Rep. Ted Lieu Accuses US Ambassador to Israel, Republicans of Having Dual Loyalty to Israel

August 16, 2019 Updated: August 16, 2019

Rep. Ted Lieu (D-Calif.) claimed that the U.S. Ambassador to Israel David Friedman, an American Jew, had dual loyalties to Israel and the United States, also accusing Reps. Steve Scalise (R-La.) and Mo Brooks (R-Ala.).

Friedman said that he supports Israel banning anti-Israel Reps. Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.) and Rashida Tlaib (D-Mich.) from visiting the country over their support for the Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions movement, which seeks to cut off Israel’s economy.

The so-called BDS movement “is no less than economic warfare designed to delegitimize and ultimately destroy the Jewish State,” Friedman wrote in a statement. “Israel properly has enacted laws to bar entry of BDS activists under the circumstances present here, and it has every right to protect its borders against those activists in the same manner as it would bar entrants with more conventional weapons.”

“Like the United States, Israel is a nation of laws. We support Israel’s application of its laws in this case,” he added.

Lieu appeared on CNN on Aug. 15 after the ban was announced, telling the host: “It is outrageous that the U.S. government is working against having an American go visit a relative in Israel.”

“Ambassador Friedman, the U.S. ambassador to Israel, actually I think he should resign, because he doesn’t seem to understand that his allegiance is to America, not to a foreign power. He should be defending the rights of Americans to travel to other countries and to visit their relatives,” he added.

Lieu also posted a tweet smearing Friedman over alleged dual loyalty.

Lieu wrote later on the social media platform that “it has been brought to my attention” that his tweet “raises dual loyalty allegations that have historically caused harm to the Jewish community.”

“That is a legitimate concern. I am therefore deleting the tweet,” he wrote. He did not apologize and a retweet of a CNN video highlighting his appearance remained on his Twitter page.

Friedman took to Twitter to react to the smear: “Congress recently passed a resolution condemning BDS. Last night I was condemned by a US Congressman for ‘dual loyalty’—classic anti-Semitic charge—simply because I followed US policy by supporting Israel’s right to oppose BDS. My head is spinning from the hypocrisy.”

Lieu also accused Scalise and Brooks of having dual loyalty.

During a speech at the Illinois State Fair, Scalise defended Israel’s barring Omar and Tlaib, and wrote in a statement, “Just like we expect people to respect our laws, Israeli law allows the government to block the entry of those who advocate for these destructive BDS policies, and we should respect their laws as well.”

Brooks took to Twitter, writing: “Like many nations, Israel bars enemies from entering Israel. How can anyone disagree with that? Israel bans Reps. Ilhan Omar and Rashida Tlaib because they hate, want to hurt, maybe even destroy, Israel. I respect & support Israel’s sovereignty & right to exist.”

Lieu told Scalise, who was shot in 2017 by a man who supported Democrats, that “you are an American Member of Congress. Your allegiance should be to America, not to a foreign government.”

“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,” he added.

Lieu told Brooks: “Hey @RepMoBrooks: A reminder that you are an American Member of Congress. Your allegiance should be to America. We are Americans first. You should be defending the right of Americans to travel to other countries. Get it?”

Follow Zachary on Twitter: @zackstieber
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