Rep. Ted Lieu has apologized and a deleted a tweet that some interpreted as perpetuating an anti-Semitic trope after he criticized U.S. Ambassador to Israel David Friedman for supporting Israel’s travel ban against Reps. Ilhan Omar and Rashida Tlaib.
“Dear @USAmbIsrael: You are an American,” Mr. Lieu, California Democrat, tweeted Thursday. “Your allegiance should be to America, not to a foreign power. You should be defending the right of Americans to travel to other countries. If you don’t understand that, then you need to resign.”
Twitter users immediately pointed out that Mr. Friedman is Jewish, and that allegations of Jews holding “dual loyalty” to Israel questions their patriotism and is considered an anti-Semitic trope.
Mr. Lieu later deleted the tweet and apologized, acknowledging that the stereotype had “caused harm” to the Jewish community.
It has been brought to my attention that my prior tweet to @USAmbIsrael raises dual loyalty allegations that have historically caused harm to the Jewish community. That is a legitimate concern. I am therefore deleting the tweet.— Ted Lieu (@tedlieu) August 16, 2019
The congressman was responding to Mr. Friedman’s statement supporting Israel’s decision to block a visit by Ms. Omar and Ms. Tlaib because of their support for the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement against the country. Israel later granted permission for Ms. Tlaib to enter the country on humanitarian grounds to visit her family in the West Bank, but the congresswoman said Friday that she would not accept the offer in protest of the country’s “oppressive” government.
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