Saudi Arabia DENIES Visa For JEWISH American Reporter To Cover Obama Visit

Michael Wilner, Washington Bureau Chief for the Jerusalem Post, was denied a visa by Saudia Arabia ahead of the President’s visit to the country. The Jerusalem post, the Anti-Defamation League, and the National Press Club have responded with strong condemnation as well as a demand for answers. The Obama administration has also chimed in, with various spokespersons expressing “disappointment.”

wilnerWilner, in an email to Fox News, said “I am an American journalist covering the travel of an American president. We consider it unfortunate that Saudi Arabia would deny any legitimate reporter the ability to complete that work — much less one properly credentialed, in the White House press corps, expressly invited on the trip.” He adds, “we have little doubt that my access was denied either because of my media affiliation or because of my religion. That is a grave disappointment, and a lost opportunity for the Kingdom.”


The Anti-Defamation League has the following on their website:

“Because there have been clear precedents for issuing such visas in the past, and Mr. Wilner is the only journalist currently accredited to the White House who was denied a visa, it is difficult to understand this decision, which prevents a Jewish American journalist working for an Israeli news outlet from doing his job,” said Abraham H. Foxman, ADL National Director.

In a letter to the Saudi Ambassador to the United States, Adel Al-Jubeir, Mr. Foxman said the decision and the absence of an explanation from the Saudi government has led to speculation that Mr. Wilner was singled out because he is Jewish and works for an Israeli newspaper.

“As you know, if that speculation is true, it is unacceptable and will diminish the standing of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia in the eyes of many,” Mr. Foxman wrote. “If it is not true, I respectfully urge you to publicly set the record straight and provide a reasonable explanation for the decision to exclude Mr. Wilner from covering President Obama’s important meeting with King Abdullah.”

The White House Correspondent’s association also had strong words:

“It is outrageous that the Saudi government has refused to allow a White House reporter entry to the country to cover this week’s visit of President Barack Obama.

“The denial is an affront not only to this journalist, but to the entire White House press corps and to the principle of freedom of the press that we hold so dear.”

Ben Rhodes, Deputy National Security Advisor to the president, said that America’s relationship with Saudi Arabia had to include “honesty” about the differences between the two nations, according to the Post.

“Look, we have disagreements with Saudi Arabia on a number of issues,” Rhodes said. “We obviously have had disagreements in the past as it relates to some issues associated with Israel, some issues associated with human rights.”

He added “we believe it’s better to have the type of relationship where we can cooperate but also be clear and honest with one another where we have differences.”

Honesty. About “differences.” Really??

Rhodes also added that the White House was “very disappointed” in the decision.

State Department Deputy Spokesperson Marie Harf also said the U.S. is “deeply disappointed,” and that the State Department would continue to “register” their “concern.”

The President meets with King Abdullah on Friday.


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