Commentary Magazine


Intellectuals and Terrorists

Two years ago, intellectuals went into an uproar when the state of Israel barred linguist Noam Chomsky from entering the West Bank. Leftists howled when the decision to bar the octogenarian and asked what harm he could have done the Jewish state. It was arguable that Israel did itself more harm than good by keeping the icon of anti-American and anti-Israel thought out of the country since it gave the impression that it was suppressing his ideas. That was, of course, nonsense, since free expression of all kinds, including some of the most virulent anti-Zionist agitation, is permitted throughout Israel. But whether it was wise or not, Israel was fully within its rights to keep out a foreign individual who has spent much of his career seeking the country’s destruction.

That decision was brought to mind today as the 83-year-old Chomsky returned to the Middle East, this time to visit the independent Palestinian state in all but name that exists in Gaza. Chomsky crossed from Egypt into the strip and will speak at the Islamic University there. We don’t doubt that he will get a warm welcome from the Islamists at the school as well as from the Hamas tyrants who rule the area with an iron hand. But this episode is a reminder of the double standards and hypocrisy that passes for principle on the intellectual left.

It should be understood that the entire purpose of Chomsky’s visit to Gaza is to support the Hamas government as he intends to speak against the faltering international blockade of the terrorist state they govern. In doing so and by speaking at the Islamic University, the former MIT professor will be lending his prestige to some of the most brutal thugs in the world whose goal is not merely the destruction of Israel but the suppression of the human rights of their own people.

Though Chomsky will, as he has in the past, disclaim any responsibility for the brutish behavior of his hosts and other Palestinian friends, it is clear that this son of a great Jewish scholar is lending his seal of approval to both attacks on Jews and Israel. This is not the first example of the ongoing infatuation between leftist intellectuals and thugs who attack institutions and people those leftists abhor. But it is no less despicable for being so predictable.