Quite a few freedom of speech fans, champions of democracy, and other people detached from the realities of our life and convinced that Birzeit University is located in Switzerland stood up to fight on behalf of Professor Noam Chomsky, who was prevented from entering Israel.
Many times in history did intellectuals stand up to fight the battles of their state’s enemies. Lenin, who led the communist revolution in Russia, was once asked about his opinion on the West European and American intellectuals who battled on his behalf, and characterized them as “useful idiots.” Chomsky is certainly no idiot, yet there is no doubt that this is how our enemies characterize him behind closed doors, while they rub their hands with glee when they see and hear a Jewish Israel-hater enlisting for their cause.
Chomsky is known as one whose venomous criticism of the State of Israel is being uttered from many platforms worldwide, so those who play dumb wonder: Why does it matter if he also speaks in Israel? Yet apparently there is one common denominator to soccer goalkeepers, real estate agents, and professional cursers – all of them know that the most important thing is location.
There is no doubt that freedom of speech is a basic democratic right. Hence, anyone who so wishes can bring a stool from home, place it at Speakers’ Corner in London’s Hyde Park, and deliver any speech they want. One is even allowed to support Israel there, imagine that. However, even Britain’s democracy does not believe that the BBC should air speeches in favor of the Taliban and al-Qaeda’s right to kill soldiers in Afghanistan and Iraq.
It’s not only what you say that is important; no less important, and possibly even more so, is where you utter your curses.
Before World War II, British national William Joyce established a fascist party in the UK. On the eve of the war, when it was clear to him that he will not be allowed to operate in Britain, he traveled to Germany and started working on behalf of German propaganda. His broadcasts, which were uttered in a British accent and were premised on intimate familiarity with British society, caused real demoralization in England and in its colonies. The British referred to him as Lord Haw Haw, and at the end of the war nabbed him, tried him on high treason charges, and hung him.
Message to our enemies
Britain did not cease being a democracy even when it fought for survival, yet nonetheless, nobody even imagined the possibly of allowing Lord Haw Haw to bark from London during the war. Why then do democracy lovers want Lord Chomsky to bark curses against the State of Israel from our own backyard? Where is the borderline between democracy and suicidal tendencies? Between freedom of speech and reckless abandon?
There is no doubt that Chomsky’s hate for Israel will continue to be distributed, as a free service granted to all our enemies, even after he was banned from entering Israel. Thanks to the enthusiastic support from home, we shall also be condemned for banning his entry by those who always seek excuses to do so.
Chomsky is a famed linguist, yet most of his fame (and possibly his livelihood) in recent years stemmed from him becoming a professional Israel curser. Whoever invited him to deliver a speech at Birzeit knew that location is the most important thing, because after all his words are published even when he curses us from Boston. Nonetheless, they bothered to invite him, and he bothered to come here in order to curse us from up close.
Had Israel allowed him to enter, this would have been interpreted in Ramallah, Gaza, Damascus, and Tehran as yet another sign that Israel is no longer able to produce antibodies against the internal erosion wrought upon us by the Left and threatening to rot the Center as well. The “entry banned” seal stamped in his passport is a badge of honor for Israel. It’s proof that there are some people among us who still hold on to their survival instincts.
MK Professor Arieh Eldad is a member of National Union