Noam Chomsky, Darling of Haaretz

P. David Hornik is a freelance writer and translator living in Beersheva and author of the book Choosing Life in Israel. 


This week Noam Chomsky, the famed MIT linguist and radical political writer and activist, was denied entry into Israel. The Israeli Left is up in arms.

Boaz Okon, legal commentator for left-leaning Yediot Aharonot, Israel’s largest daily, called the barring of Chomsky “a foolish act in a…series of recent follies” that “may mark the end of Israel as a law-abiding and freedom-loving state, or at least place a large question mark over this notion.” Going on to call Chomsky a “globally recognized intellectual,” Okon claimed “it would not be exaggerated to say that the decision to silence Professor Noam Chomsky is an attempt to put an end to freedom in the State of Israel.”

For his efforts, Okon made it to the New York Times where he was quoted by its Israel correspondent Ethan Bronner. Bronner called Chomsky “an outspoken critic both of American and Israeli policy.” Bronner was also able to quote Mark Regev, spokesman for Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, that “The idea that Israel is preventing people from entering whose opinions are critical of the state is ludicrous; it is not happening. This was a mishap. A guy at the border overstepped his authority.”

In Bronner’s telling, “Mr. Regev suggested that if Professor Chomsky tried to enter again, he would succeed.”

If it wasn’t paranoid, one might suspect that even the “right-wing” Netanyahu government has a special department for tripping up people who are loyal to Israel and want to defend it. In 2008—under the left-of-center Olmert government—Israel barred two other virulent enemies, Richard Falk and Chomsky’s disciple Norman Finkelstein, from entering. Regev—in the name of his boss—should either explain that those, too, were mistakes and Israel should gladly welcome all of its worst slanderers, or not speak until he and his boss work out some sort of coherent policy.

But to get back to the Israeli Left’s reactions, Bradley Burston of the far-Left daily Haaretz also quoted Okon on the barring of Chomsky. In doing so, Burston kicked off an 1100-word diatribe against Israel as a “state headed for fascism” that uses the words fascism, fascist, and fascistic a total of twelve times, including calling Chomsky’s exclusion “fascism by rubber stamp.” Another Haaretz commentator, Gideon Levy, was more precise, asserting that “When Israel closes its gates to anyone who doesn’t fall in line with our official positions, we are quickly becoming similar to North Korea.”

But the honors went to Haaretz’s editorial on the issue, haughtily titled “Declaring War on the Intellect: Israel and Noam Chomsky.”

“By stopping the illustrious American scholar Prof. Noam Chomsky at the Allenby Bridge,” Haaretz wrote,

and barring his entry into Israel and the Palestinian Authority, the government’s outrageous treatment of those with the audacity to criticize its policies has reached new heights. Israel looks like a bully who has been insulted by a superior intellect and is now trying to fight it, arrest it and expel it.

Going on to call Chomsky “a controversial and bold intellectual” who “bluntly and acerbically attacks any government that he thinks deserves it,” Haaretz said it would be

hard to imagine any country that would not feel honored to be visited by Chomsky, apart from Israel, which has its own accounts to settle with him…. Chomsky has roundly condemned the occupation and displayed sympathy for the Palestinian struggle against it.… Israel, however, has lost its last remnants of tolerance for anyone who does not join its shrinking chorus of supporters.

So there you have it. Chomsky, according to Okon, Bronner, Regev (speaking for Netanyahu), Burston, Levy, and Haaretz is at most a “critic,” but more significantly, for some of them, an “illustrious scholar,” a “superior intellect,” and a “bold intellectual” whose presence should honor anyone including the state of Israel, which could only have barred him in an act of careless folly or fascistic madness.

Who, actually, is Noam Chomsky? This useful overview notes, among much else, his admiration and apologetics, sustained over a decade and a half, for the genocidal Pol Pot regime in Cambodia. Closer to Israeli concerns, Chomsky—an American Jew who lived briefly in Israel during the 1960s and knows Hebrew—has made the following statements (again, among many others) over the years, each of them documented on this site:

* “I see no anti-Semitic implications in denial of the existence of gas chambers, or even denial of the holocaust. Nor would there be anti-Semitic implications, per se, in the claim that the holocaust (whether one believes it took place or not) is being exploited, viciously so, by apologists for Israeli repression and violence.”

* “I objected to the founding of Israel as a Jewish state. I don’t think a Jewish or Christian or Islamic state is a proper concept. I would object to the United States as a Christian state.”

* “The Hebrew press is much more open than the English language press, and there’s a very obvious reason: Hebrew is a secret language, you only read it if you’re inside the tribe.”

* “Of course [suicide bombers are] terrorists and there’s been Palestinian terrorism all the way through. I have always opposed it….But it’s very small as compared with the US-backed Israeli terrorism.”

Robert Wistrich, a historian at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, notes in A Lethal Obsession, a widely praised overview of contemporary anti-Semitism published in January, that Chomsky “stooped to the level of offering support to [notorious French] Holocaust denier Robert Faurisson and defending his credentials.” Chomsky, who contributed a preface to a 1980 Holocaust-denial book by Faurisson,

told Le Monde on January 19, 1981, that he was personally “agnostic” about the Nazi massacres. He did not want people “to have religious or dogmatic positions about the existence of the Holocaust.” This, too, was grist to the mill of many Holocaust deniers and neo-Nazis, who eagerly promote Chomsky’s books and speeches condemning American and Israeli imperialism on their websites. They understand that Chomsky’s backing for Faurisson and such left-wing libertarian Holocaust deniers as Pierre Guillaume has considerably bolstered the “revisionist” cause. (Wistrich, A Lethal Obsession, Random House, 2010, p. 532)

Two and a half decades later, in May 2006, Chomsky’s enthusiasm for Jew-hatred was again on display when he paid a fawning visit to Hezbollah in Lebanon and said “Hezbollah’s insistence on keeping its arms is justified.” Chomsky was also quoted (see the video) as telling his hosts that “the victory achieved by the resistance is a victory for all the peoples that fight injustice and oppression,” and had himself filmed standing beside a destroyed Israeli vehicle.

Less than two months later, when Hezbollah used its arms to mount the murderous cross-border attack against Israel that triggered the Second Lebanon War, Chomsky told a radio interviewer that he hoped Hezbollah’s actions could yield results.

Okon’s and Haaretz’s reactions, then, to Israel denying entry to Chomsky—an apologist for genocide, exponent and promoter of Holocaust denial, and terror groupie—can at best be ascribed to gross, inexcusable ignorance. Or, if it is not ignorance, one does not like to think what else could drive them to verbally pommel their government and country and extol Chomsky in this episode.

And, to repeat, the Prime Minister’s Office has acquitted itself miserably in this affair as well.

  • http://Hollywoodremoteleash.com A Bit Profound

    Chomsky is a demented idiot whose mind has been poisened by Marxist Humanism, just like all liberals who have taken up residence in "OppoaiteLand" You would think the fact that Communists have killed 110 million (mostly their own) would clue them into the fact that there is something wrong with the end destination of Progressivism. (and therefore with the Progressive ideaoligy itself.)

  • Shalom Freedman

    This is a very strong indictment not only of the despicable Chomsky but of the Israeli newspaper 'Haaretz'. ' Haaretz' which is owned by Amos Schocken has been the major source of anti- Israeli propaganda for years.
    I am not sure that the viciously anti- American as well as viciously anti- Israel Chomsky who is an American citizen should have been banned, as this has proven a tactical boomerang against Israel but I am sure that Chomsky's support of neo- Nazis Islamofascist Palestinians , and Communist criminals makes him an enemy of mankind.

    • ze-ev ben jehudah

      I totally agree…Shalom Mr, S. Freedman

  • shanecomeback

    A Jew who is an "agnostic" about the Holocaust has no moral authority whatsoever. Why should Israel let this Palestinian lickspittle in? The very fact Israel allows Haaratz and other anti-Israel outlets exist within it's borders proves it is not the "fascist" state the left keeps screaming about. Where are the equivalent outlets in Arab countries?

    • Toma

      You unbelievable morons.Chomsky is NOT an agnostic about the holocaust, not does he in any way support those who deny the holocaust.All he did was declare his support for the RIGHT of those to publish, who dont believe in the holocaust.Are you to dense to understand the difference?

      • Mike

        Surely all the gas chambers, Nazi accounts, survivor accounts, and many other things that points beyond a shadow of a doubt that the holocaust did happen should be a clue to these deniers. Despite that, he continues to support those who denied it. Maybe Chomsky is not an agnostic about this thing, that only makes him an idiot.

        • xman

          At the end of the day, Toma thinks the liberations of Auschwitz, Maidanek, and tens of other death camps was the worst thing that happened in history.

      • http://intensedebate.com/people/Stephen_Brady Stephen_Brady

        Starting a post by calling people "unbelievable morons" is not a good way to elicit a civil response.

  • ze-ev ben jehudah

    Alan Dershowitz's characterization of Mr Chomsky shows sufficiently inough
    what kind of person he realy is,certainly he is no intellectual,just an antisemitic
    cockroach.Years before the declaration of the state of Israel,in 1948 there was
    the Peel declaration who offered an dichotomy of the then called Palestine
    the Arabs and the Great Mufti of Jerusalem did'nt accept. It is well known
    what happened afterwards.The,mostly,antisemitic left wing politicians have
    degenerated to parasites of politics.

  • http://intensedebate.com/people/suprkufrB suprkufrB

    Try as I might, I simply can't get my mind around the thought processes of the "israeli left."
    Which parts of "kill the infidels" and "jews are the sons of apes and pigs" don't they understand?
    I believe that the israeli government should reward these inquiring minds by sponsoring them to a four-year stay in the islamic country of their choice.

  • von Starkermann

    As a German I can assure you all that the Holocaust was a real event and that we Germans killed millions of Jews, Gypsies, and countless others. Anyone who believe other wise, or who support those who believe otherwise are really lunatics and deserve to be in Mental Institutions.

  • BS1977

    Were Woody Allen and Noam Chomsky seperated at birth?

  • SFLBIB

    The Branding of the World's Top Intellectual: Noam Chomsky
    By Peter Schweizer Published 10/19/2005 http://www.tcsdaily.com/article.aspx?id=1019055

    Editor's note: In light of news that a British poll identified Noam Chomsky as the world's leading intellectual, we thought it would be a valuable exercise to run this excerpt from Peter Schweizer's new book Do As I Say (Not As I Do): Profiles in Liberal Hypocrisy (Doubleday $22.95).

    Note from the Author: Whereas readers of The Prospect found the top public intellectual in Chomsky, I found a poster child for modern-day capitalism and, because of his anti-capitalist views, a complete hypocrite.

    • frederick lee

      Obviously, this is the same bunch that picks the year's best and worst movies, dressed, etc. If I were Noam I would hope I would have the good sense after the Cambodia genocide to become invisible. At least Ezra Pound committed himself to silence after his work for fascist Italy in WW2. Or as Clint eastwood might say: "A man has got to know his limitations."

  • ibn khaldun

    Dear Noam: Please let us know – for just how many deaths of Cambodians do you feel personally responsible and guilty?

  • ibn khaldun

    Dear Noam: Our deepest condolences on the tragic passing of your mentor and role model, Pol Pot.

  • noam chomsky

    I decided to try to destroy amerika and Israel because it will really really make my Mommy angry!

  • Stern

    Canada's National Post noted today that just two weeks ago, Egypt barred Sir Elton John from entering – because he is gay. The silence of Ha-Aretz and the other leftist media is deafening.

  • USMCSniper

    Noam Chomsky did in fact lend his reputation to the deniers of the Holocaust and participated directly in downplaying another genocide, the Cambodian massacres of 1975-78. He also signed a petition in defense of Robert Faurisson, a Holocaust denier. Israel is justified in classifying him Persona Non Grata and denying him entrance to Israel.

  • http://intensedebate.com/people/Stephen_Brady Stephen_Brady

    At least, there is one nation on earth that has the cojones to deny entry to their country anyone who would see it destroyed. I want to see Bebe in the US Presidency (though of course, I understand why he cannot … I support our Constitution).

  • PAthena

    See the ANTI-CHOMSKY READER, a collection of essays about Chomsky, including his work in linguistics.
    Chomsky is a would-be communist tryant, both personally and politically.

  • http://intensedebate.com/people/Indioviejo Indioviejo

    Chomsky's position ultimately is a push for naked power. Naturally, an Intellectual of his caliber, needs to be recognized in the new "Nomenklatura", and so it goes with the smarter ones. They need to control the little guy because they know what's best for us. If only we would go quietly into the night.

  • frederick lee

    When Harry Cohn – head of Paramount Studios – was asked during WW2 for relief for the Jews he responded "How about relief FROM the Jews?" This quote is relevant to the tempest-in-a-teacup that surrounds the percious Noam Chomsky. The biblical sibling rivalry goes without mention and Genesis 16:12 that suggests a starting point for further scientific study related to genetic behavioral disorders is ignored.

  • Jacob

    Israel has to be congratulated for it's stand on, hate anything that stands for freedom, Mr. Hate Chomsky.

    Now Israel could do a great service for the US by transferring Mr. Chomsky to on of his free countries, like Iran Syria, Egypt or Saudi Arabia

  • D.K.

    Yenta to father of "Genocide girl."

    Have I got a match for you! He's a writer. A little twisted maybe, OK, very twisted, but a good man, a nice man. Go talk to him. I think he's ready to convert.

  • dashstar1972

    Interesting how people fail to read chomsky as a linguist. Look carefully at what he says. Denial of death chamber is not PER SE anti-semitism. It isn't: it is denial of a historical event, which can be proved or disproved. He has stated many times that he believes the holocaust did take place (he's Jewish for Christ's sake) but NOT as an article of faith but as an academic assessment. When he defended Robert Faurisson, he was defending academic freedom of expression, not those particular views. And what is so wrong with opposing a theocratic and ethnocratic foundation for a more modern state; most of us do, for example, when applied to Iran.
    As for 'terrorism', look at any objective academic assessment of the number of deaths caused by national foreign policy and you get a good idea of which nations/organisations have – literally speaking – caused the most terror.

    • ibn khaldun

      Sure and somewhat he defended people who say that black people are mud people from space would not be racist at all, nope, uh-huh, nosiree

    • Mike

      Except that the death chambers really did existed and there's proof everywhere that shows it existed. No one in their right mind would outright deny that the holocaust happened. And yet Chomsky supported these guys. It's the equivalent of supporting groups that believed the Earth is flat. Sure they can say what they believe but to support and endorse these guys means that either Chomsky is a bigot or a complete idiot. From what you said, he's probably the latter.

    • http://intensedebate.com/people/Stephen_Brady Stephen_Brady

      And what is your definition of the word "is"?

    • ajnn

      1. Your parsing of Chomskey's syntax may be correct, but Holocaust Denial is an anti-jewish phenomnon and Chomskey is offering 'cover' for people of hatred. Separating syntax from function can be misleading as it is in this case.

      2. You are wrong about Faurisson. Chomskey has claimed he was merely defending freefom of speech (actually academic freedom) in his statements, but he has also denied writing the forward. he has claimed he merely signed a petition for academic freedom. Sometimes the cover-up lets us know what the real issues are. In this case, Chomskey was dierctly supporting Holocaustr Denial.

      For Chomskey, Holocaust Denial is about Western values and Human Rights Law. THE WHOLE EDIFICE OF MODERN HUMAN RIGHTS LAW RESTS ON RESPONSE TO THE NAZI HOLOCAUST. By denying the Nazi Holocaust, people like Iran's prime minister and other Muslim leaders are looking to undermine Human Rights Law and internatioinal Law gemnerally in favor of Islamic Law. And Chomskey also wants to bury Western Civilization. The two (Chomskey and Muslim Extremists) have the same goal.

      • ajnn

        3. It is nonsense to portay Israel as a theocratic and ethnocratic nation. hard to know where to start to refute this one. Okease check 'reality'.

        4. Terrorism is killing (murdering) civilians and other innocents for political gain. The Palestinian Arabs regularly perpetrate acts of terrorism and commit crimes against humanity. The Israelis are notable for their effors to avoid innocent deaths and act only for military purposes, self-defense.

        By this (normal, legal, generally accepted) definition of terrorism and the rrespective actions of the Palestinian Arabs and the Isralis the Palestinian Arabs are terrorists and the Israelis are not.

  • pyeatte

    Not only should Chomsky be denied entry to Israel, he should be confined to a cell just for being an evil SOB.

  • LonnieKwartler

    Chomsky was born a Jew , but is an anti-Semite. he is also anti-American and against Western civilization. Comments on his Holocaust denial has, so far, overlooked that has has not just supported deniers, but published with them for profit in Europe and America, especially in France and California.

  • http://intensedebate.com/people/WildJew WildJew

    Your comparison of Israel to Iran is obscene.

  • BS1977

    CHumpsky should move to North Korea and luxuriate in his Commie paradise.

    • xman

      Better still, he wants parachuting into Mecca with a kippot superglued to his head.

  • Armando

    Chomsky is a self-hating American as well as a self-hating jew from way back. I don't understand why he doesn't teach at bir zeit unversity or maybe go and live in north korea. Israel did the right thing by not letting him in, they need not apologize to anyone.

  • Syd Barrett

    While freedom of speech is freedom of speech, regardless of whether we personally agree with the speech or not, there is a case to be made for keeping Chomsky out.

    I mean, we let a gibbering Kenyan idiot into this country, and look what happened.

    • badaboo

      infantile analogies and sarcasm aside , every sovereign nation has the right to decide who it considers as "persona-non-grata " and refuse them entry .

      • Syd Barrett

        They sure do, and I totally support Israel's decision to keep him out. I would too, if I were them.

        I assume by "infantile analogy" you're talking about the "gibbering Kenyan idiot" thing. Since he is Kenyan, is a proven idiot and gibbers constantly (shall I give examples?), I don't see anything infantile here. I see a statement of fact.

        • badaboo

          gee, you are capable of cognizant thought , and obvious deduction …yup you got it right , infantile is what I meant , and infantile is what is was ….but you can try an 'dress it up " if you wish .

  • AL.
  • USMCSniper

    Marc Myake who has a PhD in linguistics wrote: "Chomsky is not a scientist. He is a cult prophet who demands that people believe him. I call him 'Noamuhammad'. Since his claims cannot be proved, they have to be taken on faith. Chomskyanism has been the dominant paradigm that has perverted inguistics for nearly forty years, and its major competitors share some of its weaknesses. Even if Chomsky's own version of nonsense dies out, others will continue to pump out 'junk science' that contributes little or nothing to language learning, language teaching, or intercultural understanding. And peer review has done nothing to stop the cult of Noamuhammad. Like James Hudnall said:

    "Science in this day and age has become one big pimp act for government grants … 'Peer review' is just another word for log rolling. It's as useful as what David Duke thinks of Mein Kampf." It is our tax dollars are funding the nonsense of Chomskyanism.

  • http://www.sonzyskitchen.com Rafe

    While there is freedom of speech, one must still be responsible of his own actions. If the Israeli government of the people feel that Chomsky has offended their country and showed disrespect, we cannot blame them for not letting Chomsky step a foot in their country.

  • John D.

    I agree with the article but cannot understand why the Mossad hasn't put a bullet in Chomsky's head.

  • joe

    I agree with suprkufrB. I know if you send them to the islam country of there choice they would immediately become muslim. That way they save their sorry asses from getting killed.

  • BS1977

    Chumpsky is fading fast…no one listens to this garbage peddler anymore.

  • Thunder

    chump chomsky – a perfect example of a leftist educated beyond his intelligence.
    Some might say: whatta cretin. Others say: a dolt.

  • Zisska

    Israel denies any Semitic Jew with proof they are Jewish into Israel.

    Israel only allows CONVERT RADICAL RACIST ZIONIST into the Country or those who promise to be race haters, human rights, warmonger's persecutors of Jews and Muslims with the true Semitic blood .

    • badaboo

      oh , get in touch weith reality Zisska , you yourself are an anti-JEW , you got your head wrapped in your anti-zionist propaganda .And a muslim no doubt .

  • Shakina

    If being an intellectual means talking a lot, knowing a lot of language and winning a lot of friends by picking on the minority group and separating himself from them as a smarter superior human being, then yes he's an intellectual. He should be working for the end of nation states all around the world instead of focusing his criticism in an unbalanced double standard on Israel. His bullying is dangerous, words are like weapons when Israel is being vilified to such extremes around the world and he is a big part of the problem. If he doesn't want Israel, he doesn't need to come. It is an insult to have him come to Israel unless he enters with an intension to be as critical as desired but drawing the line at vilifying, slandering, hate speech. As long as we live in a world of Nation States, the Jewish people will have their Nation State. Oh, and since we are talking about free speech, does that mean I get to enter his home and freely speak my mind to him? ;)

  • Edwin S.

    Chomsky is descended from Jews; he has Jewish DNA. But it ends there: by no measure can he be considered Jewish, and that should be noted in any discussion of him.