Famed academic and political dissident Noam Chomsky was detained for three hours by Israeli border guards before being denied entry into the country on Sunday, Israeli news sources report.
Chomsky, who is of Jewish extraction and has long been a fierce critic of Israel, told a TV station in Israel that a border guard said Chomsky had "written things that the Israeli government didn't like."
"I suggested [the interrogator try to] find any government in the world that likes anything I say," Chomsky said, as quoted at Ha'aretz.
According to the Jerusalem Post, "some sources say [Chomsky] was told unofficially there was an order from on high to turn him back because of his political views."
Chomsky, a renowned linguistics expert who teaches at MIT, has been an outspoken critic of Israeli foreign policy and US policy towards Israel for years. In 2006, during the Israel-Lebanon war, Chomsky called Israel's bombing of Beirut "a serious breach of international law" for which "there is no legal justification."
In March of this year, in front of a crowd at Boston University, Chomsky denounced the "slaughter" of Palestinians by Israeli forces and denounced IsraelÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s Ã¢â‚¬Å“escalating policy of apartheidÃ¢â‚¬Â� towards Palestinians.
According to Ha'aretz, Chomsky was scheduled to give a speech at Bir Zeit University, in the West Bank near Jerusalem. Chomsky arrived at a border crossing between Jordan and the West Bank at around 1:30 p.m. on Sunday. He was taken for questioning, turned back from Israel and released at around 4:30 p.m. local time.
Palestinian lawmaker Moustafa Barghouti, a moderate who was scheduled to tour the territories with Chomsky, denounced Chomsky's exclusion, Ynet News reported.
Chomsky has long labeled himself as a "libertarian socialist" or "anarcho-syndicalist," a form of anarchism. In academic circles, he is widely considered one of the founding father of modern linguistics.
His political books, including Manufacturing Consent and Necessary Illusions, have been slammed by critics as being "subversive" and hailed by supporters as important works deconstructing the political structure of American society.