Noam Chomsky and his Israeli opponents

Quote of the day!

Professor Noam Chomsky, the world-famous political and intellectual dissident once described in the Guardian as "one of the ten most quoted sources in the humanities -- along with Shakespeare and the Bible", has been barred by the Israeli government from lecturing in the occupied West Bank.

From ABC News:

Israeli authorities admitted today that they erred by denying renowned left-wing, US intellectual Noam Chomsky entry into Israeli-controlled territory.

After hours of questioning by Israeli officials at a border crossing between Jordan and the occupied Palestinian West Bank he was forced to return to the Jordanian capital Amman.

A linguist and political activist with a track record of criticizing Israeli policy, Chomsky had been scheduled to deliver two lectures at the Palestinian University of Bir Zeit. He was also due to meet Palestinian Prime Minister Salaam Fayyed and other officials from the Palestinian Authority.

Chomsky told the Israeli daily Haaretz in a telephone interview that he thought the decision had been taken because of his political views and because he was only visiting a Palestinian college and not an Israeli one as well.

But for me, the best quotation of all comes from the piece in the Guardian (quoting the prof on al-Jazeera):

He told al-Jazeera television that the immigration official who interviewed him had made it clear that "the government of Israel doesn't like the kinds of things I say, which puts them into the same category as every other government in the world".

Mehdi Hasan is a contributing writer for the New Statesman and the co-author of Ed: The Milibands and the Making of a Labour Leader. He was the New Statesman's senior editor (politics) from 2009-12.

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En français, s'il vous plaît! EU lead negotiator wants to talk Brexit in French

C'est très difficile. 

In November 2015, after the Paris attacks, Theresa May said: "Nous sommes solidaires avec vous, nous sommes tous ensemble." ("We are in solidarity with you, we are all together.")

But now the Prime Minister might have to brush up her French and take it to a much higher level.

Reuters reports the EU's lead Brexit negotiator, Michel Barnier, would like to hold the talks in French, not English (an EU spokeswoman said no official language had been agreed). 

As for the Home office? Aucun commentaire.

But on Twitter, British social media users are finding it all très amusant.

In the UK, foreign language teaching has suffered from years of neglect. The government may regret this now . . .

Julia Rampen is the editor of The Staggers, The New Statesman's online rolling politics blog. She was previously deputy editor at Mirror Money Online and has worked as a financial journalist for several trade magazines.