(March 13, 2019 / JNS) An aide working for Sen. Bernie Sanders’s (I-Vt.) 2020 presidential campaign has apologized for asking whether the “American-Jewish community has a dual allegiance to the State of Israel,” a remark that reflects a longtime anti-Semitic trope.
“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,” Belén Sisa, Sanders’s national deputy press secretary, told Politico in response to posting the question in a Facebook thread.
The thread stated, “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,” referring to Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.), who blamed critics earlier this month for “the political influence in this country that says it is OK to push for allegiance to a foreign country.”
Sisa said in her apology, “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.”
Sisa is not the only Sanders presidential campaign aide with an anti-Israel record.
Campaign manager Faiz Shakir and foreign-policy adviser Matthew Duss have been accused of furthering anti-Semitic conspiracy theories during their tenure at the left-wing think-tank Center for American Progress.