Noam Chomsky, the left-wing activist who was denied entry to the West Bank on Sunday, has decided not to make a second attempt to cross the border from Jordan, and will deliver a lecture to a Palestinian university via videoconferencing.
"We will not try to enter again," his daughter, Avi Chomsky, said this morning in an e-mail. Avi Chomsky, a professor at Salem State College, was also denied entry. Chomsky said she and her father plan to leave for Lebanon tomorrow.
The decision to turn away Chomsky, who is a sharp critic of Israeli policy toward the Palestinians, has become an international controversy and sparked a soul-searching debate within Israel. Critics say that Chomsky was blacklisted for his political views.
Israeli officials have said that the decision to turn Chomsky away was a misunderstanding, and suggested that he could enter the West Bank if he returned to the border.The officials said border officials overstepped their authority and mistakenly believed Chomsky also planned to travel to parts of Israel beyond the occupied West Bank.
But Avi Chomsky said the Ministry of Interior officials who questioned them understood they were only traveling to Birzeit Univerity, near Ramallah.
"This is nonsense," she said. "It was quite clear in our interview that they knew we were going only to Ramallah. In fact, that's what they were upset about -- the guy kept saying, 'Why won't you go to Tel Aviv?' "
Chomsky also said the interviewer was in contact with his superiors at the ministry throughout the questioning.
"We call upon the international academic community and human rights organizations to intervene in order to bring about the end of Israel's absurd discriminatory practices, particularly in relation to the basic human right to education," Birzeit University said in a statement posted on its website.
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