Sunday, May 16, 2010

The only democracy in the Middle East

Al-Jazeera reports:
Noam Chomsky, a renowned Jewish-American scholar and political activist, has been barred from entering Israel.

Chomsky was denied entry as he attempted to cross the Allenby Bridge from Jordan on Sunday.

The lingusitics professor, who frequently speaks out against Israeli policy in the occupied Palestinian territories, had been scheduled to give a lecture at Birzeit University in the West Bank.

"I went with my daughter and two old friends. We went in the normal way to the border where we were all interrogated. They were particularly interested in me," he told Israel's Channel 10.

Chomsky said the border officials were "very polite," as they "transmitted inquiries from the [Israeli] ministry of the interior".

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".

"I asked them if they could find any government in the world that likes the things I say," Chomsky said.
Reacting to the incident, the New America Foundation's Steve Clemons -- while criticizing the Israelis' behavior -- confusingly compares Chomsky to a man who once defended the use of torture on the basis that hey, it worked for the Nazis!

"Noam Chomsky's politics are not my own -- but I read him and want to remain aware of his views," Clemons writes. "I also read Alan Dershowitz, who essentially has become a Noam Chomsky of the right when it comes to Israel policy."

Let's hope no offense was intended.

Barack Obama, the US president, has asked Congress for $205 million to help Israel speed up construction of a new short-range anti-missile defense system, White House aides have said.
The so-called "Iron Dome" project is designed to intercept rockets and artillery shells from the Gaza Strip and neighbouring Lebanon.
The money is in addition to the more than $2.5 billion U.S. taxpayers already pay to directly subsidize life in Israel. A White House spokesman helpfully explains why Americans should fund an apartheid state's defense boondoggle when they are facing rising budget deficits and double-digit unemployment at home:
"As the president has repeatedly said, our commitment to Israel's security is unshakable and our defense relationship is stronger than ever. . . . The United States and our ally Israel share many of the same security challenges, from combating terrorism to confronting the threat posed by Iran's nuclear-weapons program."
Somewhere Alan Dershowitz is smiling. And that makes me the maddest of all.


  1. If Clemons is serious when he says -- "I also read Alan Dershowitz, who essentially has become a Noam Chomsky of the right when it comes to Israel policy." -- then he's a remarkably poor reader.

    Chomsky is respected across the spectrum for his exacting standards and methodical analyses. It's not a partisan thing. Plenty of people will disagree with his politics and opinions and still be able to find his analyses well worth reading. Dershowitz sets out to preach to a narrowly targeted audience: the neocolonial torture monkey fan club. A comparison that puts them on a par of some kind is fatuous at best.

    It's hard to properly reduce it to the absurd, but... Steve Clemons and Lyndon Larouche both write in English, therefore they have something in common.

  2. also, one might add that Clemons and LaRouche are both demagogues, even if Clemons is much better at it