The American linguistic scholar Noam Chomsky, who was barred from entering Israel Sunday to give a lecture at Birzeit University in the West Bank, planned to give the lecture instead by videoconference from Amman. Al Jazeera planned to televise it live.
An outspoken critic of Israel who lived there in the 1950s and speaks fluent Hebrew, Chomsky, 81, was quoted by the BBC as saying that he tried to enter Israel from Jordan through the Allenby Bridge. He said 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.”
Mark Regev, a spokesman for Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, was unavailable for comment. But he was quoted by the New York Times as saying it was “ludicrous” to suggest that Israel was keeping out critics of the country.
“It’s not happening,” he insisted.
In an editorial, Haaretz said “Israel looks like a bully who has been insulted by a superior intellect and is now trying to fight it, arrest it and expel it.”
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