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Home arrow Blog arrow May 2010 arrow May 17, 2010

May 17, 2010
May 17, 2010: "Denied Entry" and a Breakthrough! May 18, 2010 UPDATE LEADS

After denied entry to West Bank, Chomsky likens Israel to 'Stalinist regime'

 


By Amira Hass 

 

May 17, 2010

 

The Interior Ministry refused to let linguist Noam Chomsky into Israel and the West Bank on Sunday. Chomsky, who aligns himself with the radical left, had been scheduled to lecture at Bir Zeit University near Ramallah, and visit Bil'in and Hebron, as well as meet with Palestinian Prime Minister Salam Fayyad and various Palestinian activists.

 

In a telephone conversation last night from Amman, Chomsky told Haaretz that he concluded from the questions of the Israeli official that the fact that he came to lecture at a Palestinian and not an Israeli university led to the decision to deny him entry.

 

"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.

 

Sabine Haddad, a spokesperson for the Interior Ministry, confirmed to Haaretz that the officials at the border were from the ministry.

 

"Because he entered the Palestinian Authority territory only, his entry is the responsibility of the Office of the Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories at the Defense Ministry. There was a misunderstanding on our side, and the matter was not brought to the attention of the COGAT."

 

Haddad told Haaretz that "the minute the COGAT says that they do not object, Chomsky's entry would have been permitted."

 

Chomsky, a Jewish professor of linguistics and philosophy at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, had spent several months at Kibbutz Hazore'a during the 1950s and had considered a longer stay in Israel. He had been invited by the Department of Philosophy at Bir Zeit.

He planned to spend four days in the West Bank and give two lectures.

 

On Sunday, at about 1:30 P.M. he came to the Israeli side of the border with Jordan. After three hours of questioning, during which the border officer repeatedly called the Interior Ministry for instructions, Chomsky's passport was stamped with "Denied Entry."

 

With Chomsky, 81, were his daughter Aviva, and a couple of old friends of his and his late wife.

Entry was also denied to his daughter.

 

Their friends, one of whom is a Palestinian who grew up in Beirut, were allowed in, but they opted to return with Chomsky to Amman.

 

Chomsky told Haaretz that it was clear that his arrival had been known to the authorities, because the minute he entered the passport control room the official told him that he was honored to see him and that he had read his works.

 

The professor concluded that the officer was a student, and said he looked embarrassed at the task at hand, especially when he began reading from text the questions that had been dictated to him, and which were also told to him later by telephone.

 

Chomsky told Haaretz about the questions.


"The official asked me why I was lecturing only at Bir Zeit and not an Israeli university," Chomsky recalled. "I told him that I have lectured a great deal in Israel. The official read the following statement: 'Israel does not like what you say.'"

 

Chomsky replied: "Find one government in the world which does."

 

"The young man asked me whether I had ever been denied entry into other countries. I told him that once, to Czechoslovakia, after the Soviet invasion in 1968," he said, adding that he had gone to visit ousted Czechoslovak leader Alexander Dubcek, whose reforms the Soviets crushed.

In response to the official's question, Chomsky said that the subjects of his lectures were "America and the world," and "America at home."

 

The official asked him whether he would speak on Israel and Chomsky said that because he would talk of U.S. policy he would also comment on Israel and its policies.

 

He was then told by the official: "You have spoken with [Hassan] Nasrallah."

 

"True," Chomsky told him. "When I was in Lebanon [prior to the war in 2006] I spoke with people from the entire political spectrum there, as in Israel I also spoke with people on the right."

 

"At the time I read reports of my visit in the Israeli press, and the articles in the Israeli press had no connection with reality," Chomsky told the border official.

 

The official asked Chomsky why he did not have an Israeli passport.

 

"I replied I am an American citizen," Chomsky said.

 

Chomsky said that he asked the man at border control for an official written explanation for the reason his entry was denied and that "it would help the Interior Ministry because this way my version will not be the only one given to the media."

 

The official called the ministry and then told Chomsky that he would be able to find the official statement at the U.S. Embassy.

 

The last time Chomsky visited Israel and the West Bank was in 1997, when he lectured on both sides of the Green Line. He had also planned a visit to the Gaza strip, but because the Palestinian Authority insisted that he be escorted by Palestinian guards, he canceled that part of the visit.

 

To Haaretz, Chomsky said Sunday that preventing him entry is tantamount to boycotting Bir Zeit University. Chomsky is known to oppose a general boycott on Israel. "I was against a boycott of apartheid South Africa as well. If we are going to boycott, why not the United States, whose record is even worse? I'm in favor of boycotting American companies which collaborate with the occupation," he said. "But if we are to boycott Tel Aviv University, why not MIT?"

 

Chomsky told Haaretz that he supports a two-state solution, but not the solution proposed by Jerusalem, "pieces of land that will be called a state."

 

He said that Israel's behavior today reminds him of that of South Africa in the 1960s, when it realized that it was already considered a pariah, but thought that it would resolve the problem with better public relations.

 

 

http://www.haaretz.com/print-edition/news/after-denied-entry-to-west-bank-chomsky-likens-israel-to-stalinist-regime-1.290736

 


Noam Chomsky Denied Entry into Israel

Left-wing linguist, who was scheduled to speak at Bir Zeit University, told by Israeli inspectors at Allenby Bridge that a reason for the refusal would be sent to the American embassy.

by Amira Hass


Professor Noam Chomsky, an American linguist and left-wing activist, was denied entry into Israel on Sunday, for reasons that were not immediately clear.


[US
 linguist, philosopher and political activist Noam Chomsky, pictured in 
March 2010, is among US actors and liberal intellectuals who joined a 
list to be published Friday accusing President Barack Obama of allowing 
human rights violations and war crimes. (AFP/DDP/File/Sascha 
Schuermann)]US linguist, philosopher and political activist Noam Chomsky, pictured in March 2010, is among US actors and liberal intellectuals who joined a list to be published Friday accusing President Barack Obama of allowing human rights violations and war crimes. (AFP/DDP/File/Sascha Schuermann)
Chomsky, who was scheduled to deliver a lecture at Bir Zeit University near Jerusalem, told the Right to Enter activist group by telephone that inspectors had stamped the words "denied entry" onto his passport when he tried to cross from Jordan over Allenby Bridge.

When he asked an Israeli inspector why he had not received permission, he was told that an explanation would be sent in writing to the American embassy.


Chomsky arrived at the Allenby Bridge at around 1:30 in the afternoon and was taken for questioning, before being released back to Amman at 4:30 P.M.


Interior Ministry spokeswoman Sabine Haddad said Chomsky was turned away for various reasons but declined to elaborate. The ministry was looking into allowing him to enter only the West Bank, said Haddad.


In a telephone interview with Channel 10, Chomsky said the interrogators had told him he had written things that the Israeli government did not like.


"I suggested [the interrogator try to] find any government in the world that likes anything I say," he said.


Chomsky is a professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and is considered among the foremost academics in the world. He identifies with the radical left and is often critical of both Israeli and American policies.






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Iran agrees to exchange of nuclear material

 

Tehran would send the bulk of its nuclear material to Turkey as part of a deal that could ease international tensions.


By Borzou Daragahi, Los Angeles Times

12:10 AM PDT, May 17, 2010

Reporting from Beirut

 

In what could be a stunning breakthrough in the years-long diplomatic deadlock over Iran's nuclear program, Tehran has agreed to send the bulk of its nuclear material to Turkey as part of an exchange meant to ease international concerns about the Islamic Republic's aims and provide fuel for an ailing medical reactor, the spokesman for Iran's foreign ministry told state television Monday morning.

Iranian foreign ministry spokesman Ramin Mehmanparast told state television that a letter describing the deal would be sent to the Vienna-based International Atomic Energy Agency within a week.

"After a final agreement is signed between Iran and the Vienna group, our fuel will be shipped to Turkey under the supervision of Iran and the IAEA," he told journalists on the sidelines of a conference of developing nations. "Then we will dispatch 1,200 kilograms [2,640 pounds] of 3.5% enriched uranium to Turkey to be exchanged for 120 kilograms [264 pounds] of 20% enriched uranium from the Vienna group."

The Vienna group refers to the five permanent members of the United Nations Security Council -- the United States, France, Britain, Russia and China -- and Germany, which engaged in talks with Iran last October.


FOR THE RECORD: This article says "the Vienna group" consists of the five permanent members of the U.N. Security Council plus Germany. In fact, the Vienna group is Russia, France, the U.S. and the IAEA.




The deal was brokered during an 18-hour session Sunday by leaders of Brazil and Turkey during a visit to Tehran. A joint statement was signed by the foreign ministers of all three countries and witnessed by Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva and Turkish Prime Minister Recep Erdogan, state radio reported.

Afterward, Ahmadinejad called on the West to return to talks.

"Following the signing of the nuclear fuel swap deal, it is time ... to enter talks with Iran based on honesty, justice and mutual respect," Ahmadinejad said, according to Reuters.

The deal appears to build upon an IAEA proposal last year that was endorsed by the Obama administration and Western powers.

Iran was to send around 2,640 pounds of its low-enriched uranium to Russia to be further refined and afterward to France to be converted into 20%-enriched fuel plates for the Tehran Research Reactor. The compromise was to serve as a way of drawing Iran's supply of nuclear material below the threshold for building a bomb and to create an atmosphere for a broader deal between the West and Iran.

That deal faltered when Iran appeared to back away, with political factions in Tehran accusing the West of trying to swindle Iran out of its stockpile. A few months ago, upping tensions with the West, Iran began producing its own 20% enriched uranium, a move that diplomats and nonproliferation experts worried could bring Iran closer to the highly enriched uranium needed to fuel an atom bomb.

If a deal comes to fruition it would mark yet another milestone in the rise of new powers challenging the domination of the West. Brazil and Turkey are both rapidly emerging regional and global economic powers seeking to enhance their stature with diplomatic triumphs.

But many questions remain about the new deal. Only a handful of countries, including France and Argentina, are said to have the capacity to create the specialized fuel plates for the Tehran medical reactor, built by the United States before Iran's 1979 revolution.

The deal could also fall prey to factional battles within Iran's domestic politics, where any sign of weakness in the face of Western powers is viewed as selling out the nation. And it could also be rejected by the Obama administration, which has shifted its tactics from diplomatic outreach to Iran toward a push for isolating the country by tightening sanctions.

Obama is also under pressure by conservatives in Washington to take a tougher line on Iran.

Turkey does not enrich uranium. Though Mehmanparast said Turkey has agreed to serve as the venue for the fuel exchange, it remains unclear whether it would serve as a guarantor for the low-enriched uranium or whether the material would be shipped to a nation with refinement capacity such as Russia, Brazil or France.

Copyright © 2010, The Los Angeles Times




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