Muslim congressman accused of “drawing false equivalents” between the United States, Israel, Hamas and the Taliban.
Democratic leaders in the U.S. House of Representatives sought to quell a rage among lawmakers Thursday over a request that Representative Ilhan Omar made about U.S. opposition to the Court’s information. International Criminal Court (ICC) in alleged war crimes in Israel and Afghanistan.
Omar, one of the three Muslim members of the United States House, had asked at a June 7 hearing where victims of war crimes committed by Israel and Hamas should go to seek justice if the The US opposes action at the CPI.
It was a fair but timely request and Secretary of State Antony Blinken responded that the courts of the United States and Israel can provide adequate judicial forums for such claims.
However, Omar’s question has sparked condemnation from some of his own Democratic colleagues and shouts of “anti-Semitism” from the Republican right amid a new round of death threats issued to his office.
“Equalizing the United States and Israel with Hamas and the Taliban is as offensive as it is deceptive,” a group of 11 Jewish Democrats said in a statement two days after Omar put his demand on Blinken.
We ask Rep. Omar to clarify his words by placing the United States and Israel in the same category as Hamas and the Taliban. pic.twitter.com/KfcnmpLRO6
– Rep. Brad Schneider (@RepSchneider) June 10, 2021
Omar walked away, calling the Democrats’ group statement “shameful.”
“The Islamophobic troops in their statement are offensive. The constant annoyance and silence from the signatories of this letter is unbearable,” Omar tweeted.
And Omar shared an example of the type of death threats she receives from her office every time she is prosecuted for charges like the ones she received this week.
TW: Every time I talk about human rights I am inundated with death threats. Here’s one we had.
“Muslims are terrorists. And it’s a raghead n *****. And every piece of anti-American communion that works for her, I hope she gets what comes *** for you. ” pic.twitter.com/Kid7qUgZDZ
– Ilhan Omar (@IlhanMN) June 10, 2021
Democratic House leaders jump into the fight hoping to avoid a conflagration like the one that consumed Democrats in 2019 when the House voted to condemn anti-Semitism and anti-Muslim discrimination after Omar had suggested that Israeli supporters of Israel have double allegiance.
“Legitimate criticism of U.S. and Israeli policies is protected by the values of freedom of expression and democratic debate,” six Democratic House leaders, including President Nancy Pelosi, said Thursday.
“But drawing false equivalences between democracies like the US and Israel and groups engaging in terrorism like Hamas and the Taliban will encourage prejudice and undermine progress,” the group said.
In a gesture toward his concerns, Omar offered an explanation of his request to Blinken to the House Foreign Affairs Committee.
“To be clear: the conversation was about responsibility for specific incidents involving those ICC cases, not a moral comparison between Hamas and the Taliban and the United States and Israel, “Omar said in a statement released by his office.
“I was in no way assimilating the terrorist organization to democratic countries with well-established judicial systems.”
But the war of words does not end here. Omar’s Progressive allies including Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez jumped to his defense.
Rather ill and tired of constant vilification, intentional mischaracterization, and public targeting of @Keepin_Mr.Shhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh! coming from our caucus.
They had no idea of the danger they put her by skipping private conversations and jumping to feed the cycles of targeted news around her.
– Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (@AOC) June 10, 2021
Meanwhile, Rep. Mo Brooks, a Republican ally of former President Donald Trump, told a radio interviewer in Alabama that Omar’s question stems from “the growing influence of the Islamic religion in the Democratic Party.”
“Keep in mind that Muslims – more than most people – have a great deal of animosity toward Israel and the Jewish faith,” Brooks said.
Omar condemned Brooks’ comments and indicated in a tweet that his Democratic colleagues had failed.
“When will our caucus rise up strongly against hatred towards its Muslim counterparts and its voters?” he asked.