(Tea Party PAC) – Belén Sisa, Bernie Sanders’ DACA recipient 2020 press secretary, has apologized for questioning whether American Jews have “dual allegiance” to Israel, Politico reported on Tuesday.
Sisa reportedly posed the question on Facebook on Sunday in the context of a larger discussion about her support for Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) who suggested that pro-Israel groups line the pockets of pro-Israel politicians and that pro-Israel Americans hold “dual loyalties.
Sisa, unlike Omar, had the decency to actually appropriately apologize for the remarks.
“In a conversation on Facebook, I used some language that I see now was insensitive. Issues of allegiance and loyalty to one’s country come with painful history,” Sisa said in a statement to Politico. “At a time when so many communities in our country feel under attack by the president and his allies, I absolutely recognize that we need to address these issues with greater care and sensitivity to their historical resonance, and I’m committed to doing that in the future.”
Above: Belén Sisa, Bernie Sanders
As we have reported, Sisa is a self-described “undocumented” immigrant who was brought to the US illegally from Argentina when she was six years old. Her DACA protection from deportation expires next year.
Some Jewish leaders, still upset with Omar’s anti semitic comments, expressed anger at Sisa’s remarks as well “I would totally disagree with that. It’s ridiculous. … She’s wrong,” said Jewish Florida Democrat Rep. Lois Frankel. “That’s just a terrible statement to make,” Frankel continued, adding Sisa’s comments is one of several reasons why “Bernie Sanders is not my candidate.”
A Jew from Sisa’s home state of Arizona pointed out the history of the “dual allegiance” slur in the Facebook thread — from the hangings of Jews in ancient Persia to the 1492 purge of Jews in Spain to Nazi Germany.
Sisa’s response: “This is a serious question: do you not think that the American government and American Jewish community has a dual allegiance to the state of Israel? I’m asking not to rule out the history of this issue, but in the context in which this was said by Ilhan.”
Another person on her Facebook then asked: “do you think Bernie Sanders has dual loyalty?” Sisa replied: “I think I would probably have to ask him? But his comments make me believe otherwise as he has been very blunt on where he stands.” She then shared links to articles on Sanders’ recent reaction to Omar’s comments.
Sisa deleted the Facebook post in question on Tuesday, claiming that she’d only raised the issue of dual loyalty because she views it as an “injustice” that is faced by immigrant communities in the US currently.
“I deleted my previous question, because I don’t think it truly represents the question I was asking or what I was meaning to say,” she wrote. “I think the injustice of questioning someone’s loyalty because of their culture or where they come from is something that is happening through comments being made about Mexican immigrants and a lot of the immigrant community now.”
Of all the (many, many) Democratic candidates for president, Sanders, who is Jewish, has vocalized the most support for Omar as of late. In a statement on Omar’s remarks, Sanders said that no one should “equate anti-Semitism with legitimate criticism of the right-wing, Netanyahu government in Israel.”
“Rather, we must develop an even-handed Middle East policy which brings Israelis and Palestinians together for a lasting peace,” he continued. “What I fear is going on in the House now is an effort to target Congresswoman Omar as a way of stifling that debate. That’s wrong.”
Last week, the House passed a resolution condemning bigotry in general in what was supposed to be a response to Omar’s comments, but ended up being so watered down that it didn’t even mention Omar. Many Republican lawmakers voted against the measure.