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Thursday, March 27, 2014

More excuses: IDF officers, young Israelis routinely denied visas to the US

Over the past three weeks, we've heard several excuses for the denial of visas to the United States for Israelis. We've been told that visas were denied in order to remove Israel from the 'white list' of countries whose citizens qualify for longer-term visas. We've been told that the United States has been systematically denying visas to Shin Bet (General Security Service) and Mossad agents, to representatives of the IDF and to executives of companies in Israel's defense industry, and it was implied that was out of a fear of competition in the defense industry. And we've been told that the denial of visas was a reprisal for what's seen as discriminatory treatment of Arab-Americans by Israel.

And now, there are two new excuses. It's claimed that the United States is trying to weed out IDF officers who have committed 'human rights' violations in Judea and Samaria (the number of which can likely be counted on the fingers of one hand), and that the United States is systematically denying visas to young, post-army Israelis whom it deems likely to sell Ahava cosmetics in shopping malls (because it's Ahava which comes from Judea and Samaria or because they're violating the terms of their visas by working in the US?).
[C]ongressional sources told Globes that in recent months, several lawmakers have been looking into information about alleged efforts to screen IDF officers and other security personnel who may have contributed to “violating the human rights of Palestinian Arabs.”

Maariv reported earlier this month that hundreds of Israelis with connections to the security establishment were denied visas into the US in the past year – or were given a single entry visa for three months, as opposed to the multiple entry visas for periods of up to 10 years that were usually given Israelis until now.
According to ultra-leftist site Mondoweiss, “the most compelling explanation” for this development “is that the State Department has begun implementing recommendations contained in a 2011 Inspector General report examining operations at the US embassy in Tel Aviv. A crucial finding of the Inspector General’s report was the need for the State Department to provide the U.S. embassy with 'updated guidance on vetting Israeli military personnel under the Leahy Amendment.'”
The Leahy Amendment requires the US to withhold assistance from foreign military units or officials who are known to be involved in human rights violations.
Mondoweiss added that in response to a request for information about the denial of visas to Israeli military officials, a State Department spokesperson said visa requests were “adjudicated individually” and in accordance with the law, noting, “When any individual makes a U.S. visa application anywhere in the world, a consular officer reviews the facts of the case and makes a determination of eligibility based on US Law.”
Senator Chuck Schumer (D-NY) has said that there is a sharp increase in the number of young Israelis who have been denied visas by the US Embassy in Tel Aviv. In a March 6 letter ot Secretary of State John Kerry, Schumer said that the reason for the change in policy was the concern that the youths would work illegally in the US

“After receiving inquiries from several constituents, my staff contacted your legislative affairs staff and learned that our consulates apparently have a policy to presumptively deny all tourist visa applications for young Israeli nationals who wish to visit the United States during the period in between the completion of their military service and the resumption of their university education,” Schumer wrote.
“When my staff asked your staff why this arbitrary policy toward Israel was in place, we were informed that the State Department is concerned that these young Israeli nationals were going to violate the terms of their visas by, for example, selling Dead Sea cosmetics at shopping malls across the United States.”

You can't make this stuff up.... But something tells me that all these concerns will go away once a Republican retakes the White House.

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At 12:46 AM, Blogger Charles said...

You are correct, or course. Obama is despicable.

At 8:27 AM, Blogger Shy Guy said...

It's not just Obama. It's the quasi-independent State Department. Much like the British Foreign Office and France's Quai d'Orsay.


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