Monday, May 17, 2010

Noam Chomsky barred by Israelis from lecturing in Palestinian West Bank.

Noam Chomsky has been denied entry to the West Bank by Israeli officials because the government of Israel objects to what he has to say about the illegal occupation.

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.
The argument that Israel always uses when trying to explain it's occupation of the Palestinians is to emphasise that it is the nearest thing to a democracy in that part of the world. To ban one of the world's leading intellectuals from speaking, especially on the grounds that one doesn't like what he is going to say, is hardly a good way to emphasise the democratic nature of one's regime.

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.

Although some Israeli politicians are praising the move.
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."
According to Schneller, "accusers" are not welcome and should try using the tunnels to get in.

That's hardly a good example of the democratic principle. As Ehud Barak pointed out the other day, examples like these hardly help Israel's cause. Chomsky is not a man who is preaching violence, he is simply saying something which the Israeli government don't want to hear.

But that is true of many governments, although they don't all deny him entry.

It's simply another example of the way Israel - as led by Netanyahu - appears to be at odds with the times in which we live.

Click here for full article.

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