Ilhan Omar: US congresswoman defends Israel remark amid backlash
A dozen House Democrats urged Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.) late Wednesday to “clarify” a Twitter post in which the Squad member claimed that America, Israel, Hamas and the Taliban have all committed “unspeakable atrocities.”
“Equating the United States and Israel to Hamas and the Taliban is as offensive as it is misguided,” read the statement, which was led by Rep. Brad Schneider (D-Ill.).
“Ignoring the differences between democracies governed by the rule of law and contemptible organizations that engage in terrorism at best discredits one’s intended argument and at worst reflects deep-seated prejudice.
“The United States and Israel are imperfect and, like all democracies, at times deserving of critique, but false equivalencies give cover to terrorist groups,” the statement concluded.
The eleven other Democrats who signed the statement were Reps. Jake Auchincloss of Massachusetts, Ted Deutch of Florida, Lois Frankel of Florida, Josh Gottheimer of New Jersey, Elaine Luria of Virginia, Kathy Manning of North Carolina, Jerrold Nadler of New York, Dean Phillips of Minnesota, Kim Schrier of Washington, Brad Sherman of California and Debbie Wasserman Schultz of Florida.
Omar tweeted the message on Monday, following a House Foreign Affairs Committee hearing during which she pressed Secretary of State Antony Blinken on his opposition to the International Criminal Court’s (ICC) investigation of alleged war crimes committed by US military personnel in Afghanistan, as well as the Israeli military in their conflicts against Arab militias.
The tweet, which included video of Omar questioning Blinken, read: “We must have the same level of accountability and justice for all victims of crimes against humanity. We have seen unthinkable atrocities committed by the US, Hamas, Israel, Afghanistan, and the Taliban. I asked @SecBlinken where people are supposed to go for justice.”
Though the second-term Omar has repeatedly been accused of making anti-American and anti-Semitic statements, she has largely been given a pass by House Democratic leadership. In early 2019, a resolution was whipped up after Omar claimed that supporters of Israel were pushing American lawmakers to pledge “allegiance to a foreign country.” However, that measure’s language was later expanded to condemn all types of bias, including anti-Muslim rhetoric.