Politics Omar denies equating US and Israel to terrorists as Democratic fracture intensifies
US aid to Israel was always a given. Will growing support for Palestinians change that?
Progressive Democrats say U.S. taxpayer money is being used to exacerbate Palestinian suffering, while Biden is supporting longtime ally Israel.A shift in Congress, with progressive Democrats expressing concerns that U.S. taxpayer dollars are being used to violate Palestinians' rights, makes it likely that any future U.S. weapons sales to Israel will come under scrutiny.
In a response to outrage from fellow House Democrats over a tweet that mentioned “unthinkable atrocities” by the United States and Israel alongside Hamas and the Taliban, Ilhan Omar said that she did not equate “terrorist organizations with democratic countries.”
"On Monday, I asked Secretary of State Antony Blinken about an ongoing International Criminal Court investigations,” the Minnesota congresswoman said in a statement on Thursday. “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. I was in no way equating terrorist organizations with democratic countries with well-established judicial systems."
'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.
But despite her clarification, House Democratic infighting over Omar’s apparent comparison of the U.S. and Israel to Hamas and the Taliban is escalating.
On Wednesday, a group of a dozen Jewish Democratic lawmakers released a statement asking Omar for “clarification” on her comments, saying that “false equivalencies give cover to terrorist groups.”
Afrom Omar asserted: “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.” Included in the tweet was a video of Omar questioning Blinken about the prosecution of "alleged war crimes and crimes against humanity.”
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.
New York Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez fired off a tweet defending her fellow left-wing “Squad” member Omar, a Muslim Minnesota representative, in the wake of outrage from other Democrats.
“Pretty sick & tired of the constant vilification, intentional mischaracterization, and public targeting of @IlhanMN coming from our caucus,” Ocasio-Cortez said in a tweet. “They have no concept for the danger they put her in by skipping private conversations & leaping to fueling targeted news cycles around her.”
Pretty sick & tired of the constant vilification, intentional mischaracterization, and public targeting ofcoming from our caucus.
They have no concept for the danger they put her in by skipping private conversations & leaping to fueling targeted news cycles around her.— Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (@AOC)
Meanwhile, it is not only Jewish Democrats taking issue with Omar. New York Democratic Rep. Tom Suozzi issued a scathing statement that said that she "must be called out."
Pelosi, leaders seek to squelch Omar controversy with rare joint statement
With a rare joint statement, Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and her entire leadership team on Thursday sought to quell a growing controversy over Rep. Ilhan Omar's remarks equating war crimes committed by the U.S. and Israel to those by the Taliban and Hamas terrorist groups. The joint statement by Pelosi, Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-Md.), Majority Whip Jim Clyburn (D-S.C.), Assistant Speaker Katherine Clark (D-Mass.), Democratic Caucus Chairman Hakeem Jeffries (D-N.Y.) and Vice Caucus Chairman Pete Aguilar (D-Calif.) came after Omar responded to a request from a dozen Jewish House Democrats to "clarify" what she meant in her original remarks.
"The is the latest in a series of wrongheaded and inflammatory statements she has made against Israel and Jewish people which I strongly disagree with. She does not represent my values," Suozzi said. He added that he will "call out and condemn" colleagues on both sides who "contribute to ignorant and hateful behavior," noting his recent criticism of Rep. Marjorie Talyor Greene's "comments equating mask wearing mandates with Nazi regimes."
— Tom Suozzi (@RepTomSuozzi)
Other left-wing Squad members circled the wagons around Omar amid the backlash andby House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.
“I'm not surprised when Republicans attack Black women for standing up for human rights. But when it’s Democrats, it’s especially hurtful. We’re your colleagues. Talk to us directly,” tweeted Missouri Rep. Cori Bush. “Enough with the anti-Blackness and Islamophobia.”
Stop attacking. Stop attacking us.
I'm not surprised when Republicans attack Black women for standing up for human rights. But when it’s Democrats, it’s especially hurtful. We’re your colleagues. Talk to us directly.
Pelosi seeks to quell uproar over Omar's latest comments
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said Thursday that she welcomed a clarification from Rep. Ilhan Omar over a tweet about Israel that critics on both sides of the aisle said had unfairly compared the U.S. and Israel to terrorist groups. In a written statement, Pelosi, D-Calif., said that “drawing false equivalences between democracies like the U.S. and Israel and groups that engage in terrorism like Hamas and the Taliban foments prejudice and undermines peace and security for all.” “We welcome the clarification by Congresswoman Omar that there is no moral equivalency between the U.S. and Israel and Hamas and the Taliban,” Pelosi continued.
Enough with the anti-Blackness and Islamophobia.— Cori Bush (@CoriBush)
“I am tired of colleagues (both D+R) demonizing @IlhanMN. Their obsession with policing her is sick,” said Rep. Rashida Tlaib of Michigan.
Omarthat “this is the kind of incitement and hate that leads to real violence,” sharing audio of a person hoping for her death.
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What Ilhan Omar Actually Said .
No one should believe that Omar thinks the United States is identical to the Taliban.Now, following Democratic outrage and Republican calls for a floor vote to strip Omar of her committee assignments, let me record the following for posterity: Omar demonstrably did not say what she’s been accused of having said; what she did say was true; and every politico using this opportunity to take a swing at her likely knows those two things—they just think you don’t.