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Thursday, October 27, 2016

Presidential candidate Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT) had a very awkward moment with NPR host Diane Rehm on Wednesday — when she claimed on the air that he had dual citizenship with both the United States and Israel.

The exchange was first highlighted by Jewish Journal.

“Senator, you have dual citizenship with Israel,” Rehm said, in an apparent segue to a discussion of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

“Well, no., I do not have dual citizenship with Israel,” Sanders said, cutting her off. “I’m an American. I don’t know where that question came from. I am an American citizen, and I have visited Israel on a couple of occasions. No, I’m an American citizen, period.”

Rehm replied: “I understand from a list we have gotten — that you were on that list.”

“No,” Sanders said, calling it “some of the nonsense that goes on in the Internet,” and “absolutely not true.”

“Interesting,” Rehm said. “Are there members of Congress who do have dual citizenship or is that part of the fable?”

“I honestly don’t know, but I have read that on the Internet. You know, my dad came to this country from Poland at the age of 17 without a nickel in his pocket. He loved this country,” Sanders said. “I am — you know, I got offended a little bit by that comment, and I know it’s been on the Internet. I am obviously an American citizen and I do not have any dual citizenship.”

Audio clip via The Washington Free Beacon.

Update: Rehm has apologized, posting the following statement on her show’s Facebook page — attributing the apparent rumor about Sanders to a comment on Facebook:

A message from Diane: “On today’s show, I made a mistake. Rather than asking Senator and Presidential Candidate Bernie Sanders whether he had dual U.S./Israeli citizenship, as I had read in a comment on Facebook, I stated it as fact.

He corrected me, saying he did not know where the question came from. I apologized immediately.

I want to apologize as well to all our listeners for having made an erroneous statement. I am sorry for the mistake. However, I am glad to play a role in putting this rumor to rest.”

Photo: Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT), via

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    Wow! Another non Faux News cable personality who apologizes after making a mistake on air. I wonder when one of them has the honor to admit that they lied?

    • Sand_Cat

      Well, since Faux is unlikely to admit to anything, not much to discuss there.

  • Darsan54

    A little strange that Diane Rehm would make such a mistake. When I heard it yesterday, I was a bit taken aback because her tone was accusing. Like she had caught Sanders at something. She was poorly served by her producers and should have been more on her game.

  • Dominick Vila

    I have enjoyed the Diane Rehm radio broadcast on NPR for years, and I have enjoyed it very much, largely because of the impartiality and respect that the host demonstrates towards her hosts. This incident was, clearly, a mistake by a person whose focus is to find the truth by asking provocative and relevant questions, instead of statements of fact. Having said that, I think Sen. Sanders should have limited his answer to an unambiguous statement, such as I don’t have dual citizenship, instead of asserting that he is an American, which Americans with dual citizenship, or eligibility to such status, can claim. Diane made a mistake, and Sen. Sanders muddied the waters unnecessarily.

  • Erica

    I thought npr was the place for real unbiased journalism?

    • springerj

      What other news outlet would have published an apology so quickly?

  • CPAinNewYork

    Dual citizenship is an abomination. Citizenship means loyalty and no one can be loyal to more than one country.

    If any American does not renounce dual citizenship, even if it’s awarded by a foreign government without application, the American’s citizenship should be revoked.

    • MichelleRose3

      Tell that to Ted Cruz. He holds dual Canadian and American citizenship through his parents. He claims to be an American–and he is, much to my dismay–but he was still born in Canada, unlike our President, who was born in Hawaii–say Kenya and I’ll call ya a liar, just like all the other liars.

      The idiots on the far right think if they can just dream up a lie so outrageous, it might be true. They wish it was true. They hope it’s true. And if it’s not true, they’ll scream about their “right” to introduce doubt by telling more lies.

      Telling more lies on top of lies isn’t going to make it true. It just makes the liar look really stupid. But stupid people don’t care about looking stupid because, well, they’re stupid.

  • randyjet

    Well what else can you expect from a KRAUT?

    • Allan Richardson

      Don’t be so hard on Diane Rehm. She apologized for her mistake, and brought up the fact that so many “lists” are out there, like the “list of Communists in the State Department” that Joe McCarthy claimed to have in the 1950s.

      In general, the “liberal media” is a myth, but in this case, a media person has ADMITTED MAKING A MISTAKE AND APOLOGIZED PUBLICLY. And by TODAY’S definition of “conservative,” that automatically makes her a “liberal.”

      As for dual Israeli citizenship, Israel has had a law ever since its founding, that once a Jew (defined as either having 1/64 Jewish ancestry, the same fraction the Nazis used to classify Jews for extermination, or being converted, or descended from a convert, who was converted by a non-Reform rabbi) from any country LANDS IN ISRAEL, he or she is granted the OPTION of claiming citizenship in Israel immediately. But it is only an OPTION; many Americans have visited Israel, many of them politicians, many of those politicians Jewish, and returned to the United States WITHOUT exercising that option, so they are still American citizens.

      I suspect that “list” is a list of all Jewish-American political leaders who have ever visited Israel, so claiming them all to be “dual citizens” is totally bogus.

  • Phyllis Kosen

    “Interesting,” Rehm said. “Are there members of Congress who do have dual citizenship or is that part of the fable?” Another unwarranted question. And she didn’t apologize for this fishing expedition—attempting to have Bernie name names of those in Congress who are dual citizens of Israel.
    I’ve never seen credible evidence that any member of Congress holds dual Israeli/US citizenship. Just random lists of names on far, far-right and conspiratory websites. You would think that if any member of Congress was a dual Israeli-US citizen, we’d have the evidence by now.

  • ddearborn


    Bernie Sanders may not physically hold an Israeli passport but a case can be made that he considers himself one. Bernie managed to evade the draft in the mid 60’s. And yet after college instead of serving America in some capacity he chose to serve by returning to Israel and working on a Kibbutz. (or did he go to Israel to evade the draft?)Remember that he would have lost his US citizenship by joining the IDF in those days. Joining a Kibbutz in the 60’s would have been an ideal alternative to military service to show his patriotism and loyalty to Israel.

    So when given the chance Bernie refused to serve America and went to serve Israel instead. Coupled with his undying support of Israel no matter what they do since then, I think the question of whether he physically holds an Israeli passport is immaterial. Bernie Sanders has demonstrated time and again that he cannot be trusted to put the needs of America and Americans ahead of Israel.