Elvis Costello, Noam Chomsky, and Israel: Who’s in? Who’s out?

One day after far-left Jewish American academic Noam Chomsky was prevented from entering the West Bank to give a lecture at Bir Zeit University, rock singer Elvis Costello canceled two summer concerts in Israel.

By Staff / May 19, 2010

What’s so funny ’bout peace, love, and understanding?

Rock singer Elvis Costello’s fans in Israel, it seems, won’t be getting the answer to that question (which also happens to be the title of one of Mr. Costello’s hits) any time soon.

On Tuesday Costello canceled two concerts in Israel this summer, due to what he calls the “grave and complex” sensitivities of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

IN PICTURES: Banned by Israel: Noam Chomsky, and who else?

“There are occasions when merely having your name added to a concert schedule may be interpreted as a political act that resonates more than anything that might be sung,” said Costello, whose decision follows similar cancellations by spoken-word jazz performer Gil Scott-Heron and guitar legend Carlos Santana.

Meanwhile, the Jewish state is closing its doors to other big names that want to strut their stuff.

Far-left academic and fierce Israel and US critic Noam Chomsky became the latest such person Monday when he was prevented from giving a lecture at Bir Zeit University near the West Bank city of Ramallah. After hours of questioning, the Jewish-American scholar was stopped from entering the West Bank at the Israeli-controlled crossing from Jordan.

Officials have called the episode a “misunderstanding” and deny that he’s been blacklisted simply because of his views. Chomsky, however, doesn’t seem convinced. He delivered the lecture to Palestinian students Tuesday by video link from Jordan.

Who else has been banned from Israel? Check out our Top 10 list.

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