Tags: America's Forum | Barack Obama | Exclusive Interviews | Israel | alan dershowitz | saudi arabia | jewish

Dershowitz: Obama Should Cancel Saudi Trip Over Reporter's Visa

By Lisa Barron   |   Thursday, 27 Mar 2014 05:10 PM

Saudi Arabia denied a request from the Obama administration to issue a visa to American reporter Michael Wilner, Washington Bureau Chief for the Jerusalem Post, because he is Jewish, says prominent lawyer Alan Dershowitz.

"You have to go back some years in Saudi history. For many, many years, Saudi simply wouldn't allow any Jew, whether he was a French citizen, American citizen, German citizen, to enter. It was a violation of their religious law to allow a heathen Jew to set foot on Saudi Arabia," he told Newsmax TV's John Bachman and J.D. Hayworth Thursday on "America's Forum."

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"So Saudi Arabia has a long horrible history in bigotry when it comes to Jews and if this guy were not Jewish, clearly he would've gotten the visa. Of course, the fact that he is a correspondent for the Jerusalem Post, which is an Israeli newspaper, may have been a contributing factor as well."

Dershowitz said Obama should cancel his trip to Saudi Arabia this week because of Riyadh's refusal to issue the visa.

"The president should refuse to set foot in Saudi Arabia until and unless the country allows a correspondent to go there, and they would back, the Saudis would back down, and the president should show that kind of determination, and I believe he's making a mistake in simply saying that he's disappointed," he explained.

"Look, Saudi Arabia is a very important ally, not because of who they are but what they're on top of. I mean, it's not really a country, it's a wholly owned family gas station that supplies much of the oil resources for the western world, so they are a very important ally and they do have…they are an apartheid country.

"They have gender apartheid, men and women have to be kept separate. They have religious apartheid, they have roads that are for Muslims only. They are very anti-Christian; you're not allowed to build Christian churches. You can't have a cross showing if you're an American military soldier. We just can't accept their approach to discrimination if they're going to be American allies and the United States has to be just tougher when it comes to that."

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Dershowitz spent most of his career at Harvard Law School, where he held the Felix Frankfurter professorship from 1993 until his retirement in December.

He is the author of several books about politics and law, including "The Case for Peace: How The Arab–Israeli Conflict Can Be Resolved."

Dershowitz said Secretary of State John Kerry's meeting this week with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, following the release of a statement by the Arab League saying it will never recognize Israel as a "Jewish state," does not necessarily mean the two sides are impossibly far apart in terms of a resolution.

"Many Israelis would be willing to accept a Palestinian state with some kind of a shared capital, Palestinian capital, that would only be symbolic. We know that the real capital of any Palestinian state would be Ramallah…The problem is not that the Arab league says that Israel shouldn't be recognized. It's the nation state of the Jewish people. By the way, it's not the Jewish state as if the state is Jewish religiously, it's the nation state of the Jewish people. That's the formulation that Prime Minister Netanyahu has frequently used," he argued.

"The United States' position is that the Palestinians should recognize Israel as the nation state of the Jewish people but that failure to do should not end the talks. So, a reasonable position."

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