions of the Israeli official that the fact that he came to lecture at a Palestinian and not an Israeli university led to the decision to deny him entry.

"I find it hard to think of a similar case, in which entry to a person is denied because he is not lecturing in Tel Aviv. Perhaps only in Stalinist regimes," Chomsky told Haaretz.

Sabine Haddad, a spokesperson for the Interior Ministry, confirmed to Haaretz that the officials at the border were from the ministry.

"Because he entered the Palestinian Authority territory only, his entry is the responsibility of the Office of the Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories at the Defense Ministry. There was a misunderstanding on our side, and the matter was not brought to the attention of the COGAT."

Haddad told Haaretz that "the minute the COGAT says that they do not object, Chomsky's entry would have been permitted."

Chomsky, a Jewish professor of linguistics and philosophy at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, had spent several months at Kibbutz Hazore'a during the 1950s and had considered a longer stay in Israel. He had been invited by the Department of Philosophy at Bir Zeit.

He planned to spend four days in the West Bank and give two lectures.

On Sunday, at about 1:30 P.M. he came to the Israeli side of the border with Jordan. After three hours of questioning, during which the border officer repeatedly called the Interior Ministry for instructions, Chomsky's passport was stamped with "Denied Entry."

With Chomsky, 81, were his daughter Aviva, and a couple of old friends of his and his late wife.

Entry was also denied to his daughter.

Their friends, one of whom is a Palestinian who grew up in Beirut, were allowed in, but they opted to return with Chomsky to Amman.

Chomsky told Haaretz that it was clear that his arrival had been known to the authorities, because the minute he entered the passport control room the official told him that he was honored to see him and that he had read his works.

The professor concluded that the officer was a student, and said he looked embarrassed at the task at hand, especially when he began reading from text the questions that had been dictated to him, and which were also told to him later by telephone.

Chomsky told Haaretz about the questions.

"The official asked me why I was lecturing only at Bir Zeit and not an Israeli university," Chomsky recalled. "I told him that I have lectured a great deal in Israel. The official read the following statement: 'Israel does not like what you say.'"

Chomsky replied: "Find one government in the world which does."

"The young man asked me whether I had ever been denied entry into other countries. I told him that once, to Czechoslovakia, after the Soviet invasion in 1968," he said, adding that he had gone to visit ousted Czechoslovak leader Alexander Dubcek, whose reforms the Soviets crushed.

In response to the official's question, Chomsky said that the subjects of his lectures were "America and the world," and "America at home."

The official asked him whether he would speak on Israel and Chomsky said that because he would talk of U.S. policy he would also comment on Israel and its policies.

He was then told by the official: "You have spoken with [Hassan] Nasrallah."

"True," Chomsky told him. "When I was in Lebanon [prior to the war in 2006] I spoke with people from the entire political spectrum there, as in Israel I also spoke with people on the right."

"At the time I read reports of my visit in the Israeli press, and the articles in the Israeli press had no connection with reality," Chomsky told the border official.

The official asked Chomsky why he did not have an Israeli passport.

"I replied I am an American citizen," Chomsky said.

Chomsky said that he asked the man at border control for an official written explanation for the reason his entry was denied and that "it would help the Interior Ministry because this way my version will not be the only one given to the media."

The official called the ministry and then told Chomsky that he would be able to find the official statement at the U.S. Embassy.

The last time Chomsky visited Israel and the West Bank was in 1997, when he lectured on both sides of the Green Line. He had also planned a visit to the Gaza strip, but because the Palestinian Authority insisted that he be escorted by Palestinian guards, he canceled that part of the visit.

To Haaretz, Chomsky said Sunday that preventing him entry is tantamount to boycotting Bir Zeit University. Chomsky is known to oppose a general boycott on Israel. "I was against a boycott of apartheid South Africa as well. If we are going to boycott, why not the United States, whose record is even worse? I'm in favor of boycotting American companies which collaborate with the occupation," he said. "But if we are to boycott Tel Aviv University, why not MIT?"

Chomsky told Haaretz that he supports a two-state solution, but not the solution proposed by Jerusalem, "pieces of land that will be called a state."

He said that Israel's behavior today reminds him of that of South Africa in the 1960s, when it realized that it was already considered a pariah, but thought that it would resolve the problem with better public relations.

Tags: Israel news West Bank Noam Chomsky

Posted by: Mork | 05/17/2010

Chomsky blocked from entering Israel By YAAKOV LAPPIN

Interior Ministry calls decision ‘misunderstanding’.

Talkbacks (4)
The Interior Ministry on Sunday denied entry to Jewish American linguist Prof. Noam Chomsky – one of Israel’s fiercest opponents in academia – turning him back from the Allenby Bridge border crossing at the Jordan Valley.

However, it indicated by press time Sunday night that it might reverse its decision and allow Chomsky to speak at the Bir Zeit University near Ramallah.

“We are checking with the IDF’s Coordinator for Government Activities in the Territories [COGAT],” Interior Ministry spokeswoman Sabine Haddad told The Jerusalem Post on Sunday evening. “If COGAT gives us the all-clear, we will grant him entry.”

Haddad said the initial decision to deny Chomsky entry was due to a “misunderstanding,” and denied claims that Chomsky’s name was on a blacklist of individuals prohibited from entering the country.

She confirmed he had been questioned for a number of hours before being denied entry by the Interior Ministry’s Immigration and Border Authority.

Speaking from the Jordan Valley, Chomsky told Channel 10 TV, “I’ve often spoken at Israeli universities.”

In 2009, following Operation Cast Lead in Gaza, Chomsky said that “supporters of Israel are in reality supporters of its moral degeneration.”

Posted by: Mork | 05/17/2010

Norman Finkelstein: Israel being exposed and feels threatened RussiaToday — 17 mai 2010 — Israel has refused to permit Noam Chomsky, the linguist and icon of the American left, to enter the occupied West Bank from Jordan. Some argue that Chomsky, an 81-year-old professor emeritus at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, could pose a risk to Israel. Norman Finkelstein says that Israel has been exposed to the world during the Gaza conflict and now feels threatened.


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Posted by: Mork | 05/18/2010

Noam Chomsky denied entry into Israel and West Bank Published 16.05.10

Noam Chomsky denied entry into Israel and West Bank

Interior Ministry seeking IDF approval to let American professor just into West Bank; rights group: Decision characteristic of totalitarian regime.

By Amira Hass
Tags: Israel news Noam Chomsky

Professor Noam Chomsky, an American linguist and left-wing activist, was denied entry into Israel and the West Bank on Sunday.

No reason was initially given for the decision, but the Interior Ministry later said immigration officials at the Allenby Bridge border crossing from Jordan had misunderstood Chomsky's intentions thinking initially he was also due to visit Israel.

Chomsky, who is on a speaking tour in the region, was scheduled to speak at Bir Zeit University in the West Bank on Monday.

Interior Ministry spokeswoman Sabine Haddad said officials were now trying to get clearance from the Israel Defense Forces, which controls access to the West Bank to allow Chomsky to enter that territory.

"We are trying to contact the military to clear things up and if they have no objection we see no reason why he should not be allowed in," said Hadad.
Chomsky said inspectors had stamped the words "denied entry" onto his passport when he tried to cross from Jordan over Allenby Bridge.

When he asked an Israeli inspector why he had not received permission, he was told that an explanation would be sent in writing to the American embassy. "They apparently didn't like the fact that I was due to lecture at a Palestinian university and not in Israel," Chomsky told Reuters by telephone from Amman.

Chomsky arrived at the Allenby Bridge at around 1:30 in the afternoon and was taken for questioning, before being released back to Amman at 4:30 P.M.

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 a professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and is considered among the foremost academics in the world. He identifies with the radical left and is often critical of both Israeli and American policies.

Chomsky said he last visited Israel and the West Bank in 1997 when he lectured at Ben-Gurion University and also at Bir Zeit. He said all his previous West Bank visits had been as a part of trips to Israel.

His Palestinian host, lawmaker Mustafa al-Barghouti called the decision "a fascist action, amounting to suppression of freedom of expression."

The Association for Civil Rights in Israel slammed the Interior Ministry for "using detention and deportation to prevent a man from expressing his opinion", calling it "characteristic of a totalitarian regime."

"A democratic country where freedom of expression is a guiding principle does not close in the face of criticism or ideas that are not comfortable and does not deny entry to guests only because it does not accept their opinions. Instead, it deals with these opinions through public discussion," said ACRI in a statement.

Kadima MK Otniel Schneller, on the other hand, praised the move.
"It's good that Israel did not allow one of its accusers to enter its territory," said Schneller. "I recommend [Chomsky] try one of the tunnels connecting Gaza and Egypt."

Posted by: Mork | 05/18/2010

Shin Bet Published 06.05.10

Shin Bet deports Spain's most famous clown upon arrival in Israel

Ben Gurion Airport security officials detain Ivan Prado for six hours, accusing the Spanish entertainer of ties with Palestinian terror groups.

By Barak Ravid
Ivan Prado, the most famous clown in Spain, did not expect to be put on a return flight back to Madrid soon after arriving at Ben-Gurion International Airport late last month, after spending six hours with officials from the Shin Bet security service and the Interior Ministry. The officials accused Prado of having ties to Palestinian terror organizations.

Foreign Ministry officials, meanwhile, say the incident caused grave damage to Israel's image in Spain.

Prado, director of the International Clown Festival in Galicia, arrived at Ben-Gurion Airport on April 26 with a Spanish national of Arab origin. They planned to go to Ramallah to help organize a similar festival, but at passport control Prado was taken aside by a Shin Bet officer who asked him about his planned visit to the West Bank and about his connections to various Palestinian organizations. He and his female companion were held for six hours, during which they were questioned repeatedly, and their passports were confiscated.

They were sent back to Spain after an Interior Ministry official informed them that they would not be permitted into Israel.

After Prado returned to Madrid he launched a media campaign denouncing Israel and comparing the situation of Palestinians in the West Bank with Jews in Poland.

The incident sparked tension between the Israeli Embassy in Madrid and the Foreign Ministry in Jerusalem, prompted by questions to the embassy from Spanish journalists and fueled by the diplomats' anger at the Foreign Ministry's explanation that Prado was turned away at the airport "for security reasons."

The Shin Bet issued a statement to Haaretz lacking significant details about the reasons behind the decision. "We recommended to the Interior Ministry to prevent his entry into Israel after the findings of the security check produced suspicions about him," the statement said. "The man declined to provide complete information to the security people, especially in regard to his links with Palestinian terror organizations."

Posted by: Mork | 05/18/2010

Israel rejects Qatar bid to restore diplomatic ties Published 18.05.10

Israel rejects Qatar bid to restore diplomatic ties
In exchange for renewed ties, Qatar demanded it be allowed to carry out a series of reconstruction projects in Gaza.

By Barak Ravid
Tags: Israel news Gaza
Israel has rejected two proposals from Qatar to restore diplomatic relations and let Israel reopen its office in the capital of Doha.

A senior source in Jerusalem said that in return for renewed diplomatic relations, the Qataris demanded that they be allowed to carry out a series of reconstruction projects in the Gaza Strip and to import the necessary construction materials. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman were unwilling to agree to this, he said.

Qatar suspended its ties with Israel during Operation Cast Lead in Gaza in December 2008, during a summit it hosted with the participation of Iran and the leaders of Hamas and Islamic Jihad. In January 2009, Qatar asked the head of Israel's office in Doha, Ro'i Rozenblit, to leave the country.

Israel, for its part, was angered by Qatar's move closer to the radical axis headed by Iran.

Six months ago, however, the Qataris began relaying a series of messages to Israel - through covert channels, through the United States and France, and even in direct talks with Israeli diplomats. The messages included a proposal to resume diplomatic ties and reopen Israel's office in Doha.

In return, Qatar sought to assume responsibility for rebuilding Gaza. It also asked Israel to make a public statement expressing appreciation for the emirate's role and acknowledging its standing in the Middle East.

Deliberations were held at the Foreign Ministry and the Prime Minister's Office, and a fierce argument erupted between those who supported resuming ties, even at the cost of granting Qatar a role in Gaza, and those who argued that the Qataris had opted for an alliance with Iran and Hamas, so there was "no reason to give them gifts."

In the end, a senior Israeli official said, the issue was removed from the agenda due to American opposition.

However, the Qataris continued their covert contacts with Israel, and two months ago, they made another, similar offer. But Lieberman and Netanyahu decided to reject this offer as well.

A senior Israeli official familiar with the details of the discussions said that Netanyahu was actually initially inclined to accept the offer, as were both Lieberman and National Security Adviser Uzi Arad.

However, the official said, they ultimately rejected it, because the Qataris conditioned the resumption of diplomatic ties on an Israeli agreement to allow large quantities of cement and construction material into the Gaza Strip. The amount stipulated by Qatar was much greater than Israel was willing to approve, he said.

"Allowing such massive amounts of construction material into the Strip, of the sort that Hamas uses to build bunkers and reinforced positions for missile launches against Israel, runs counter to Israel's security interests," he explained.

Posted by: Mork | 05/18/2010

Aid boat to Gaza Published 19:22 17.05.10Latest update 19:22 17.05.10
Israel to Europe: Stop your citizens from sailing to Gaza with aid
Israel to deport Turkish volunteer arrested by Shin Bet for allegedly belonging to outlawed Islamist group organizing aid boat to Gaza.

By Jack Khoury and Barak Ravid
Tags: Israel news Gaza

Israel warned a number of European states that it would not permit leftist-organizations planning to sail to the Gaza Strip with international aid to complete their mission.

The director of European affairs for the Foreign Ministry, Naor Gilon, met separately with envoys from Turkey, Greece, Ireland and Sweden to convey the message that any of their citizens intending to set sail for Gaza would be stopped before they could reach the coastal territory.

Describing such mission as provocative and in violation of Israeli law, Gilon told the diplomats: "Israel has not intention of allowing these sailboats in Gaza."

The Foreign Ministry message essentially entails that anybody who tries to sail to Gaza with aid, or who tries to transfer goods into the Hamas-ruled territory, must do so in accordance with procedure.

The diplomats promised to pass the message along to the appropriate sources, said the Foreign Ministry, with some even offering to help prevent their citizens from attempting the mission.

Earlier Monday, Israeli security forces released a Turkish national arrested this month for allegedly belonging to an outlawed Islamic group, and were set to deport him later in the day.

Izzet Shahin, a volunteer for the Turkish NGO Foundation for Human Rights and Freedoms and Humanitarian Relief (IHH), was arrested in the West Bank by the Israel Defense Forces and was then transferred to the Shin Bet for investigation.

IHH, who had been organizing a Gaza aid boat planned to depart at the end of the month, was outlawed in Israel a few years ago.

According to the IHH website, the organization had been organizing a "major initiative…to deliver aid via the sea to the Gaza Strip, which has been under an embargo for over three years."

"Hundreds of concerned people will set out on 10 ships in May to take over 5,000 tons of relief aid and materials to Gaza," the website statement said.

Posted by: Mork | 05/18/2010

paranoia Israelis must speak up for Gaza activists
The savage attack on the Gaza flotilla is a wake-up call for every Israeli and further proof of the government's growing paranoia

The defiant and paranoid spirit emanating from the likes of Binyamin Netanyahu is poisoning the internal public discourse.

A few months ago I was handed a leaflet from the group that organised the humanitarian aid flotilla to Gaza. I entertained the idea of joining it as a journalist because I believed the presence of journalists and of Israelis would make its journey safer. I gave up the idea because the pressing chores of life were more demanding and also – I wonder if I'll ever be able to forgive myself for this sentiment – I was somewhat horrified by the idea of spending a lot of time on a ship with a bunch of Kumbaya-singing hippies.

I did not think the IDF would attack the ships. I thought Israel was too clever, too PR aware, to jeopardise the lives of foreign nationals for the whole world to see. I didn't for a moment foresee anything resembling the murderous carnage the world witnessed on Monday morning. Little did I know.

I must have forgotten that even though Likud and Labour governments might be prone to identical behaviour when it comes to land grabbing, settlement building and Palestinian human rights oppression, there is still a great difference in their levels of stupidity, and their disregard of international public opinion. The one good thing about traditional Labour governments is that, on occasion, a raised cautioning finger from the US administration or an international outcry might make them stop and think for a minute.

What harm would have come to Israel if it had let the protesters embark in Gaza and deliver their goods? The world media generally yawns at such initiatives, and all the activists could have rationally hoped for would have been a photo op in an obscure back page of a number of broadsheets. Israel could have come out of it looking majestically generous.

But Israel has moved into a new stage in the last few months. The defiant and paranoid spirit emanating from Binyamin Netanyahu, Avigdor Lieberman and their opportunistic and violent Labour ally, Ehud Barak, is poisoning the internal public discourse. Ministers and members of parliament are openly inciting against Palestinian citizens of Israel and their political representatives in the most racist manner, and against leftwing activists – Jewish as well as Arab. The talk about "traitors", "backstabbers", "snitches" and "fifth column" are increasingly reminiscent of the Weimar republic.

It is not just Hamas and Hezbollah, or even the whole of the Palestinian people that seems to be the enemy, it is everybody: from "hypocritical and Muslim-infested" Europe to the soapy liberals among the Israelis, from the journalists to the lawyers. Journalist Anat Kam is facing trial on spying allegations for leaking military documents when serving as a soldier, and journalist Uri Blau has gone into exile in London under intimidating threats of facing similar charges for publishing them.

Ameer Makhoul and Dr Omar Saeed (human right activists and Israeli citizens) were arrested in the middle of the night at their homes some two weeks ago, and were unlawfully prevented from conferring with their lawyers for 12 days. Now they are facing trial on extremely controversial spying allegations. In this atmosphere, no wonder the government now starts killing European human rights activists and protesters in an act of terrorist piracy.

The international peace movement has shown that it consists of much more that "Kumbaya-singing hippies". It showed immense courage and solidarity with Gaza's people, and paid an incredibly heavy price in the lives of heroic activists. They have followed the footsteps of Rachel Corrie and Tom Hurndall, in sacrificing their lives while exposing the evils of the Israeli occupation forces.

Any decent Israeli citizen is faced with very clear choices today. The first is to support the government and the army, to pretend to buy into their stories about "gunfire coming from the ship". The second is to align ourselves with the people who died on board the Gaza flotilla, and to back their struggle for a better future in Israel in Palestine.

The Israeli government proves day after day that when you start robbing human rights off someone, you end up robbing them off everyone. The savage attack in the Mediterranean should be a wake-up call for every Israeli. If we do not speak up now, nobody will be left when the Netanyahu-Lieberman-Barak thugs come for us.

Daphna Baram
Tuesday 1 June 2010

Posted by: Yves | 06/16/2010

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