The Chomsky affair: Israel has showed the world today that the West Bank, not just Gaza, is under siege

Posted: May 16th, 2010 | Author: | Filed under: In the News, The Right | Tags: , , , , | 7 Comments »

noam_chomskyMuch has been written on Israel’s decision not to allow entry to Left-wing linguist Noam Chomsky today, and I guess even more will be written. Form the official Israeli response, it is not clear who made the decision in this case – a top government official or a low level bureaucrat – and it seems that Chomsky might still be permitted to enter the West Bank, once some people will realize the PR damage to what’s left of the reputation of the only democracy in the Middle East. But that’s not the important issue here.

According to Chomsky, what bothered Israeli officials at the Allenby crossing was not only his views, but the fact that he intends to visit the West Bank, and not Israel. Later it was said that the IDF authority might end up granting him a visa. But whatever way this affair ends, it is clear that Chomsky made a better case against Israel today than in anything he said or wrote. He practically proved that the Palestinians are far from being autonomous, and that the West Bank is in reality under siege, with Israel dictating who and what might leave or enter.

When the Spanish clown Ivan Pedro was denied entry by the Shin Beit into the West Bank, some people tried to make a national security case out of it, claiming Pedro refused to submit information regarding his contacts in the West Bank. I hope nobody is planning the same line with the Chomsky. Israel simply decided not to let him in because he is pro-Palestinian, like it does every day to many others. The only difference is that in those cases nobody alerts Reuters.

There is no arguing that Israel is now viewing certain ideas, not just actions, as existential threat, and is willing to make use of its powers in order to suppress them. It is important to understand this point: Some people think that the state made a stupid mistake today, when it chose to refuse Chomsky a visa. But That’s only true if you judge the affair in terms of actual security – then you conclude that making such a fuss over a speech in Ramallah by an aging linguistic that no one would even notice is pure madness. But if you are obsessed with the persecution of “dangerous ideas” and constantly searching for ideological menaces, then Chomsky is a threat. In this context, not allowing him to enter your country might be logical and even legal – again, if you consider Israel’s control of all entrances to the West bank legal – but it is also scary is hell.


They are deporting clowns now

Posted: May 5th, 2010 | Author: | Filed under: In the News | Tags: , , | 6 Comments »

Ivan

It seems that Israel’s security services have lost their mind in their hunt for subversive elements:

Ivan Prado, the most famous clown in Spain, did not expect to be put on a return flight back to Madrid soon after arriving at Ben-Gurion International Airport late last month, after spending six hours with officials from the Shin Bet security service and the Interior Ministry. The officials accused Prado of having ties to Palestinian terror organizations.

(…)

Prado, director of the International Clown Festival in Galicia, arrived at Ben-Gurion Airport on April 26 with a Spanish national of Arab origin. They planned to go to Ramallah to help organize a similar festival, but at passport control Prado was taken aside by a Shin Bet officer who asked him about his planned visit to the West Bank and about his connections to various Palestinian organizations. He and his female companion were held for six hours, during which they were questioned repeatedly, and their passports were confiscated.

They were sent back to Spain after an Interior Ministry official informed them that they would not be permitted into Israel.

Read the full story in Haaretz.

Beside the grave PR mistake by the Israeli Authorities, the important issue here is that in today’s Israel, being a friend of the Palestinians, traveling with an Arab or expressing critical views on Zionism is enough to get you in trouble. And if the only argument this government’s supporters can come up with is “in Iran and Gaza things are much worse”, it tells you a lot about the point we’ve reached.