Israeli Academics Denounce Government's Chomsky Ban

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JERUSALEM — More than 500 Israeli academics have denounced the government decision banning famed Jewish-American linguist Noam Chomsky from entering the West Bank last week.

In a letter to Interior Minister Eli Yishai on Tuesday, they accusing the ministry of harming democracy and academic freedoms.

The letter says: "Blocking someone whose opinions are not accepted is a mortal blow to democracy."

Signatories included faculty and students, linguists and philosophers.

The 81-year-old Chomsky, an outspoken critic of Israel, was to speak at a West Bank university last week when Israeli authorities barred him from entering from neighboring Jordan.

The Interior Ministry later said the border agent had made a mistake and Chomsky was welcome to return.