The National Jewish Democratic Council today harshly criticized WAMU host Diane Rehm for asserting on air that Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT), a candidate for the Democratic presidential nomination, holds dual citizenship with Israel. The organization demanded an apology from Rehm, noting that there was no evidence for her claim and that such implications toward American Jewish politicians have long been an anti-Semitic canard.
Greg Rosenbaum, chair of the NJDC Board of Directors, stated,
“It is appalling that in today’s age, a longtime Jewish elected official would face implications that he splits his loyalty between the United States and Israel for no reason other than his religion. This anti-Semitic canard of dual loyalty has persisted for decades, particularly about American Jews in public service. To directly ask, as Diane Rehm did, if there are members of Congress who hold dual citizenship with Israel is unbelievably offensive and completely indefensible. There are no legitimate sources that claim that Sen. Sanders holds Israeli citizenship, and if Diane Rehm was citing one of the many dark, anti-Semitic corners of the Internet as her source, we have grave doubts as to her journalistic credentials.
“Furthermore, Ms. Rehm’s subsequent statement that she is glad to have been able to put this ‘rumor’ to rest is no apology at all. In fact, she implied that had she simply asked the senator if he held Israeli citizenship rather than stating it as fact, it would have somehow been acceptable. This ‘rumor’ is one that she has helped perpetuate and advance. Ms. Rehm owes Sen. Sanders and the American Jewish community an immediate and genuine apology. There is no room in our public discourse for such baseless accusations.”