clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Diane Rehm weirdly, and incorrectly, claims Bernie Sanders is an Israeli citizen

Bernie Sanders.
Bernie Sanders.
Brendan Smialowski / AFP / Getty
Andrew Prokop is a senior politics correspondent at Vox, covering the White House, elections, and political scandals and investigations. He’s worked at Vox since the site’s launch in 2014, and before that, he worked as a research assistant at the New Yorker’s Washington, DC, bureau.

Senator and presidential candidate Bernie Sanders appeared on WAMU's Diane Rehm Show, broadcast by NPR-affiliated stations on Wednesday — and in a bizarre exchange, the host incorrectly asserted that Sanders had dual citizenship with Israel, before Sanders corrected her. The Jewish Journal's Jared Sichel flagged the exchange, and you can listen to it 24 minutes into the broadcast here.

REHM: Senator, you have dual citizenship with Israel.

SANDERS: No, I do not have dual citizenship with Israel, I'm an American — don't know where that question came from. I'm an American citizen. 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 —

SANDERS: No, 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.

Sanders has, in the past, faced criticism from some of his further-left constituents for being supportive of Israel. Rehm later released a statement saying she had read Sanders was a dual citizen "in a comment on Facebook," and intended to ask him whether it was true, but mistakenly ended up stating it as a fact. Politico's Hadas Gold has posted her full statement and apology.

Sign up for the newsletter Today, Explained

Understand the world with a daily explainer plus the most compelling stories of the day.