Verbatim | Israel Denies Noam Chomsky Entry

“I asked them if they could find any government in the world that likes the things I say.”Noam Chomsky on being denied entry in to the West Bank by Israeli authorities, informing him that the did not like the things he said about their government. Chomsky was questioned for several hours before being denied in a decision that the Interior Ministry called a “misunderstanding”, and that it may still reverse its decision if the IDF approves his entry.

Being denied entry in to anywhere in Palestine is obviously not a shocker, and is barely news, even if it does happen to a world class political mind like Noam Chomsky. In my opinion, the most surprising part of this piece of predictable news is actually the fact that Noam Chomsky was in Jordan and no one on our side of the bank invited him to speak at anything. What a lost opportunity.

Would’ve loved to get one of Chomsky books signed.

UPDATE: Seems Chomsky will be speaking at the University of Jordan today at 12pm. From what I’ve heard, he’ll be giving the lecture he was supposed to be giving at Beirzeit University at UofJ via live streaming.

UPDATE 2: It will be at the Science Department (kuleyet il-3ulom) but I believe you have to have your name at the door, so it’s not completely open to the public. If you have the time, I would try my luck anyway. Nothing to lose really. Al Jazeera will be airing it live.


  • While writing my masters thesis I decided to try and get a quote from him…found an email address and dropped him a line…really didn’t expect anything in return – Its Noam Chomsky after all – he must get countless requests from people all over the world every day…woke up the next morning and found he had sent me a 3 page email…i presume that had something to do with the fact that I got a distinction for my thesis!

    I can’t believe he was here and no one organised for him to give a talk somewhere…what a wasted opportunity…that said – everyone should read his books…they leave you frustrated and angry and disgusted with global leadership, but they are all must reads if you want to understand how the world is run.

  • Too bad! Such a great political mind and a linguistic scholar in the country and we don’t get the chance to hear him out.

    “I asked them if they could find any government in the world that likes the things I say,” too shay, I have the same question on my part as lot of independent minds are being driven away from the region or in their own homelands.

  • I guess I would go farther than he does. I have yet to find anyone in a position of organizational authority who likes the things he says. He questions the underlying assumptions about the legitmacy of public and private authority simply by the way he talks about them.

    Now here’s a question. Granted that authority generally has been demonstrated to be a corrosive influence on our world, how do we get along without it?

  • I’ve had the opportunity to see various lectures by him live. He is still as sharp and as thorough as ever, but I believe his ability to orate has gone down with time. His videos on youtube are far livelier, he’s for the attentive audience, not one that is just sitting down for sensationalism.

    His ability to keep cool and answer vicious questions with the intent of attack is really stunning, and the facts and figures running through his head is quite enormous. However, Chomsky’s only a questioner, he has said more than once that he is there just to expose facts, not to give a solution.

  • @The Free Jordanian – Don’t know any stories, but imagined what convo could ensue with a curious, talkative driver 🙂 It’s in such situations where details are shared that usually don’t make it into official talks and speeches.

    Seems he’s scheduled at Jordan U at noon today.

    In general though, it’s clear these talks and the convo in general has not changed anything over the years. Somehow, this debate needs to be reframed. There must be a better way to communicate and make progress on the Palestinian-Israeli catastrophe of humanity.

  • Unfortunately, I read the post a bit late. Would have loved to be there as I like politics a lot and I was just sitting around in the uni at that time!

    But let me tell you something, there was 0 advertisement/news about him coming. Haven’t heard from anyone, no posters around the uni indicating he’s coming and not even an announcement on the university’s website. I guess because as you said, it was a closed event or the university doesn’t actually care. Nothing is handled the right way in here!

    Only if a minister or the prime minister comes, there will be news. But trust me, I wouldn’t even be there after they let that guy come and go without anyone knowing…

  • hi, i went to his talk at JU, it wasn’t advertised at all but I chanced it and got in with a few friends. It was at kulliyat attarbia and almost all the staff in the same building did not know that he was giving a talk downstairs (Noam Chomsky??? HERE???)

    was a great talk, shame about the lack of publicity

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