Rep. Ted Lieu (D-CA) espoused an age-old anti-Semitic canard on Thursday after he accused the U.S. Ambassador to Israel on Thursday of having dual loyalty to America and the Jewish state.
“Dear [U.S. Ambassador]: You are an American. Your allegiance should be to America, not to a foreign power,” Lieu tweeted. “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’s remarks were in response to a statement Ambassador David Friedman issued in support of Israel’s decision to block two anti-Israel Congresswomen from visiting the country.
The Israeli government revealed a day earlier that it would deny entry to progressive Reps. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) and Rashida Tlaib (D-MN) over their advocacy of the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement, which seeks to punish Israel by politically and economically starving the country.
The Israeli Knesset passed an anti-BDS law in 2017 that enables the government to block foreign activists from gaining entry to the country.
Friedman acknowledged that the BDS movement is “economic warfare designed to delegitimize and ultimately destroy the Jewish State” and therefore respects the country’s decision to deny the progressive duo entry into the country.
Please read my attached statement with regard to the decision of the Government of Israel to deny entry to BDS activists, Congresswomen Ilhan Omar and Rashida Tlaib, in accordance with its national laws. pic.twitter.com/q9M2N1uRkr
— David M. Friedman (@USAmbIsrael) August 15, 2019
“Like the United States, Israel is a nation of laws,” Friedman wrote. “We support Israel’s application of its laws in this case.”
The California congressman echoed his accusation while appearing on “The Situation Room,” where he called on Friedman to step down from his position.
“It is outrageous that the U.S. government is working against having an American go visit a relative in Israel,” Lieu told CNN’s Wolf Blitzer. “Ambassador Friedman, the U.S. ambassador to Israel, I think he should resign because he doesn’t understand that his allegiance is to America, not to a foreign power.”
After facing widespread blowback for accusing the ambassador of dual loyalty, Lieu deleted his original post.
“It has been brought to my attention that my prior tweet to [the U.S. Ambassador] raises dual loyalty allegations that have historically caused harm to the Jewish community,” Lieu said in response. “That is a legitimate concern. I am therefore deleting the tweet.”
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
Lieu, however, refrained from deleting a host of other tweets that he sent to various non-Jewish Republicans where he made similar accusations.
“Hey Rep. Mo Brooks: A reminder that you are an American Member of Congress. Your allegiance should be to America,” Lieu wrote to the Alabama congressman. “We are Americans first. You should be defending the right of Americans to travel to other countries. Get it?”
“Hey [Rep.] Steve Scalise: You are an American Member of Congress. Your allegiance should be to America, not to a foreign government,” he wrote in a separate tweet. “You should be defending the right of Americans to travel to other countries. If you don’t understand that, you should find another line of work.”
Lieu also thanked Rep. Justin Amash (R-MI) for calling on Israel to “stand up to President Trump” and allow both Omar and Tlaib to visit the country.
Thank you @justinamash for understanding that, as an American Member of Congress, your loyalty is to America, not to a foreign government. Thank you for defending the right of Americans, even though they disagree with you politically, to travel to other countries. https://t.co/xEnG2vgFhs
— Ted Lieu (@tedlieu) August 15, 2019
While the California congressman deleted his tweet to the Ambassador, he has yet to apologize for the accusation.