Rep. Ted Lieu wants to have his cake and eat it, too. He represents a district in the House of Representatives that includes the predominantly Jewish West Side of Los Angeles yet Thursday he allowed an anti-Semitic trope to get in the way of civil public discourse.
Lieu called for the resignation of the U.S. Ambassador to Israel David Friedman. Lieu was angry that the ambassador was doing his job – supporting President Trump’s opinion and showing support for Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s decision to deny entry into Israel to Rep. Ilhan Omar and Rep. Rashida Talib. Ted Lieu went on CNN and the interview took a dark turn. Lieu told Wolf Blitzer that Ambassador Friedman should resign for showing “allegiance to a foreign power.”
.@RepTedLieu on Ambassador Friedman supporting Israel banning Rep. Tlaib from visiting: “It is outrageous that the US government is working against having an American go visit a relative in Israel… I think he should resign." pic.twitter.com/RddqDNHtrP
— The Situation Room (@CNNSitRoom) August 15, 2019
“Ambassador Friedman, the U.S. ambassador to Israel, actually I think he should resign,” Lieu told “The Situation Room” anchor Wolf Blitzer. “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.”
Lieu chose to jump on the bandwagon with other loud voices on the left in support of the two freshman congresswomen who are known for little else than anti-Semitic screeds and loud opposition to President Trump. Netanyahu’s decision seemed particularly reasonable when the agenda of the two became known. The two were planning to promote the BDS movement and show support for the Palestinian Authority, including only visiting East Jerusalem. The intent of their visit, sponsored by a group in favor of BDS, was to provoke tension, not to learn or engage in productive dialogue. Why would anything else be expected from Omar and Tlaib? Their time in Congress has been chock-full of divisive behavior, not an inclination to work for unity.
Lieu also posted on Twitter, calling out the ambassador and Rep. Mo Brooks, as well as House Republican Whip Steve Scalise.
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? https://t.co/4FhRWXsLJP
— Ted Lieu (@tedlieu) August 15, 2019
Hey @SteveScalise: 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. https://t.co/LIyX7l0C3c
— Ted Lieu (@tedlieu) August 15, 2019
He deleted a tweet that accused Ambassador Friedman of “dual allegiance”, though. He admits to pushback by saying it was “brought to his attention” that the tweet was a bad one.
It has been brought to my attention that my prior tweet to @USAmbIsrael raises dual loyalty allegations that have historically caused harm to the Jewish community. That is a legitimate concern. I am therefore deleting the tweet.
— Ted Lieu (@tedlieu) August 16, 2019
It’s all fun and games until the outraged Twitter mob comes for you.
This nonsense coming from Lieu is in conflict with his normal behavior towards support of Israel. He votes in support of Israel and also supports selling defense weapons to Israel. His votes anger the far left Jewish voters in his district. He voted against the BDS resolution put forward by the freshmen congresswomen. Acting against his own history in Congress makes Lieu look like an opportunist just out for a quick hit on cable television.
Accusing a Jew of dual allegiance is the oldest of tropes delivered by anti-Semites. Lieu didn’t bother to apologize when he deleted his tweet to Ambassador Friedman so that leads to the assumption that he was expressing what was in his heart. It exposes a level of prejudice held by the congressman that aligns with the anti-Semitic congresswomen. The left, including Lieu, love to slam President Trump for the words he uses. Perhaps it is time for some self-reflection by Rep. Lieu.