Bernie Sanders aide walks back Jewish dual-loyalty Facebook comment

A Sanders aide defended Rep. Ilhan Omar's post claiming American Jews have a dual-loyalty to Israel. When asked to clarify, Belen Sisa called her comments "insensitive."

By MARCY OSTER/JTA
March 14, 2019 06:57
1 minute read.
Belen Sisa

Belen Sisa speaking at a "Come Together and Fight Back" rally with U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders and Chairman Tom Perez hosted by the Democratic National Committee at the Mesa Amphitheater in Mesa, Arizona, April 21, 2017. (photo credit: GAGE SKIDMORE / WIKIMEDIA COMMONS)

 
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A campaign aide to Sen. Bernie Sanders apologized for a Facebook post in which she suggested that American Jews have a dual loyalty to Israel.

Politico reported that Belen Sisa made the comment as part of a discussion in a Facebook thread in which she said that she supports Rep. Ilhan Omar in the Minnesota Democrat questioning “the political influence in this country that says it is OK to push for allegiance to a foreign country.”
Sisa, the national deputy press secretary for Sanders’ 2020 presidential campaign, deleted the post after Politico contacted her about it, according to the report.


“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 told 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.”


She wrote in the thread, according to Politico: “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 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.”

Sisa was born in Argentina and grew up in Arizona the daughter of undocumented immigrant parents who overstayed their visa. She was part of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, according to a 2017 article in AZ Central.

 

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