(JTA) – Noam Chomsky, the prominent American academic and critic of Israel, made his first trip to the Gaza Strip.
Chomsky, who is Jewish, is a professor of linguistics at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He is a frequent critic of American foreign policy and Israel’s treatment of the Palestinians.
He was in the Gaza Strip for a conference at the Islamic University, according to the French news agency AFP.
"Our trip to Gaza was very difficult, but we arrived here and I saw several things which I hoped before to see," Chomsky said in remarks broadcast on Palestinian television from the Islamic University on Thursday.
In May 2010, Israel barred Chomsky from entering the West Bank, where he was to deliver a lecture. He finally broadcast his speech by video link from Jordan.
Chomsky, traveling with an academic delegation, coordinated his entry into Gaza through the Rafah crossing with Egyptian authorities, Jamal al-Khudari, head of the university’s administrative board, told AFP.
Chomsky was to deliver a speech on the Arab Spring and the future of foreign policy in the region. He also will meet with NGOs, especially human rights groups and tour refugee camps, al-Khadari said.