US MK Ilhan Omar fired back after a rare reprimand from her colleagues in the Democratic Party for his remarks which appeared to place the United States and Israel in the same category as the Palestinian resistance group Hamas and the Afghan armed group Taliban.
The Muslim-US congresswoman tweeted on Monday: “We have seen unthinkable atrocities committed by the United States, Hamas, Israel, Afghanistan and the Taliban,” sparking bipartisan condemnation and even seeing her charged with ” anti-Semitism ”.
“We must have the same level of accountability and justice for all victims of crimes against humanity,” she tweeted, with video of her questioning Secretary of State Antony Blinken about the opposition from the United States to the International Criminal Court (ICC) investigations into an alleged war. crimes in Israel and Afghanistan.
A dozen Jewish lawmakers on Wednesday called on Omar to “clarify his words”, arguing that “equating the United States and Israel with Hamas and the Taliban is as offensive as it is misguided.”
Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi intervened. “Tracing false equivalents between democracies like the United States and Israel and terrorist groups like Hamas and the Taliban fosters prejudice and undermines progress towards a future of peace and security for all,” said Pelosi. in a report.
But Omar pushed back, calling comments by Jewish lawmakers “shameful” and “Islamophobic tropes.”
“The Islamophobic tropes in their statement are offensive. The constant harassment and silence of the signatories of this letter is unbearable, ”the Minnesota representative tweeted.
“It is shameful for colleagues who call me when they need my support to now issue a statement asking for ‘clarifications’ and not just to call.
Omar spokesman Jeremy Slevin said in a statement Thursday that the group of lawmakers “developed the same Islamophobic hatred against her” as the far-right enemies who initially attacked Omar on his tweet.
Slevin had said earlier that Omar contacted the group before their statement was released to offer clarification, but his calls were not returned.
It is shameful for colleagues who call me when they need my support to now issue a statement asking for “clarification” and not just to call.
The Islamophobic tropes of this statement are offensive. The constant harassment and silence of the signatories of this letter is unbearable. https://t.co/37dy2UduW0
– Ilhan Omar (@IlhanMN) June 10, 2021
As criticism mounted, Omar clarified his position in a statement Thursday: “On Monday, I questioned Secretary of State Antony Blinken about ongoing investigations by the International Criminal Court.
“To be clear: the conversation was about responsibility for specific incidents involving these ICC cases, not a moral comparison between Hamas and the Taliban and the United States and Israel.
“I did not in any way equate terrorist organizations with democratic countries with well-established judicial systems,” she added.
Omar also shared a threatening voicemail message his office received. She said in a tweet: “Whenever I talk about human rights, I am inundated with death threats. “
It’s the kind of incitement and hatred that leads to real violence. Like that. https://t.co/ddSQUiQG10 https://t.co/ggygJWUtb7
– Ilhan Omar (@IlhanMN) June 10, 2021
Despite criticism leveled against Omar, many lawmakers have rallied to his defense.
U.S. Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, who is part of a group of progressive lawmakers who have criticized U.S. policy toward Israel, denounced what she described as the constant targeting and vilification of Omar.
“Pretty sick and tired of the constant defamation, intentional misrepresentation and public targeting of @IlhanMN from our caucus,” the New York Democrat tweeted.
“They have no idea how dangerous they are putting her by skipping private conversations and jumping to fuel targeted news cycles around her.”
Quite sick and tired of the constant defamation, intentional misrepresentation and public targeting of @BrothersMorning from our caucus.
They have no idea how dangerous they are putting her by skipping private conversations and jumping to fuel targeted news cycles around her.
– Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (@AOC) June 10, 2021
Also coming to her defense, Democratic Representative Rashida Tlaib of Michigan criticized the statement by Democratic House leaders, saying in a tweet, “Free speech does not exist for Muslim women in Congress. The benefit of the doubt does not exist for Muslim women in Congress. Shame on Democratic House leaders for their relentless and exclusive police force of women of color in Congress. “
Free speech does not exist for Muslim women in Congress. The benefit of the doubt does not exist for Muslim women in Congress. Shame on the Democratic House leadership for its relentless and exclusive policing of women of color in Congress.
– Rashida Tlaib (@RashidaTlaib) June 10, 2021
Representative Ayanna Pressley condemned “bad faith attempts” to take “Omar’s words out of context”, while Representative Jamaal Bowman urged her fellow Democrats “to recognize the biases that fuel personal attacks and to defend our colleagues “.
“When a woman, a person of color or a Muslim speaks out against injustice, there is a backlash,” Bowman tweeted. “When [Omar] expresses herself, the vitriol is made worse by the fact that she is all three.
When a woman, a person of color or a Muslim speaks out against injustice, there is a backlash. When @BrothersMorning expresses herself, the vitriol is made worse by the fact that she is all three.
As Democrats, we must recognize the biases that fuel personal attacks and stand up for our colleagues. pic.twitter.com/KUPL81XgyO
– Jamaal Bowman (@JamaalBowmanNY) June 10, 2021
Progressive Democrats continued to voice their support for Omar throughout Thursday, with the Progressive Congressional Caucus issuing a statement saying “Omar’s voice is critical and necessary.”
“We cannot ignore a right-wing media echo chamber that has deliberately and regularly attacked a black Muslim woman in Congress, distorting her views and intentions and resulting in threats against [her] and its staff, ”the statement read. “We urge our colleagues not to encourage or amplify such divisive and bad faith tactics. “
Meanwhile, Democratic Party leaders said they “welcome Omar’s clarification” that “there is no moral equivalence between the United States and Israel and Hamas and the Taliban “.
This is not the first time that Omar’s criticisms of Israel have put her at odds with members of her own party. In 2019, she apologized after members of both parties accused her of “anti-Semitism” for suggesting that the money was behind support for Israel.
The latest fury in the US Congress comes weeks after a fragile peace deal was reached following an 11-day Israeli war on besieged Gaza that left more than 250 Palestinians dead, including 66 children. At least 12 people, including two children, have been killed in Israel in rocket attacks by Palestinian armed factions.