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Denied West Bank entry, Chomsky gives lecture by video

Chomsky said he was banned from entry because Israel does not like what he says.

May 19, 2010 10:21 by

Noam Chomsky, a leading Jewish-American intellectual who is highly critical of Israel’s policies toward the Palestinians, on Tuesday delivered a lecture to Palestinian students by video link from Jordan.

Around 100 students packed into a room at Bir Zeit University near the West Bank city of Ramallah to watch the lecture, delivered by live-link from the Jordanian capital, Amman.

Chomsky, 82, told Reuters in a phone conversation from the Jordanian capital, Amman, he had traveled to the Allenby Bridge crossing on the Jordan River where Israeli immigration officials refused to allow him across. “They apparently didn’t like the fact that I was due to lecture at a Palestinian university and not in Israel,” Chomsky said.

After hours of questioning by border officials, Chomsky’s passport was stamped with “Denied Entry” and he was sent away.

Israel’s interior ministry insisted the incident was a “misunderstanding” and said the 81-year-old professor had not been blacklisted, while a senior government source described the situation as “a total cock-up.”

Although Israeli officials insisted he would be permitted to cross the border, Chomsky discovered on Monday there was no “official” guarantee he would be allowed in, so he decided to give the lecture by video link, the Haaretz daily reported.

Speaking to the paper about his lengthy interrogation at the border, Chomsky said he was told: “Israel does not like what you say.”


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