New York, NY, January 7, 2019 ... ADL CEO Jonathan Greenblatt issued the following statement in response to U.S. Rep. Rashida Tlaib's (D-MI) recent tweet alleging dual loyalty by some members of Congress:
Representative Tlaib's tweet regarding the pending bill on the Senate floor has been interpreted by some as suggesting that Jews or Members of Congress, such as the sponsors of the bill, are more loyal to Israel than to their own country. Whether or not this was her intent, this type of language is deeply problematic.
Historically, the allegation of mixed loyalty or dual loyalty has been leveled as a smear against many kinds of Americans – including against Americans of Japanese descent during World War II. Though the legislation discussed is sponsored by four non-Jewish Senators, any charge of dual loyalty has special sensitivity and resonance for Jews, particularly in an environment of rising anti-Semitism. It is a long-standing anti-Semitic trope connected to the idea that Jews are more loyal to Israel than their own country, or that U.S. legislators -- for some conspiratorial reason -- are more concerned about issues related to Israel than U.S. national interest.
We can -- and should -- have policy differences and debates. There is no reason to include implicit or explicit accusations of dual loyalty when otherwise criticizing legislation that bears on Israel. We reached out to Representative Tlaib’s office to clarify her motive in using this language, and to discuss concerns about the history and context of the allegations of dual loyalty that have been leveled at Jewish Americans at various times in our history. We have encouraged her to publicly clarify her intent.