U.S. refuses to grant visa to Israeli MK due to his membership in ´terror group´ (HAŽARETZ NEWS) By Jonathan Lis 02/24/12)
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The U.S. government refused to grant a visa to National Union MK
Michael Ben Ari, on the basis of his membership in a "terror
Ben Ari recently submitted a request to the U.S. consulate for a
visa, so he could take part in two conferences held in the United
States this week, one aimed at encouraging aliyah to Israel.
In response, however, he was told that he cannot be granted the visa
based on a clause that allows the U.S. State Department to prohibit
the entrance of people who were involved in terror activities or were
members of a terror organization in a foreign country. Ben Ari
believes that the U.S. government is referring to his membership in
the Kach movement, a far-right political movement that is considered
a terror organization in Israel, Canada, the European Union, and the
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Knesset Speaker Reuven Rivlin expresses anger over the decision to
prohibit a Knesset member from entering the U.S.
In a letter addressed to the U.S. ambassador in Israel, Daniel
Shapiro, Rivlin wrote, "I would like to express my protest against
the decision and request that it be reconsidered."
"Mr. Ben Ari is a Knesset member who represents the National Union
party, an entirely legitimate party in the Israeli parliament. As a
public official in Israel, a close ally of the U.S., he cannot be
recognized as a member of a terror group or be prohibited from
visiting the U.S.," Rivlin wrote.
Ben Ari said in response to the decision, "The U.S. government, who
receives with open arms [Iranian President Mahmoud] Ahmadinejad, who
calls for the destruction of Israel, [Palestinian President Mahmoud]
Abbas, who planned the murder of children in Jerusalem, and [Israeli
Arab MK] Ahmed Tibi, who enthusiastically encourages shahids, chose
to bar me from meeting with Jewish communites in the U.S. and to
encourage aliyah to Israel, with claims that I am a terrorist. Now it
is clear that the American blindness that cannot differentiate who is
a terrorist threatening world peace, is what brought about the
horrible terror attacks of September 11." (© Copyright 2012 Ha´aretz
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