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Protesters decry Chomsky appearance at Newton South High

Posted by Ralph Ranalli April 11, 2007 11:42 AM

NEWTON

About a dozen protesters picketed the appearance of author and linguist Noam Chomsky at Newton South High School today, charging that school officials should not have allowed a student club to invite him because of his leftist views on the Iraq war and Middle East politics.

At one point this morning, while Chomsky was speaking inside the school, 76-year-old Holocaust survivor Steve Ross - wearing a striped cap of the type given to prisoners in Nazi concentration camps - tried to enter the school but was denied access by Newton Police. School officials had closed the event to the public and the press, saying it was a school club event.

Ross said Chomsky should not have been allowed to "spread his poison" inside the school. Some Jews and pro-Israel activists have accused Chomsky of defending Holocaust deniers.

"We would like Mr. Chomsky to apologize for the people he has tried to protect," Ross said.

School officials defended their decision to allow the Chomsky visit. Newton South Principal Brian Salzer said that it was the leaders of the school's Social Awareness Club who had invited Chomsky, and that school officials were defending the students' intellectual freedom.

A student who tried to videotape the event, Student Senate President Dan Groob, 17, was also ordered outside with his small video camera.

Groob called it "horrible and hypocritical" that Chomsky was allowed to speak at the school in such a controlled environment, without an opposing viewpoint being offered.

"It should have been more open," Groob said.

-- Ralph Ranalli

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