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June 10, 2015

NPR's Diane Rehm 'Likes' Facebook Neo-Nazi Claim

Now we know where National Public Radio’s The Diane Rehm Show, or the host herself, gets research from—a neo-Nazi website.

In an interview with U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) on June 10, 2015 the radio show host suddenly asserted that Sanders held dual U.S.-Israeli citizenship.

Diane Rehm: Senator, you have dual citizenship with Israel.

Bernie Sanders: Well, no I do not have dual citizenship with Israel. I'm an American. I don't know where that question came from. I am an American citizen, and 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.

Sanders: No.

Although Sanders rebutted the claim—calling it “nonsense that goes on in the Internet”—Rehm persisted with an insinuation smacking of the classic antisemitic dual loyalty canard.

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 correctly noted that one can read it “on the Internet.” But where exactly?

As CAMERA documented, C-SPAN’s Washington Journal program on May 22 featured an anti-Israeli, anti-Jewish caller making the same claim, along with two other phone-ins from the lunatic fringe essentially agreeing with her. This is typical for C-SPAN's Journal. But one caller traced this particular lunacy, as repeated June 10 by Rehm, to its source.

“Nancy from Toledo” claimed “Bernie Sanders has dual citizenship with Israel. What is wrong with that picture? What is wrong with that picture? Why are there so many people in Congress and the Senate that have dual citizenship? Why is [Sic.] there so many people in our government that has [Sic.] dual citizenship with Israel?”

Nancy also claimed the Sept. 11, 2001 al-Qaeda terrorists attacks on New York City’s World Trade Center and The Pentagon in Washington, D.C. were part of a Jewish conspiracy. She noted that she “read that online. I think Counterpunch [a left-wing Web site] has it.”

A later caller to the show, however, traced Counterpunch’s source: “I found an article on a Nazi Web site called ‘StormFront’ and then lots of other sites quoting that information. So there is actually a Facebook page which talks about congressman with dual citizenship and what it does is just list random Jewish people [falsely] claiming that they hold dual citizenship.”

Rehm, 2013’s recipient of the Arab American of the Year award from the Arab American Community Center for Economic and Social Services, has exhibited anti-Israel bias in the past, documented by CAMERA. Knowingly or unknowingly, her staff—or Rehm herself, judging by her later apology to Sanders—gets "research" from neo-Nazi Web sites. Like “Nancy from Toledo,” they “read it online.”

Later in the day, Rehm issued an apology (to find it one initially had to click on Rehm's interview with Sanders on NPR's Web site, then scroll to the bottom. It has since been moved to the top, beneath the headline):

“On today’s show, I made a mistake. Rather than asking Senator and Presidential Candidate Bernie Sanders whether he had dual U.S./Israeli citizenship, as I had read in a comment on Facebook, I stated it as fact.

“He corrected me, saying he did not know where the question came from. I apologized immediately. [Not “immediately”—she followed up by asking if other members of Congress were dual U.S.-Israeli nationals.]

“I want to apologize as well to all our listeners for having made an erroneous statement. I am sorry for the mistake. However, I am glad to play a role in putting this rumor to rest.”

Sanders deserved Rehm’s apology. For Rehm’s listeners, however, it was not so much an apology as the latest warning: When it comes to Israel, and Jews, you can’t believe everything you hear on NPR’s The Diane Rehm Show.—by Sean Durns

Posted by ER at June 10, 2015 06:33 PM

Comments

When it comes to Israel, Arabs, and Jews, you can’t believe everything you hear on NPR. Period.

Posted by: Ron at June 11, 2015 11:07 AM

Many years ago, when I listened to the Diane Rehm
Show on an occasional basis, I recognized that
Ms Rehm did exhibit anti-Israel tendencies.
They were never overt, but they were present in
her thinking and speaking. So, I guess, a leopard doesn't change his spots.

Posted by: Lois Weiner at June 11, 2015 01:25 PM

"However, I am glad to play a role in putting this rumor to rest." Talk about spin. Disgusting.

Posted by: John From Toronto at June 12, 2015 03:38 PM

When it comes to Israel, Jews, regional arabs, one can not believe much of anything broadcast on NPR, particularly diane rehm. She & NPR have a pathological hatred for both Jews and Israel. Their "news" and commentary are little more than hateful propaganda.

Posted by: 1dshap at June 13, 2015 07:59 AM

Juan Williams was kicked from NPR for saying that he was uncomfortable when he sees people wearing Muslim dress boarding the same plane he's flying on.

Shouldn't Diane Rehms be kicked off NPR too???

Posted by: Edward at June 14, 2015 01:11 AM

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