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January 29, 2015 / 9 Shevat, 5775
 
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Saudi Arabia Refuses Visa to American Jewish Journalist

Saudi Arabia denied a visa to a White House press corps reporter from the Jerusalem Post. The reporter is Jewish, but is not an Israeli. Plain old anti-Semitism.
Michael Wilner, White House correspondent for the Jerusalem Post

Michael Wilner, White House correspondent for the Jerusalem Post
Photo Credit: Facebook

Michael Wilner is the Jerusalem Post‘s reporter based in Washington, and its White House correspondent. He is an American Jew who does not have Israeli citizenship and has never lived in Israel.

About midday on Monday, March 24, Wilner tweeted, “Saudi Arabia has denied me a visa to cover Obama’s trip this week.”

Wilner is the only journalist in the press corps who was denied entry by Saudi Arabia.

The White House declined to comment publicly, but the Jerusalem Post reported that U.S. National Security Adviser Susan Rice specifically requested that the visa be granted. Tony Blinken, a special assistant to President Obama, was also reported to have issued a request to Adel bin Ahmed al-Jubeir, Saudi Arabia’s ambassador to the U.S.

In another Twitter exchange, Wilner answered a reporter from AL Monitor who queried, “Any idea why?” [he was denied the visa.]  “not the faintest idea” Wilner tweeted back.

In a Politico report of the incident, Wilner is quoted as commenting via email, “U.S. foreign policy in the Middle East is a central pillar of our newspaper’s coverage – this trip was important to us. We can only assume Saudi Arabia’s decision was based on discriminatory principles.”

“Obama administration officials privately acknowledged the media outlet was discriminated against,” the Jerusalem Post reported.

Wilner is a 2011 graduate of Claremont Mckenna College and also attended Columbia University.

 

About the Author: Lori Lowenthal Marcus is the US correspondent for The Jewish Press. She is a recovered lawyer who previously practiced First Amendment law and taught in Philadelphia-area graduate and law schools.


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22 Responses to “Saudi Arabia Refuses Visa to American Jewish Journalist”

  1. The have Jews there in city of medina

  2. Rachel Topaz says:

    Why would a Jew go to Saudi Arabia?

  3. Gary Gien says:

    Well kick all of those people out of Israel

  4. Lani Lowell says:

    Attention the White House: Adress Anti semitism in the US and the Apartheid Anti semitic Saudi Arabia , TODAY!

  5. But The aren’t antisemitic and raciste… nooooo!!!! Shame on them!!!!!

  6. Scott Marks says:

    There are many Jews working in Saudi Arabia. Those, like me who worked for a foreign government had no issues as we were not required to disclose our religious affiliation prior to entering Saudi. Those working for private companies were told to lie about being Jewish. The Saudis would prefer not to have any Jews in their country, so lying was a tried and true way to avoid any entry problems. The practice of other religions in the Kingdom is forbidden, but as long as people are discrete, the officials there look the other way. My guess is that this reporter was looked at and ultimately denied because of who he worked for (an Isreali company) and then it became impossible to "hide" his religion…forcing the Saudis to adhear to their own laws so as not to lose face. I lived there for almost two year and had many great Shabbat dinners and a memorable Passover Sedar as well.

  7. Good idea Lani Lowell – there is plenty of anti-Semitism right here in the 'good old USA'! We have always been the world's favorite punching bag.

  8. Hinda Blas says:

    In 2002 I was working for an environmental company that won the rights to do hydrogeology studies in Qatif. However, upon learning that I was Jewish (after we submitted our visas), we were informed that I could not go as I am a threat to their country. When the head of our company asked them if they do not allow Jews into their country, the response was – only in certain areas for safety reasons. Some things never change. And the reason we are supporting Saudi is … (can someone please answer this?

  9. Hinda Blas says:

    How long ago was this? I've heard from others that they were highly watched but had to be on the "non-Arab" areas.

  10. Rhoda Sorin Waisel says:

    umm – maybe oil?

  11. America, wake up and smell the Arabica beans!

  12. U ARE AN IDIOT HOPE SOMEDAY SOME MUSLIM CUTS YOUR BRAINLESS HEAD OFF.

  13. Ilana Nurenberger Ovadya says:

    So, what else is new?!

  14. do not worry…you have missed nothing, their loss not yours

  15. Rhoda Sorin Waisel yeah, the wrong sort…

  16. I think Saudi Arabia has heard the story "David and Goliath" and realize what they might be in for. Best this young man NOT go there, and live to enjoy another day and another written article.

  17. No comment necessary! I hope the White House won't let this pass.

  18. Irwin Stolzenberg Dds You make the best case for the need for a Jewish state

  19. Saudi Arabian a country recently invited to sit on the security council, by refusing entry to a Jewish reporter (not Israeli) and publicly displaying this Saudi Arabian law prohibiting entry to Jewish as visitors in violation of UN human rights rules.. President Obama said he was disappointed but proceeded with the meeting even though the meeting could have been held somewhere else

    So when Abbas adamantly says he will never recognize Israel as a Jewish state and at the same time demands any Palestinian land be ‘judenrein,’ (e.g.Gaza) maybe he means it. When an American President for the first time in history decides that recognition of Israel is not important, one would expect people to be puzzled, perhaps to consider the possibility that this might not be a word game but a genuine desire to exterminate Israel and that one millisecond of putting oneself in the situation of Israel as the Arab league gathered to affirm his demand should scare the living daylights.. That nobody in the rest seems at all disturbed by ay of this, or by the fact that 5 yes 5 resolutions are schedules for a vote against Israel tomorrow, when Syria is deliberately starving Palestinians to death, Egypt is hanging hundreds of people, Russia is annexing Crimea, china taken parts of Japan, is the best argument for the necessity of a Jewish state that exists.

  20. Typical narrow minded policy from the Saudi government. If they only knew how many Americans of Jewish ancestory worked in the kingdom.

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