Rep. Ted Lieu (D., Calif.) accused United States Ambassador to Israel David Friedman of having a foreign allegiance in a tweet Thursday and shortly repeated the claim on CNN.
"His allegiance, again, is to America, not to a foreign power," Lieu said in an interview with CNN's Wolf Blitzer.
In his tweet, Lieu suggested Friedman, who is an Orthodox Jew, was expressing loyalty to Israel in his support of their decision to deny entry to Reps. Rashida Tlaib (D., Mich.) and Ilhan Omar (D., Minn.).
"You are an American. 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," Lieu tweeted.
An accusation of dual loyalty is a classic anti-Semitic canard which has previously been employed by Omar. In February, she said she wanted "to talk about the political influence in this country that says it is okay for people to push for allegiance to a foreign country."
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu explained that his government denied the congresswoman's request to enter Israel because their "sole objective" was to deny the country's legitimacy.
"Only a few days ago, we received their itinerary for their visit in Israel, which revealed that they planned a visit whose sole objective is to strengthen the boycott against us and deny Israel’s legitimacy," Netanyahu explained, later adding that "the itinerary of the two Congresswomen reveals that the sole purpose of their visit is to harm Israel and increase incitement against it."
Omar and Tlaib were supposed to arrive in Jerusalem this weekend, before traveling to the West Bank.
Friedman expressed support for the Israeli government's decision, noting that the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) movement, which Omar and Tlaib support, is "no less than economic warfare designed to de-legitimize and ultimately destroy the Jewish State."
Lieu later deleted his tweet after he acknowledged the dual loyalty allegations have caused harm to the Jewish community in the past.
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
Updated: The post has been updated to include Lieu's tweet about deleting the initial tweet.