Who's Afraid of Noam Chomsky?

Israel, apparently, which stopped him from crossing the border into the West Bank, where he was scheduled to give a speech. Real democracies aren't afraid of ridiculous men like Noam Chomsky. Yediot, via Didi Remez:

The decision to expel Prof. Noam Chomsky from the border terminal in order to prevent him from lecturing at Bir Zeit University is an act of folly, part of a large series of follies in the recent period, which together could mark the end of Israel as a freedom-loving state of law, or at least pose a large question mark over this.

This decision is first of all patently illegal, since it stands in stark contrast to the most important ruling of the Supreme Court in the Kol Haam affair, in which it was determined that restricting freedom of speech is only legal if the statement is of a kind that could pose a clear and immediate danger to state security.  Truth is not dictated from on high and opinions and ideas cannot be supervised.  The best test of truth is the power of an idea to be accepted in the marketplace of ideas.

But in Israel, the government has already started to threaten freedom, at least the freedom of those who are perceived as others.  We have ceased to take an interest in what the others have to say, not to mention their rights to live here in a normal fashion.  We want them to get out of our sight.  We hound the others on the basis of generalizations, suspicions, prejudice or just because they are annoying.
Presented by

Jeffrey Goldberg is a national correspondent for The Atlantic and a recipient of the National Magazine Award for Reporting. He is the author of Prisoners: A Story of Friendship and Terror. More

Before joining The Atlantic in 2007, Goldberg was a Middle East correspondent, and the Washington correspondent, for The New Yorker. He was previouslly a correspondent for The New York Times Magazine and New York magazine. He has also written for the Jewish Daily Forward and was a columnist for The Jerusalem Post.

Goldberg's book Prisoners was hailed as one of the best books of 2006 by the Los Angeles Times, The New York Times, The Washington Post, Slate, The Progressive, Washingtonian magazine, and Playboy. He received the 2003 National Magazine Award for Reporting for his coverage of Islamic terrorism and the 2005 Anti-Defamation League Daniel Pearl Prize. He is also the winner of the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists prize for best international investigative journalist; the Overseas Press Club award for best human-rights reporting; and the Abraham Cahan Prize in Journalism.

In 2001, Goldberg was appointed the Syrkin Fellow in Letters of the Jerusalem Foundation, and in 2002 he became a public-policy scholar at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars in Washington, D.C.

Saving the Bees

Honeybees contribute more than $15 billion to the U.S. economy. A short documentary considers how desperate beekeepers are trying to keep their hives alive.

Video

How to Cook Spaghetti Squash (and Why)

Cooking for yourself is one of the surest ways to eat well.

Video

Before Tinder, a Tree

Looking for your soulmate? Write a letter to the "Bridegroom's Oak" in Germany.

Video

The Health Benefits of Going Outside

People spend too much time indoors. One solution: ecotherapy.

Video

Where High Tech Meets the 1950s

Why did Green Bank, West Virginia, ban wireless signals? For science.

Video

Yes, Quidditch Is Real

How J.K. Rowling's magical sport spread from Hogwarts to college campuses

Video

Would You Live in a Treehouse?

A treehouse can be an ideal office space, vacation rental, and way of reconnecting with your youth.

More in National

From This Author

Just In