US Envoy Draws Fire for Anti-Semitic Comments

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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.

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