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Noam Chomsky barred from West Bank by Israeli officials

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Influential academic Noam Chomsky has been barred from entering the Palestinian West Bank by Israeli immigration staff, it has emerged.

The Manufacturing Consent writer had been due to give a series of lectures regarding domestic and foreign policy at Birzeit University and the Institute for Palestine Studies in Ramallah.

The 82-year-old had been accompanied by his daughter and two Jordanian friends but while the Jordanian nationals were allowed into the West Bank, Chomsky and his daughter were not.

Speaking to the Al-Jazeera news agency after being barred from the region, Chomsky said a "polite" immigration official had explained "the government of Israel doesn't like the kinds of things I say, which puts them into the same category as every other government in the world".

He added: "I asked them if they could find any government in the world that likes the things I say."

A prominent linguist and political theorist, Chomsky has frequently criticised US support for Israeli occupation of the West Bank and a perceived inequality for Palestinians.

Sabine Hadad, a spokeswoman for the Israeli interior ministry, told the Reuters news agency there had been a misunderstanding and efforts were being made to contact the military to gain entry to the West Bank for Chomsky.

However, as far as the scholar is concerned, "there was no misunderstanding".

"I was invited to give a series of lectures," he explained. "It was straightforward, I do it all the time."
© Adfero Ltd
17 May 2010 17:01 GMT

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