Radio host Diane Rehm apparently used unverified information retrieved from the internet to accuse Senator Bernie Sanders of dual citizenship with Israel.
In an exchange which took place on The Diane Rehm Show, the host stated, “Senator, you have dual citizenship with Israel.”
Sanders, who is also running for President, replied, “Well, no I do not have dual citizenship with Israel. 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 continued, “I understand from a list we have gotten that you were on that list.”
Sanders then referred to the list as “…some of the nonsense that goes on in the internet,” and “… that is absolutely not true.”
Rehm asked if other members of congress held dual citizenship, to which Sanders responded, “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. 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.”
You can hear the exchange below.
Jared Sichel of The Jewish Journal notes that Sanders name appears on unsourced lists which allegedly shows Senators and Representatives who have dual U.S. and Israel citizenships. He refers to the list as “a total fabrication.”
“If this is in fact the ‘list’ that Rehm was referring to, it’s a remarkable feat of shoddy and lazy journalism,” Sichel wrote.
A Sanders spokesperson told Politico that the question had never been raised, and – despite the failure in fact checking – noted that “Diane Rehm is an excellent radio host.”
The following day, Rehm addressed the controversy, stating, “On yesterday’s show, I raised the issue of dual citizenship with senator and presidential candidate Bernie Sanders. This is an issue that’s come up over the years in American politics. One of our listeners suggested via Facebook that I ask Sen. Sanders about Internet speculation that he has dual citizenship with Israel but instead of asking it as a question I stated it as fact, and that was wrong.”
“I do apologize to Sen. Sanders, and to you, for having made an erroneous satement,” Rehm continued, “however, I am glad to play a role in putting this rumor to rest.”