Call It What It Is
How many times have we heard this same old mantra? "The Arabs aren't anti-Semitic, they're anti-Israel." Well, let's not pretend it's anything other than flat out Jew-hatred when an Arab country refuses entry to a fifth generation American reporter...who happens to be Jewish. And just in case anybody thinks the reason for the snub was because the reporter in question is known to be sympathetic to Israel, consider the fact that the non-Jewish radio talk show host with whom he was traveling, is an outspoken and unabashed critic of this same Arab regime...and he got a thumbs up.
World Net Daily
December 8, 2005
U.S. reporter denied entry to Syria because he's a Jew
By Joseph Farah
WASHINGTON - Aaron Klein, WND's Jerusalem bureau chief was prevented today from entering Syria, where he planned to interview officials from Syria, Lebanon and the U.S. as well as co-host ABC Radio's nationally syndicated "The John Batchelor Show" because, according to at least one official in the Syrian embassy, he's Jewish.
Klein, an American citizen whose family has resided in the United States for five generations, is currently working full-time for WND in Jerusalem. He and Batchelor, along with producer Lee Mason, made arrangements with the Syrian embassy in the U.S. in advance of their trip. All three were told Monday by Ammar al-Arsan, the press attache for the Syrian embassy in Washington, that the applications for the visas were approved, and that Damascus had sent an approval letter that would permit them to enter the country from Amman, Jordan today.
However, when the trio arrived in Amman, they were told there was a problem with the application. They met with Eyad Alarfi, assistant to the consul general in Amman, who could provide no information about what was holding up the visa. Later, Alarfi said approval for visas were granted for Batchelor and Mason, but not for Klein.
By telephone, Klein spoke to an official from the Ministry of Information in Damascus who declined to provide his name. At first he refused to suggest why Klein had been singled out and prevented from entering the country. Later, however, he asked: "What religion are you?" Klein said he refused to answer. "You know what religion you are," the official said.
Mason, who made the initial arrangements for visas with Syrian media representative al-Arsan, said a red flag was immediately raised when Klein's name was mentioned. He reportedly told her it would be better if Klein did not go. She asked if it was because he is Jewish. Al-Arsan replied: "Yes, it is."
Batchelor and Mason decided to leave the Syrian embassy without their visas.
Batchelor is staying in Amman and broadcasting from the Grand Hyatt Hotel, one of three Jordan hotels hit by al-Qaeda bombing attacks last month. Batchelor said he would dedicate the program tonight to the story of Syria's blatant racism.
"It seems like it's 1938 and Czechoslovakia all over again," said Batchelor. "Aaron told me to go on to Syria and broadcast. But I told him that if I was to leave him behind, the enemy has won a victory. What we represent to the people of Jordan and Syria is that we don't sepparate people on the basis of race, color or creed."
Later, another official in the Syrian embassy told Klein he didn't think he was being singled out because he's Jewish, but rather because he is a Jerusalem-based correspondent. However, Klein pointed out that other non-Jewish Jerusalem-based correspondents, including Fox News Channel's Jennifer Griffin, have recently been granted visas by Syria.
Now, it will be interesting to see if one of those organizations like "Reporters Without Borders," is going to raise a stink over this overt act of racism against an American journalist. Yeah, maybe when hell freezes over. But, probably what's the most interesting aspect of this whole sordid tale is that the Syrian government is essentially a secular one run by the Syrian Baath Party, which makes it ideologically very similar to Iraq under Saddam Hussein, rather than to fundamentalist Islamic regimes like Iran or Saudi Arabia. But, apparently, when it comes to the subject of Jews...it's a distinction without a difference.