The spokeswoman for Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders (VT) apologized and deleted a Facebook post about American Jews’ “dual allegiance” after Politico contacted her about the comment, which has been criticized as anti-Semitic.
“In a conversation on Facebook, I used some language that I see now was insensitive. Issues of allegiance and loyalty to one’s country come with painful history,” Sanders’ campaign national deputy press secretary Belén Sisa told Politico. “At a time when so many communities in our country feel under attack by the president and his allies, I absolutely recognize that we need to address these issues with greater care and sensitivity to their historical resonance, and I’m committed to doing that in the future.”
In a Facebook post discussing Sanders’ support for Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN), who has been criticized by Democrats and Republicans alike in recent weeks over similar remarks interpreted as anti-Semitic, Sisa questioned whether the U.S. government and American Jews have “a dual allegiance to the state of Israel?”
“I’m asking not to rule out the history of this issue, but in the context in which this was said by Ilhan,” she reportedly said during a Facebook thread discussing the violent history of the “dual allegiance” trope against Jewish people.
Sanders has come to Omar’s defense amid the criticism, and suggested that a resolution condemning hateful speech that passed the House last week was meant to target Omar as a way of “stifling that debate” over support for Palestine and legitimate criticism of Israel.
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