This Just In: The Right to Travel ... to Israel?

Following up on Harvey's post about the right to travel to Cuba, a few days ago Israeli security services detained American (ex-)academic Norman Finkelstein and refused to allow him entry to Israel for the next ten years.'s Glenn Greenwald quotes a Jerusalem Post article explaining that "the decision to deport Finkelstein was connected to his anti-Zionist opinions and fierce public criticism of Israel around the world." Even if you disagree with Finklestein's politics, there's something perverse in a country refusing admission to someone based on the content of their speech. It's one thing to keep a visiting scholar out because of real security interests, but it smacks of viewpoint censorship when scholars (like Tariq Ramadan, who writes about Islam and modernity and was denied a teaching visa by the U.S. state department back in 2004) aren't allowed to enter the marketplace of ideas. Finkelstein certainly doesn't toe the Likud party line, but it's also a stretch to call him a security threat, so it seems pretty clear why he was excluded. Ha'aretz had the right response: "It is not for the government to decide which views should be heard here and which ones should not."

Updated (6/10/08 1:30pm): Readers who access The Free For All through the old site rather than the new site might see this post misattributed below to Wendy Kaminer because of software limitations with the old system. The post was penned by James Tierney, a research assistant for Harvey Silverglate.

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