Jewish Democratic lawmakers condemn Rep. Ilhan Omar over ‘offensive’ tweet equating U.S. and Israel to Hamas and Taliban
13 June, 2021, 14:39
Her tweet came after House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and other Democrats said in a joint statement that drawing any comparison between the United States and Israel and Hamas and the Taliban "foments prejudice and undermines progress towards a future of peace and security for all".
"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 USA and Israel", she wrote in a press release.
"Legitimate criticism of the policies of both the United States and Israel is protected by the values of free speech and democratic debate", they said.
Omar had posted footage on Monday of her questioning Blinken at a House Foreign Affairs Committee hearing over the Biden administration's opposition to International Criminal Court investigations in Afghanistan, Israel, the West Bank, and Gaza.
On Thursday, Omar tweeted that it was "shameful" that fellow Democrats who sometimes seek her support on issues didn't ask her for an explanation by simply calling her. "And indeed, such criticism is essential to the strength and health of our democracies", said the group, which included House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (CA), Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (MD), Majority Whip Jim Clyburn (SC), Assistant Speaker Katherine Clark (MA), Democratic Caucus Chairman Hakeem Jeffries (NY) and Vice Caucus Chairman Pete Aguilar (CA). But when it's Democrats, it's especially hurtful.
In March of 2019, the House approved an anti-hate resolution following remarks Ms. Omar made regarding Israel's influence in USA politics, which were viewed as anti-Semitic by some of her colleagues and for which she later apologized.
"As usual, the far right is ginning up hate against Rep. Omar for a technical question about an ongoing investigation".
Omar at first did not budge from her position, spending the day retweeting other progressive members of Congress, such as Reps.
"Citing an open case against Israel, US, Hamas & Taliban in the ICC isn't (a) comparison or from "deeply seated prejudice", she said shortly after her colleagues' statement was issued, adding that "the truth can't be hidden or silenced forever".
The three-sentence follow-up statement by the Minnesota Democrat said her comments were "not a moral comparison between Hamas and the Taliban and the U.S. and Israel". 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 USA and Israel".
Rep. Omar - an elected member of the United States Congress, who sits on the Foreign Affairs Committee - just compared America and America's greatest ally in the Middle East, Israel, to known terrorist organizations. "Speaker Pelosi's continued failure to address the issues in her caucus sends a message to the world that Democrats are tolerant of anti-Semitism and sympathizing with terrorists".
"Equating the United States and Israel to Hamas and the Taliban is as offensive as it is misguided", wrote the group, led by New York Democrat Jerry Nadler, in a statement on Wednesday.
Backlash to the tweet came in the form of death threats to the Muslim congresswomman and a rebuke from her party leaders. "We have seen unthinkable atrocities committed by the US, Hamas, Israel, Afghanistan, and the Taliban", it said. She has the courage to call out human rights abuses no matter who is responsible. But she's a victim because of the "constant harassment and silencing" from members who signed the letter. "Talk to us directly".
A dozen Jewish lawmakers called on Ilhan Omar to "clarify her words", but the Minnesota representative slammed the group's "tropes". The campaign committee is headed by Rep. Tom Emmer, a Minnesota Republican.
Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) called on Pelosi to act: "Rep. Omar's anti-Semitic & anti-American comments are abhorrent".
Only 12 Democrats condemned Omar, which is less than 6% of the total number of Democrats in the House of Representatives.
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