NPR’s Diane Rehm Accuses Bernie Sanders of Having Dual Israeli-American Citizenship

Diane Rehm has a list

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NPR host Diane Rehm declared during an interview with Sen. Bernie Sanders (I., Vt.) that he had dual Israeli-American citizenship Wednesday before Sanders set her straight, adding he was “offended” by the comment.

Sanders, who is Jewish, is pursuing the Democratic presidential nomination.

“Senator, you have dual citizenship with Israel,” she said.

“Well, no, I do not have dual citizenship with Israel,” Sanders replied. “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 apologized, but said she had seen a “list” that indicated Sanders was, and then she asked Sanders whether he knew if there were members of Congress who had dual citizenship themselves.

“I honestly don’t know, but I have read that on the Internet,” Sanders said. “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.”

Full exchange via Jewish Journal:

Diane Rehm: Senator, you have dual citizenship with Israel.

Bernie Sanders: 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: I understand from a list we have gotten that you were on that list. Forgive me if that is—

Sanders: That’s some of the nonsense that goes on in the Internet. But that is absolutely not true.

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

Sanders: 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.”

Rehm’s biography page notes she was named Arab American of the Year in 2013 by ACCESS “in celebration of her rich Arab heritage.”

Rehm gave a statement to Jewish Journal this afternoon about the incident, saying she was sorry for making a mistake but “glad to play a role in putting this rumor to rest.” She also said she’d read about his supposed dual citizenship in a Facebook comment.

UPDATE (4:09 p.m.): This article has been updated to reflect Rehm’s statement.

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