Israel denied entry to Noam Chomsky yesterday, blocking the renowned academic from a speaking engagement at the West Bank's Birzeit University. Chomsky believes he was denied entry because the government "did not like that I was only talking at Birzeit and not at an Israeli university, too," he told the BBC. Israeli officials chalk the incident up to a misunderstanding between the military and civilian government, and say they are trying to reverse the decision.
Chomsky, though, isn't buying it: "There was no misunderstanding. I was invited to give a series of lectures," he told the Guardian. "It was straightforward, I do it all the time." And to Haaretz, he added, "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." The linguist added that he would now not have time to visit Birzeit, even if he was immediately cleared for entry.