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Thoughts On Israel’s Chomsky ‘Ban’

It seems the only nation not allowed to ban people with belligerent, racist or hostile political views is Israel. Recently, MIT professor Noam Chomsky was prevented by Israel from entering the country via Jordan. Chomsky was on his way to give an anti-Israel speech at a university in Ramallah in the West Bank. (Instead he gave the speech by videoconferencing from Jordan.)
 
Chomsky had been in Israel for visits before, and the “ban” was evidently nothing more than some bureaucratic glitch in the instructions to Israeli border passport checkers. Chomsky was invited at the Jordan River to enter the country through the Tel Aviv airport. This did not prevent a worldwide campaign of anti-Israel vilification by the usual crowd blasting Israel for “banning” Chomsky, complete with denunciations of “Israeli fascism.”
 
Chomsky himself denounced the Israeli decision to block his entry as “Stalinism.” To tell the truth, when I first heard that Chomsky accused Israel of Stalinism I assumed he meant it as a compliment. Chomsky has gone out of his way to defend Stalin and publishes his articles on all the best Stalinist websites.
 
Ironically, the bureaucratic glitch resulted in Israel’s accidentally doing the right thing.
 

Just a few individuals have been prevented from entering Israel because of their ties to terrorists or their involvement in anti-Semitic or anti-Israel political activities. One of them was Norman Finkelstein, the hatemonger fired by DePaul University, who was banned from entering Israel a couple of years back due to his public championing of Hizbullah terrorists.

Another was Richard Falk, the retired Princeton propagandist who’s made a career out of denouncing Israelis as Nazis. Falk was denied entry into Israel as a UN “investigator,” though earlier he had been allowed to enter as a private citizen.
 
In Chomsky we have someone who has pow-wowed with Hizbullah terrorists and promoted Holocaust deniers. Like Finkelstein and Falk, Chomsky has long led the campaign to boycott and “divest” from Israel.
 
The very same people who whined about Israel’s refusing Chomsky entry into the country to engage in anti-Israel agitation were strangely silent when Britain banned 16 people on grounds they held politically incorrect opinions. These included radio host Michael Savage. Before that the UK banned Rev. Fred Phelps from entering the country because he is anti-gay. Few on the enlightened Left denounced the UK for fascism for those decisions.
 
Dutch politician Geert Wilders, a candidate for prime minister of the Netherlands, was barred from entering the UK because of his opinions. The Brits have banned a host of Israelis from entering their country, including activist Moshe Feiglin. Not a single Israeli leftist tearing out hair at the barring of Chomsky has spoken out against that.
 
The United States has banned all sorts of people, not limited to those suspected of having ties to terror groups. In some cases it was because of their political views. Journalist Robert Fisk was banned for that reason. Professor John Milios from Greece was banned. Tariq Ramadan, the darling of the pro-jihad Left, was barred until recently from both the U.S. and France.
 
Adam Habib, professor of political science and deputy vice chancellor of the University of Johannesburg, was barred from entering the U.S. for three years. Liberian President Charles Taylor and other leading Liberians were banned from entering the U.S. because of their support for rebels in Sierra Leone. Canada has also banned people because of their views or behavior, most famously George Galloway, the British member of Parliament who enjoyed close ties to Saddam Hussein.
 
            Germany, Austria and some other European countries routinely ban neo-Nazis and Holocaust deniers from entering their territories and sometimes jail them when they enter.
 

In the late 1970s, a professor of literature at the University of Lyon named Robert Faurisson wrote two letters to Le Monde claiming the existence of gas chambers in concentration camps used by the Nazis to exterminate Jews was a hoax. Faurisson was convicted of Holocaust denial and hate speech in two trials in France, in 1983 and 1990.

Faurisson has also suggested that the diary of Anne Frank is a Zionist forgery and has spent much of his career smearing Nobel Prize-winning Holocaust survivor Elie Wiesel.
 
Noam Chomsky has long been Faurisson’s most prominent defender. In the 1980s he signed a petition denying Faurisson was an anti-Semite and saluting Faurisson as a “respected professor.”
 
In defending Faurisson, Chomsky wrote: “I see no anti-Semitic implications in denial of the existence of gas chambers or even denial of the Holocaust. Nor would there be anti-Semitic implications, per se, in the claim that the Holocaust (whether one believes it took place or not) is being exploited, viciously so, by apologists for Israeli repression and violence. I see no hint of anti-Semitic implications in Faurisson’s work.”
 

Personally, I would have let Chomsky enter Israel and then immediately arrested him for Holocaust denial (if not the Holocaust of the Jews then surely the genocide against Cambodians). Holocaust denial is illegal in Israel, though the law is never enforced against anyone, even Arab politicians. Indicting Chomsky would have made such a wonderful legal precedent.

 

 

Steven Plaut is a professor at the University of Haifa. His book “The Scout” is available at Amazon.com. He can be contacted at steveneplaut@yahoo.com.

About the Author: Steven Plaut is a professor at the University of Haifa. He can be contacted at steveneplaut@yahoo.com.


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