(JTA) — The State Department called the posting of a video by the U.S. Embassy in Saudi Arabia that removed Israel from President Trump’s announcement about his upcoming trip an “inadvertent mistake.”
Rep. Eliot Engel, the top Democrat on the House Foreign Affairs Committee, sent a letter on Monday to Secretary of State Rex Tillerson in which he criticized the State Department for “editing out” Israel in the video posted on the Riyadh embassy website and Twitter account. The videos were no longer available on Monday afternoon and a video on the embassy site contained the complete announcement.
“At a time when the United States should be encouraging the governments of the region — and their people — to promote tolerance, respect and mutual recognition, this video implies that the U.S. accepts Saudi Arabia’s public rejectionist position toward Israel,” Engel wrote.
A State Department official told JTA that the embassy had taken the video from the social media account of a private Saudi citizen without realizing that Israel had been edited out.
“Upon learning this, the U.S. Embassy immediately corrected the error, took down the video, and loaded the correct version to its social media accounts,” the official said in a statement. “The Embassy expresses its regret for this inadvertent mistake.”