Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Thoughts on the Chomsky Story

As I'm sure most people who read the HP or Israel news will know by now, Noam Chomsky was denied entry to Israel today. They covered the story on "All Things Considered" as well, which included many quotes from Chomsky and less from Israel.

I'll start with the story: Obviously Israel should not have stopped him from going. There was no point and the bad publicity was not worth it. That being said I can also understand why they did it: Chomsky and his pen have done more damage to Israel than a thousand suicide bombers. If you think I am exaggerating, check out this report.  If you still think I'm exaggerating, check this out:

And let's not forget that Israel still has the right to decide who comes and goes (a) onto their territory and (b) who goes to visit people who they are still at war with. Yaacov Lozowick points out a similar situation in Australia, which of course has gone completely unnoticed by the HP.

Of course, many of Israel's critics, including Chomsky himself, are claiming this is a violation of "free speech." Again, the free speech defense is employed incorrectly. Israel is not forbidding Chomsky from saying or doing anything, he just can't do it there. Meanwhile, all of the people in Israel are still just as free to say what they want today as they were yesterday.

Chomsky was quoted on NPR as saying "This is what South Africa was like during the '60s," and "this is what a totalitarian state is like." This annoyed me greatly, not because it's the usual Chomsky rhetoric but because of the latent dishonesty behind it: Does Chomsky really expect us to believe that he didn't think Israel was a totalitarian state before the events of yesterday? It's pretty clear from his work that he made up his mind about everything decades ago.

Finally, it's very obvious why this happened. Chomsky wanted to be blocked. Why else would he not let them know he was coming and then refuse to come once they offered to let him in?

If they had just let him in, he would not have made front page news at the Huffington Post, nor would he have the opportunity to get up on his soapbox with all of America listening. It's just another publicity stunt, not any different from the kind employed by the "Free Gaza" movement. My only regret was that the Israelis were dumb enough to play into it.

1 comment:

  1. He should be banned. Someone who meets Nasrallah endorses his goals. He should be kept out of Israel and there is a clear limit to freedom of speech: no country is obligated to put out a welcome mat for a sworn enemy.

    Good riddance to Noam Chomsky!