Diane Rehm Explains Why She Asked Bernie Sanders Bizarre Israel Question

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June 11, 2015 11:08 a.m.

During her show on Thursday, NPR’s Diane Rehm addressed her questions to Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) the day before, which incorrectly stated that the Democratic presidential candidate has “dual citizenship with Israel.”

“Before we end this hour I want to make a correction,” she said with a minute left to go.

“On yesterday’s show, I raised the issue of dual citizenship with senator and presidential candidate Bernie Sanders,” she said. “This is an issue that’s come up over the years in American politics.”

“One of our listeners suggested via Facebook that I ask Sen. Sanders about Internet speculation that he has dual citizenship with Israel,” she went on, “but instead of asking it as a question I stated it as fact, and that was wrong.”

She noted that Sanders immediately corrected her.

“I should’ve explained to him, and to you, why I felt this was a relevant question and something he might like to address,” she said.

“I do apologize to Sen. Sanders, and to you, for having made an erroneous satement,” Rehm said. “However, I am glad to play a role in putting this rumor to rest.”

On Wednesday, Rehm repeatedly asked Sanders whether he or other lawmakers were dual citizens. She did not mention anything about “Internet speculation.”

“Senator, you have dual citizenship with Israel,” Rehm said during the interview on her nationally broadcast show on the station WAMU.

“Well, no I do not have dual citizenship with Israel,” Sanders, who is Jewish, interjected. “I’m an American. I don’t know where that question came from.”

Sanders said later in the interview that he was “offended” by “that comment.”

Rehm released a statement a few hours after the interview saying she made a “mistake” in citing a “Facebook comment” that had alleged Sanders held dual citizenship.

“I want to apologize as well to all our listeners for having made an erroneous statement. I am sorry for the mistake,” she said.

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