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Israel denies entry to critic Chomsky

May 17, 2010 at 8:33 AM

JERUSALEM, May 17 (UPI) -- A Jewish-American professor aligned with the radical left was denied entry into Israel to lecture at a university near Ramallah, West Bank, officials said.

Interior Ministry spokeswoman Sabine Haddad said officials were working with the army's coordinator for government activities in the territories to determine whether linguist Noam Chomsky could enter, The Jerusalem Post reported Monday.

Haddad said if the coordinator gives the all-clear, "we will grant him entry" to lecture at Bir Zeit University.

Haddad said the initial decision to deny Chomsky entry was because of a "misunderstanding," denying claims that Chomsky's name was blacklisted.

Chomsky, a Jewish professor of linguistics and philosophy at Massachusetts Institute of Technology, spent several months at a kibbutz in the 1950s. He was invited to speak by the Department of Philosophy at Bir Zeit and planned to spend four days in the West Bank to give two lectures, Haaretz reported.

"I find it hard to think of a similar case, in which entry to a person is denied because he is not lecturing in Tel Aviv. Perhaps only in Stalinist regimes," Chomsky told Haaretz by telephone.

After Israel's Operation Cast Lead in Gaza in 2009, Chomsky said, "Supporters of Israel are in reality supporters of its moral degeneration," the Post reported.

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