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.