A brouhaha erupted when Diane Rehm, of National Public Radio, confronted Bernie Sanders during an interview with an allegation that’s been making the rounds on the Internet for years: “Now, you’re a dual citizen of Israel,” she averred. Startled, he replied:
“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. I’m an American citizen, period."
He claimed to be “offended” by Rehm’s assertion, although I don’t know why anybody would be: after all, what’s wrong with being a dual citizen of Israel, or of any other country?
Ms. Rehm issued an official apology, in which she regretted not posing a question rather than making an assertion – and that underscores the problem with the whole issue of public officials holding dual citizenship: they aren’t required to disclose it. Rehm says she brought it up in the first place because of a Facebook comment, which referenced a list of alleged dual US-Israeli citizens in Congress. None of these lists, however, are sourced, a fact the research-challenged Rehm failed to notice. It’s virtually impossible to source such information, however, unless members of Congress are forthcoming with it – which they aren’t.
So why is this even an issue? Writing in The Hill, L. Michael Hager,of the International Development Law Organization, had a good answer:
“Anyone can become a dual citizen, even members of Congress, high court judges and top officials of the executive branch. There’s no law or regulation against it. Nor are they required to disclose such dual citizenship.
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