The Obama administration is distancing itself from controversial statements by U.S. ambassador to Belgium, Howard Gutman, justifying anti-semitism among Muslims.
Two Republican presidential candidates are calling on President Obama to fire Gutman.
"President Obama must fire his ambassador to Belgium for rationalizing and downplaying anti-Semitism and linking it to Israeli policy toward the Palestinians," former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney said in a statement Sunday.
Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich also called for Gutman's resignation.
"President Obama should fire his ambassador to Brussels for being so wrong about anti-semitism," Gingrich tweeted Saturday.
Gutman, who is Jewish, told the European Jewish Union in Brussels last week there's a difference between traditional anti-semitism and Muslim hatred for the Jewish state, according to Israel-based Y-Net News.
He said Muslim hatred for Israel is based on Israel's treatment of the Palestinians.
Gutman added that Muslim anti-Semitism will fade once Israel and the Palestinians agree to a peace treaty.
Jewish leaders reacted with outrage, prompting the Obama administration to release a statement.
"We condemn anti-Semitism in all its forms, and there is never any justification for prejudice against the Jewish people or Israel," the statement read.
Gutman later issued a statement saying he regrets if his comments were taken wrongly and he condemns anti-Semitism in all forms.