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Is Israel’s crackdown on free speech coming here?

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Mohammed Omer, the Gaza journalist who was beaten by Israeli forces at immigration after he accepted a prize for his reporting in Europe last year, is apparently now being blocked from doing a speaking gig in Chicago, with Ali Abunimah. His support group has called for the U.S. to let him in and reports:

The U.S. consulate has held award-winning Palestinian Journalist Mohammed Omer’s visa application for an extended period of time, effectively canceling his planned U.S. speaking tour without the explanation that a denial would require…

Omer was to visit Houston, Santa Fe, and Chicago, where local publisher Haymarket Books was to host his Newberry Library event, “Reflections on Life and War in Gaza,” alongside a broad set of interfaith religious, community, and political organizations….

Rather than cancel the meeting, organizers are calling on supporters to write letters and emails calling for the U.S. consulate’s approval of Omer’s visa. They are also proceeding with the event as planned, via live satellite or skype, if necessary. A petition currently underway will also be announced soon.

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