–updated–

Mr. Chomsky is not my brand of intellectual, but if this order came down from on high, based on Chomsky’s political beliefs, Israel just kissed their democratic credentials good-bye. It’s a huge mistake on every level.

According to Haaretz and the Jerusalem Post, Chomsky was turned back at the Allenby Bridge border crossing on his way to speak at Bir Zeit University. According to reports, the Israeli government will send the reason denying Chomsky entry to the American Embassy.

Moustafa Barghouti has denounced the action, according to Raw Story, via YNet News (also see SCB’s In the News diary).

Chomsky, who is in his 80s, speaks with a voice of a man who has nothing left to lose. A speech at BU caused quite a stir in March.

With references to “slaughter” in Gaza and Israel’s successful efforts (with U.S. complicity) to quell protest and expressions of sympathy among Palestinians in the West Bank, Chomsky returned often to the apartheid theme. At one point he described Gaza’s living conditions as being worse than the bantustans, the so-called homelands of apartheid South Africa. He later referred to Israel’s actions in sealed-off Gaza as a campaign of extermination.

His comments were punctuated by his familiar refrain that the United States and Israel are “rogue states.” With few exceptions, U.S. support of Israel has been unflagging, he said.

“The world works like the Mafia, and we’re the don,” Chomsky said. “You do what we say or else.” Israel is on its way to becoming a pariah state, he continued, yet like South Africa, it receives increasingly lonely U.S. support.

Jewish identity or not, it’s clear that if this reported action by Prime Minister Netanyahu’s government was based on Chomsky’s criticism of Israel, Israel is about to make even more enemies than they had before, something that benefits no one still hoping for a two-state solution.

Meanwhile, Rahm Emanuel told rabbis that they’ve “screwed up the messaging” over the last years, but that the Obama administration is doing the right thing on policy regarding Israeli. Does this policy include a caveat for Israel when it comes to a nuclear-free Middle East?

The Obama administration has “screwed up the messaging” about its support for Israel over the past 14 months, and it will take “more than one month to make up for 14 months,” White House chief of staff Rahm Emanuel said on Thursday to a group of rabbis called together for a meeting in the White House.

[…] Dennis Ross, who runs the administration’s Iran policy, tried to allay fears during the meeting that by calling for a nuclear-free Middle East, US policy regarding Israel’s alleged nuclear capabilities was changing.

Since 1995, Ross explained, the administration’s policy, supported by Israel, was to push for a nuclear-free Middle East in conjunction with comprehensive peace. Emanuel, according to a participant in the meeting, said, “We understand Israel’s full layer of deterrence.” …

The shoring up of Jewish support for 2012 has begun.