17 May 2010

Israel denies US academic Chomsky West Bank entry

Renowned US scholar Noam Chomsky has been denied entry to the West Bank by Israeli immigration officials.

Prof Chomsky, renowned for his work on linguistics and philosophy, was planning to deliver a lecture at Birzeit University.

Prof Chomsky, 82, had been trying to enter from Jordan.

An Israeli interior ministry spokeswoman said it was to trying to clear the matter up and allow Prof Chomsky to enter.

Prof Chomsky said the officials were very polite but 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 Birzeit and not at an Israeli university too."

He added: "I asked them if they could find any government in the world that likes the things I say."

Prof Chomsky's Palestinian host for the visit, Mustafa al-Barghouti, told Reuters: "This decision is a fascist action, amounting to suppression of freedom of expression."

The interior ministry spokeswoman, Sabine Hadad, said: "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."

Prof Chomsky has frequently spoken out against Israeli occupation of Palestinian territories.

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