Opinion Have the Democrats Finally Had It With Ilhan Omar? | Opinion
Kevin McCarthy won't let go of the GOP's smear campaign against Ilhan Omar, but Democrats have moved on
McCarthy called for Omar's removal from the House Foreign Affairs committee, adding to the GOP's latest attacks on the Minnesota lawmaker.McCarthy urged House Speaker Nancy Pelosi to strip Omar from the committee based on what he described as "anti-Semitic" and "anti-American" language from the Minnesota lawmaker.
Rep.(D-MN) has gotten quite good at shifting the Overton window for what is acceptable to say as a member of . At this point, she has a well-established pattern: First, throw out something remarkably offensive. Then, let other liberals rush to her defense, thereby confirming that they, too, are actually okay with what she said, before avoiding censure by finally offering a feeble/partial "clarification" or apology, for having been "misunderstood" or having misspoken.
This cycle played out again this week. On Monday, Omar proudly shared a tweet in which she implicitly equated the United States and Israel to the Taliban and Hamas, claiming that they had all committed "unthinkable atrocities."
Hamas 'Deplores' Rep. Ilhan Omar's Comparison of U.S., Israel to Their Mission
"We deplore this unfair combination that is contrary to justice and international law," the Hamas website stated.Hamas on Friday, while praising Omar's stance in "defending justice," chastised her for comparing their group to the U.S. and Israel.
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 U.S., Hamas, Israel, Afghanistan, and the Taliban.
I asked @SecBlinken where people are supposed to go for justice. pic.twitter.com/tUtxW5cIow— Rep. Ilhan Omar (@Ilhan) June 7, 2021
On Wednesday, a dozen of her Democratic colleagues in the House issued a statement condemning her comments as offensive and misguided, and urged her to clarify her words. Almost immediately, Omar, along with fellow Squad members Congresswomen(D-NY) and Rashida Tlaib (D-MI), rushed to smear anyone who dared take offense at being compared to terrorists as racist and Islamophobic. Congresswoman Omar herself remained defiant, calling the signatories of the letter—fellow Democrats—"shameful," and accusing them of constantly harassing and silencing her.
'Offensive': House lawmakers rebuke fellow Democrat Ilhan Omar for equating US, Israel with Hamas, Taliban
Minnesota Democratic Rep. Ilhan Omar, one of the first two Muslim women in Congress, has been a controversial figure since being elected in 2018. Then-President Donald Trump routinely attacked her and other members of "The Squad," women of color in Congress who advocate more progressive social policies. She also drew fire from Republicans in 2019 over her comments about 9/11 that critics said minimized the terrorist attack that killed thousands of Americans in 2001. Democrats came to her defense then, arguing Omar's remarks were taken out of context.
All of that was to be expected, as was Rep. Omar's subsequent clarification on Thursday morning, in which she suddenly changed her tune and tried to distance herself from the original tweet.
In the process, Rep. Omar also awkwardly distanced herself from the defenses of her fellow Squad members, who continued to defend her on substantive grounds by pretending that Omar was being vilified just because she was standing up for "human rights" or because she was Muslim.
Freedom of speech doesn't exist for Muslim women in Congress. The benefit of the doubt doesn't exist for Muslim women in Congress. House Democratic leadership should be ashamed of its relentless, exclusive tone policing of Congresswomen of color.— Rashida Tlaib (@RashidaTlaib) June 10, 2021
Once again, as is her wont, having started a conversation that should have been dismissed as ridiculous out of hand—a conversation in which American politicians are debating whether it is racist to be offended by someone comparing the U.S. and its allies to terrorists—Rep. Omar took a quiet step back and feigned innocence. "To be clear: the conversation was about accountability for specific incidents regarding those ICC cases, not a moral comparison between Hamas and the Taliban and the U.S. and Israel," she conceded. "I was in no way equating terrorist organizations with democratic countries with well-established judicial systems."
Ilhan Omar calls out fellow Democrats for criticizing her as new controversy flares
Unlike in 2019, the Minnesotan's latest remarks have drawn no specific complaints of antisemitism from her party colleagues.In a tweet early Thursday morning, the Minnesota Democrat called her fellow House Democrats’ reaction “shameful” and said the group of critics failed to call her before releasing their statement. One person close to Omar said she — one of the first two Muslim women elected to Congress — had tried to contact several of the Democrats involved in drafting the statement before its release but was unable to reach them.
Video: Rep. Ilhan Omar facing criticism for remarks about U.S., Israel, Hamas and the Taliban (MSNBC)
This non-apology is unconvincing; her tweet speaks for itself: "We have seen unthinkable atrocities committed by the U.S., Hamas, Israel, Afghanistan, and the Taliban," Omar said very clearly.
Rep. Omar is sophisticated enough to make radical statements while also obfuscating their true nature by tying them to a conversation in which she says the same thing in a slightly less offensive context. In fact, she is genuinely good at this game of plausible deniability. She did something similar when she was called out for antisemitic comments in 2019.
But what was different this time was how the Democratic leadership reacted. It appears that Omar's provocations may have finally gone too far for the establishment to ignore.
And this is new. Over the years, Omar has had several close encounters with accountability. On multiple occasions, she has even been called out by members of her own party for her anti-American and antisemitic statements. But so far, she has escaped any real consequences for her actions, because each and every time the leadership of her party has backed down from offering a full-throated critique of her views, apparently deciding that the need for a united political front outweighed the necessity of calling out a problematic member.
Jewish Democrats confront Ilhan Omar for giving 'cover to terrorist groups'
Ilhan Omar and a group of Jewish Democrats are waging a public battle sparked by her apparent comparison of the United States and Israel to Hamas and the Taliban, with those scolding her saying she gave “cover to terrorist groups” and Omar accusing her colleagues of using “islamophobic tropes.” © Provided by Washington Examiner The incident shows that while Republicans offer the most frequent criticism of Omar, she also frustrates those within her own party. A group of 12 Jewish Democrats led by Rep.
This time, the entire leadership team of theissued a rare joint statement confirming that they do not stand with Omar on this issue, and that her statements are unequivocally unacceptable. In no uncertain terms, they wrote that "drawing false equivalencies between democracies like the U.S. and Israel and groups that engage in terrorism like Hamas and the Taliban foments prejudice and undermines progress toward a future of peace and security for all."
????Statement from pelosis leadership team on @IlhanMN pic.twitter.com/y1EGaiUhTL— Jake Sherman (@JakeSherman) June 10, 2021
While the Squad will undoubtedly continue to cry foul with allegations of how Rep. Omar is being silenced, nothing could be further from the truth. The response by Pelosi and her team was entirely appropriate from a free speech perspective: No one silenced Omar, and no one made the claim that she should not be allowed to say whatever she feels, however repugnant. The Democratic leadership was correct to use its own counter-speech to educate their constituents about why what Omar said was so offensive, and therefore contradictory to Democratic values.
Offensive speech should never be silenced; it should just be labeled correctly, so that we preserve a sense of shared values.
Thank goodness thehave finally taken a stand and done that. Let's hope they mean to keep doing so.
Rabbi Dr. Mark Goldfeder, Esq. is the Director of the National Jewish Advocacy Center.
The views in this article are the writer's own.
Rashida Tlaib comes to defense of Ilhan Omar after Minnesota lawmaker made comments comparing US and Israel to Taliban and Hamas .
Rep. Rashida Tlaib came to the defense of fellow “Squad” member Rep. Ilhan Omar after Omar was condemned by a group of 12 Jewish Democrats for her comments comparing the United States and Israel to Hamas and the Taliban. © Provided by Washington Examiner “I am tired of colleagues (both D+R) demonizing @IlhanMN,” Tlaib said on Twitter. “Their obsession with policing her is sick. She has the courage to call out human rights abuses no matter who is responsible. That's better than colleagues who look away if it serves their politics.