Off the top of my head I can't quite think of any real reason that Israel can give which would make it seem like the only sensible and democratically justifiable course of action was to bar 81 year old Chomsky from entering the West Bank. Paragraphs 5 and 7 indicate that Chomsky didn't go there to argue for Israel to be dismantled, bombed, or subjected to isolation. Paragraph 4 does give a reason for the decision though, but yesterdays reports in Haaretz said that Israel didn't like what Chomsky said, as opposed what he is in this article. So, obviously, it has something to do with Israel not liking Chomsky's words, which means that Strenger is right to be worried about freedom of speech in Israel. However, why he is only worried about it now is somewhat strange considering the rather influential role of Israel's military censor. Add to that the alarmingly high number of Israelis (50 percent plus) who support the idea that people who criticise Israel should be silenced, and one can be excused for thinking that if Strenger has any reason to get out of his chair and do more work, it is look for ways in which to promote freedom of speech. Even that of the likes of Lieberman, whom, for all intent and purposes, speech is blunt object with which to bash anyone not of his ideological convictions. But the point of freedom of speech is not what is said and how it makes us feel, but to deprive oppressive regimes of the convenience of silencing those who disagree with them. Freedom of speech though is not served by ignoring what has been said and asking for more when what has been said doesn't agree with what we want to hear. Good luck, Israel, you need it.
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