Monday, May 17, 2010

Stopping Fellows at the Border

Noam Chomsky was denied entry to Israel yesterday. According to him, this was because he intended to talk only to Palestinians, not Israelis. According to an Israeli official in the Ministry of the Interior, it was a bureaucratic cock-up. Knowing the ministry, I tend to believe the cock-up version. The other one doesn't make any sense: we are so eager to have Chomsky talk to us that we'd bar his entry if he doesn't? Why? He's totally predictable, and will always say how nasty we are, so we'd bar his entry for not talking to us? Huh? Anyway, as I often like to ask: how could he possibly know what some Israeli authority was thinking (assuming it was thinking at all)? For that you'd have to have access to its thought process, or documentation, or some window into its innards - which he doesn't have.

It sounds to me like Chomsky is being his usual self, making outlandish statements shot through with faulty logic and false facts. If some Palestinian students wished to hear him, by all means, why should we be getting in their way?

Chomsky wasn't the only bloke whose travel plans were thwarted yesterday by officialdom. Jullian Assange, the Wikileaks boss, had his passport confiscated when he entered into his homeland of Australia. Apparently the Australian authorities don't like his proclivity to splash classified documents with misleading context across the Internet, and they may be trying their hand at limiting his freedom of travel; since he seems to think he's not safe being anywhere permanently, and is always on the move, confining him to Australia must be a severe blow.

Now imagine if Israel tried to shut down anyone's freedom of speech like that. The NIF would go into overdrive, wouldn't it: the end of democracy as we know it, etc. etc.

(h/t Silke).


Rob said...

Cock-up is often as bad as conspiracy, Mr. Spock.

Barry Meislin said...

Having invited Chomsky to speak merely reaffirms one's beliefs in the Palestinian's relentless and unyielding search for truth.

And justice.

(On the other hand, they may just have this thing for language and linguistics.... What's that definition of "peace," once again?)

Anonymous said...

What a pity the man at the border didn't enjoy the occasion to grill Chomsky
- the best stuff is always wasted on the unappreciative
- provided Chomsky hasn't linguistically reworked the incident.
It may not have been a wise cock-up but that 3 hours of Chomsky's time have been wasted is a worthy occasion for opening the bubbly.

peterthehungarian said...

There is an other possibility... They copied his American passport in order to know why...

Yaacov said...

OOOH, wouldn't that be great, Peter?

Rob: you've made your point. Enough, I think. Especially as the post I'm working on now will aggravate you intensely; you needn't tell me your opinion, I already know it.

Rob said...

Yaakov, are you asking me not to post further, or telling me? I suspect the latter. If so, it is no doubt because I've pressed a few buttons and upset the delicate ecosystem - or should that be egosysytem - of your blog.

I'm reminded, how unfortunately, of the phrase: "An Englishman's home is his castle" - a touch ironic, given your anti-Brit comments - but relevant nonetheless. Is this blog your castle where you only pretend to invite discussion, but at the first whiff of real dissent, up goes the drawbridge?

I suspect so. So I'll leave you to your little Kingdom and make a few parting shots:

What's the difference between an "archivist", one who uses his blog as a way to exert control over the world, to order it and, obsessively, classify it ... and an autistic obsessive-compulsive? Not much, apparently.You think you are floating high above the fray, coolly and clinically analysing everything in an objective manner.

But really you are more of a Mr. Spock, proud of his supra-emotional Vulcan roots but clearly lacking key human qualities such as empathy, charm, warmth and humour.

All of which I noticed when I invited you for lunch. I was braced for disappointment and, in this respect, you didn't disappoint. Rather than chat with me I felt you were "interviewing" me for some non-existent job and constantly calculating my value as an interlocutor. You then spent too long talking about your own project, which could have been interesting but in fact ended up just seeming self-absorbed. Significantly, you didn't bother to acknowledge my follow-up email. A lack of charm or degree of autism?

Your blogging remains often interesting but you as a person have shown yourself to be smug, patronising, controlling and uncharming. Just the kind of personality, in fact, which makes it all the more difficult to stay true to my Zionist ideals.

Rob said...

PS - The only thing that "aggravates me intensely" Yaakov, is you and your smug tone. You don't listen to people, so you have me pegged as "that pompous Brit" or whatever. You couldn't be more wrong. I don't give a damn about any form of moronic jingoism. That is sooo last century. But then so are you.

Anonymous said...

way back then when I watched Raumschiff Enterprise on TV I've always liked Mr. Spock very much, he had something refreshing but maybe it was just because I have a weakness for Segelohren (sail ears)
- alas from what I can tell Yaacov is deficient there.

oh and Rob to upset something, anything, you really got to come up with something more than what you have shown hitherto
- after you have broken your promise to stop already once I expect to read more from you
- more from what is obviously your specialty:
the he-man impostor shoes his whining prowess.


Sergio said...

What a pathetic tantrum, little Rob.

Frankly, who cares if whining Rob is upset about this blog? Is he somehow chained to it? Moreover, contrary to what he seems to believe, he's not the center of the universe.

Maybe he'd rather enjoy Omar Malade's (aka al Berto) blog.

Sylvia said...

"Knowing the ministry, I tend to believe the cock-up."
I see that picking on the "Frank" has now become the trend.

The simple truth is that Chomsky didn't deem it necessary to comply with the Liaison office's(COGAT) transit policy. In his unbridled arrogance, Chomsky didn't file the proper documents with COGAT. He just showed up.
Were Chomsky a strident Zionist, he would have been denied entry just the same.
The guy from the Interior Ministry doesn't have the authority to allow him in.

COGAT transit policy to the West Bank is widely available on the Internet.

This Is Hell said...

Why? when the Arab states allow ME to enter their countries we'll call it a draw. In the meantime perhaps the Good Doktor can work with Holocaust deniers to erect a museum about what he believes to be a hoax, in the US. Perhaps in Skokie?

Sergio said...

Well, the semi-senile-attention-craving professor shall give his lectures at Teheran University instead.

NormanF said...

Yaacov... Noam Chomsky was banned because he is a Jewish anti-Semite and fellow traveler of Iranian/Arab fascism. He is a sworn enemy of the Jewish State and committed to its destruction. Israel does not need to put out a welcome for the likes of him. Only Richard Falk and Norman Finkelstein have been accorded similar treatment. You pretty much have to wish all Jews dead to be denied entry into Israel. This ban should stick for the rest of his life.

Joe in Australia said...

I may be misreading the article, but it seems to me that Julian Assange had his passport confiscated for half an hour. This is not the sort of thing that human rights cases are made of.

Sylvia said...

NormanF you are mistaken. Chomsky can still file the proper transit documents at any time and gain entry at any time if he so wishes. He knows that very well but he'd rather pose as a victim and make the headlines.

If I wish to drive to Canada through the United States as an Israeli I must first secure a visa to the US. That's the problem and no other.

Anonymous said...

are you seriously demanding that Israel is entitled to sovereign rights vis-à-vis a world eminence royalty saint for our times like Mr. Chomsky?

I don't doubt one minute that Chomsky did it the way he did it because he saw a chance to make headlines but as you are so much into detail already:

Might he have filed his application for entry while at the border post or would he have to draw back ten meters? and if so, how long would approval have taken?

and what about that university which invited him, shouldn't they have taken care of it?
In my world if an eminent guest was due to arrive one would make sure that he had to bother with bureaucracy as little bureaucracy as possible, heck when I was working in personnel I did it for the most lowliest of assignees ...

and Jeffrey Goldberg jumps the bashing band waggon via Didi Remez and a tabloid which they have considered important to their opinion building process for decades?


AKUS said...

"Residents said between 30 and 40 homes were torn down, ranging from concrete structures to tin shacks. They did not know how many people were affected. Hamas officials did not allow reporters into the area until the demolition was over."

Why hasn't Goldstone launched an inquiry? He could ask Hamas for "the truth" and demand they launch an internal investigation to clear their name.

And why isn't the Guardian feverishly writing articles about the denial of entry to reporters? What have hamas got to hide?

Sylvia said...

There are thousands of people who come through from Jordan every week. There is an Israeli Consulate in Amman and I believe he could apply while at the border. In any case, COGAT said, according to Israel radio, that he has not applied.

Trampling Israel's rules and protocols in order to make the headlines and regain some lost popularity seems to have become a pattern. Earlier this year, a congressional democratic delegation came to Israel with J Street - without as much as making a phone call to secure an appointment with the Israeli officials they wanted to meet. Now these are people who know how government works, and that government officials everywhere have work to do and commitments and the least a congressman can do is give them a little advance notice so that they can make themselves available. They didn't. Of course, they couldn't meet and a day later you read in the Israeli newspapers: "The Foreign Ministry is boycotting American Ccongressional Delegation". They got their headline.

This somehow reminds me of what a 19th century French writer named Stendhal wrote about the journey that takes one from perfect indifference to perfect love. He called it the Bologna effect (indifference) and the Rome effect(love).

What we have here is the Massachussets/Chicago effect (indifference) and the Jerusalem effect (adoration). Chomsky has been out of people's minds for a while and to regain the adoration of his fans he had to make the journey to Jerusalem and stand u-p to the big bad Zionists.

Anonymous said...

thanks Sylvia for that one
I have never read Stendhal and still don't quite get the Bologna-Rome reference after having wikipedia-ed myself but I got hugely intrigued by the description of "crystallization"
- the process of falling in love and how it entails that one has to re-calibrate all perception.

for my co-Germans I'd say it is this basic yearning for colour for the exotic the different that makes them prone to re-define the beloved party to the point of canonization - but having encountered a bit of your Israeli version of bleeding hearts I'd guess it may also stem from yearning (SehnSucht - literally yearning addiction)

But here I got one for you which is my basic text on the "how to create a ruckus" phenomenon.
When Mark Twain was in Vienna some party in the parliament decided to just misbehave grossly would bring them success. The parliament never had imagined gentlement behaving like that and thus had no regulation that allowed them to deal with it - a kind of black swan incidence.
The Chomsky-ruckus and the tactical thinking I assume behind it reminded me of that piece
- besides explaining the technique once and for all it is a fun- read