Diane Weber Bederman

President Obama kow tows to Saudi Arabia

President Obama, the first black President of the United States, has cancelled his trip to Saudi Arabia.

Saudi Arabia refused travel documents for two members of The White House press corps. One, black and the other openly gay. The slap in the face to the concept of freedom of the press was extraordinary. Can you imagine the uproar, a black president to be welcomed, but a black member of the press corps denied. And then to discriminate against a gay reporter? This is the press corps of the President, the leader of the free world.

Susan Rice, National Security Advisor and Tony Blinken, assistant to the president, spoke to Adel bin Ahmed Al-Jubei, Saudi Arabia’s ambassador to the U.S., explaining this was not possible. The President could not go to Saudi Arabia to discuss these serious issues when members in good standing of the White House Press Corps were refused admittance. And to deny a black reporter? The USA prides itself on freedom of the press, freedom of speech and laws that prevent discrimination based on race, colour, creed, nationality, sexual orientation or religion.

So it came as no surprise that the President cancelled his trip. One must draw a line in the sand.

No. Wait. April Fool’s came early.

Neither a black reporter nor a gay reporter were refused permission to travel to Saudi Arabia. The President’s trip was locked in.

According to Politico writer, Hadas Gold, it was “A Jerusalem Post reporter planning to cover President Obama’s trip to Saudi Arabia this week has been denied a visa to the country…”

Michael Wilner, who holds citizenship in one country, and one country only, the United States, is the White House correspondent for the Jerusalem Post which is based in Israel. As part of the White House press corps, he expected to go with Obama, this past Friday to meet with King Abdullah in Saudi Arabia. The two leaders planned to discuss Gulf security, Syria, the Middle East peace and Iran.

Attempts were made “at the highest levels,” as high as Susan Rice, National Security Advisor and Tony Blinken, assistant to the president, to change the mind of Adel bin Ahmed Al-Jubei, Saudi Arabia’s ambassador to the U.S. The request was refused. As far as we can tell, the President was not involved in these negotiations.

Obama has told Israel to make concessions just to prove Israel’s sincerity regarding talking about peace These concessions include: the fourth release of terrorists, murderers of Jewish people, back to a heart-warming reception by the Palestinians, where each of these “martyrs” will receive thousands of dollars from Abbas ( via our tax dollars sent to the UN and on to UNRWA) for their “bravery and incarceration;” and giving up on being accepted a priori as a Jewish state as this seems to be a stumbling block for peace.

The Arab countries have just stated their “absolute and categorical refusal to recognize Israel as a Jewish state.” This doesn’t seem to concern this President- a man who says he loves Israel and has her back. But not enough to demand that an American citizen, a White House correspondent, be present for the meetings, the press conferences, the discussions that affect Israel, existentially, and are taking place in the country that exported the vast majority of 9/11 terrorists.

What message does that send to the Arab world about this President and his defense of Israel in the midst of these “peace talks”?

It seems there is no problem for a black President living in the White House to agree to discriminate against a Jew.

What does that say about the USA?

About the Author
Diane Weber Bederman is a multi-faith, hospital trained chaplain who lives in Ontario, Canada, just outside Toronto; She has a background in science and the humanities and writes about religion in the public square and mental illness on her blog: The Middle Ground:The Agora of the 21st Century. She is a regular contributor to Convivium: Faith in our Community. "