WASHINGTON (JTA) — The White House said it was “deeply disappointed” that Saudi Arabia denied a visa to a Jewish American reporter working for The Jerusalem Post.
Michael Wilner, the Israeli newspaper’s Washington bureau chief, planned to cover President Obama’s visit to Saudi Arabia this week.
“We are deeply disappointed that this credible journalist was denied a visa,” Bernadette Meehan, the spokeswoman for the National Security Council, told JTA in an email. “We will continue to register our serious concerns about this unfortunate decision.”
Saudi Arabia and Israel do not have relations, but Wilner is a U.S. citizen who has never lived in Israel.
Saudi Arabia previously has granted visas to journalists working for Israeli or Jewish news outlets.
The White House Correspondents Association called the visa denial “outrageous.”
“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,” it said in a statement.