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Sanders Spokeswoman Apologizes for ‘Dual Loyalty’ Comment

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March 12, 2019
Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.). Photo by Yuri Gripas/Reuters

A spokeswoman for Sen. Bernie Sanders’ (I-Vt.) presidential campaign apologized on March 12 for using the anti-Semitic “dual loyalty” trope on Facebook.

According to Politico, Belén Sisa, who was recently hired as Sanders’ national deputy press secretary, defended Rep. IlhanOmar’s  (D-Minn.) use of the “dual loyalty” comment in a March 10 Facebook thread, writing in response to a Facebook commenter: “This is a serious question: do you not think that the American government and American Jewish community has 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.”

Sisa apologized for her comment in a statement to Politico.

“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,” Sisa said. “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.”

Sanders, who is Jewish, defended Omar after she questioned the allegiance of Israel supporters, stating that people shouldn’t “equate anti-Semitism with legitimate criticism of the right-wing, Netanyahu government in Israel” and that he was worried that the House of Representatives would be “stifling that debate” if they targeted her in a resolution.

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