U.S. Congressman Ilhan Omar has backtracked after a rare rebuke by Democratic Party colleagues for saying the United States and Israel placed Hamas in the same category as the Palestinian resistance group and the Afghan Taliban armed group.
On Monday, a U.S. Congress congressman wrote this tweet: “We have seen unthinkable atrocities committed by the US, Hamas, Israel, Afghanistan and the Taliban,” denouncing double partisanship and even accused of “anti-Semitism.”
“We need to have the same level of responsibility and justice for all victims of crimes against humanity,” he tweeted, along with a video of interrogations with Secretary of State Antony Blink about consultations with the U.S. International Criminal Court (ICC) about the alleged war. crimes in Israel and Afghanistan.
A dozen lawmakers on Tuesday called on Omar to “clarify his words,” arguing that “comparing the United States and Israel with Hamas and the Taliban is as offensive as it is offensive.”
House spokeswoman Nancy Pelosi jumped. “Drawing false equivalences between democracies like the US and Israel and terrorist groups like Hamas and the Taliban promotes prejudice and undermines the future of peace and security for all,” Pelosi said. in a statement.
But Omar backed down, saying the comments by Jewish lawmakers were “shameful” and “Islamophobic troops.”
“The Islamophobic troops in their statement are offensive. The constant harassment and silence of the signatories of this letter is unbearable, ”the Minnesota representative tweeted.
“It’s a shame that colleagues who call me need to“ clarify ”a statement when they need my help and not just call.
Omar spokesman Jeremy Slevin said statement On Thursday, a group of lawmakers “was awakening the same Islamophobic hatred against him” as far-right enemies initially attacked Omar for his tweet.
Slevin said earlier that Omar had arrived before the statement was released to give instructions to the group, but the calls were not returned.
It’s embarrassing for colleagues who call me to release a statement when they need my help to “clarify” and not just call.
The Islamophobic troops in 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 rose, Omar clarified his position in a statement on Thursday: “On Monday, I asked Secretary of State Antony Blink about the International Criminal Court’s investigations.
“To be clear: the conversation was about the ICC’s responsibility for specific facts about these cases, not the moral comparison between Hamas and the Taliban and the US and Israel.
“I did not in any way equate terrorist organizations with well-established judicial systems with democratic countries,” he added.
Omar also shared a threatening voicemail message received from his office. He said in a tweet: “Every time I talk about human rights I am overwhelmed with death threats.”
– Ilhan Omar (@IlhanMN) June 10, 2021
Despite criticism of Omar, many lawmakers rallied in his defense.
U.S. Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, one of the most progressive groups of legislators to criticize US policy toward Israel, called for Omar to be constantly corrected and considered underestimated.
“We’re pretty sick and tired of constantly coming out of our skull with @ IlhanMN’s constant proclamation, deliberately misguided characterization, and public intent,” the New York Democrat tweeted.
“They haven’t put any concepts into it by skipping private conversations and jumping to feed the news cycles around them.”
Quite sick and tired of constant slander, deliberately misrepresenting, and public targeting @BrothersMorning coming from our caucus.
They don’t put any concepts into skipping private conversations and jumping to feed the news cycles around them.
– Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (@AOC) June 10, 2021
When she came to her defense, Democratic Rep. Rashida Tlaib of Michigan criticized the statement by Democratic House leaders, tweeting: “There is no freedom of expression in Congress for Muslim women. The benefit of the doubt does not exist for Muslim women in Congress. with a relentless and exclusive tone of color “.
There is no freedom of expression in Congress for Muslim women. The benefit of the doubt does not exist for Muslim women in Congress. The democratic leadership of the House should be ashamed of the invaluable and exclusive tone of women in Congress.
– Rashida Tlaib (@RashidaTlaib) June 10, 2021
Representative Ayanna Pressley condemned Omar’s “attempts at bad faith” to take “words out of context”, while Rep. Jamaal Bowman called on Democrats to “acknowledge biases that encourage personal attacks and defend our colleagues.”
“When a woman, a person of color, or a Muslim speaks out against injustice, a reaction is created,” Bowman said. “When [Omar] he speaks, it adds to the fact that the vitriol has all three. “
When a woman, a person of color, or a Muslim speaks out against injustice, a reaction arises. When @BrothersMorning he speaks, adding to the presence of the three along with the vitriol.
As Democrats, we need to recognize the biases that encourage personal attacks and defend our colleagues. pic.twitter.com/KUPl81XgyO
– Jamaal Bowman (@JamaalBowmanNY) June 10, 2021
Progressive Democrats continued to express their support for Omar on Thursday throughout the day, and the Progressive Assembly of Congress released a statement saying Omar is “a critical and necessary voice.”
“We cannot ignore the right-wing media echo chamber in Congress that has deliberately and routinely attacked a black and Muslim woman in Congress, distorting her views and intentions and creating threats against her. [her] and its employees, “the document says.” We urge our colleagues not to encourage or escalate such divisive and bad faith tactics. “
Meanwhile, Democratic party leaders have said they have clarified Omar’s “welcome” that “there is no moral equivalence between the US and Israel and Hamas and the Taliban.”
It is not the first time that Omar has been criticized by Israel for criticizing his party members. In 2019, he apologized when members of both parties accused him of “anti-Semitism” because he said money was behind Israel’s support.
The latest outrage in the U.S. Congress came after a fragile peace deal was agreed and came just weeks after the 11-day Israeli war in besieged Gaza, which killed more than 250 Palestinians, including 66 children. At least 12 people were killed, including two children, in rocket attacks by Palestinian armed factions in Israel.