Ilhan Omar lashes out after fellow Democrats rebuke her for comparing U.S. and Israel to terrorist groups

Ilhan Omar lashes out after fellow Democrats rebuke her for comparing U.S. and Israel to terrorist groups
AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite
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Fresh off of a rebuke from House Speaker Nancy Pelosi over her comments comparing Israel and the United States to terrorist organizations, Rep. Ilhan Omar lashed out at a dozen of her colleagues for their statement condemning her for the same thing.

On Thursday, 12 Democrats condemned Omar for her comments equating the United States and Israel to Hamas and the Taliban as “offensive” and “misguided.” 

“Ignoring the differences between democracies governed by the rule of law and contemptible organizations that engage in terrorism at best discredits one’s intended argument and at worst reflects deep-seated prejudice,” said the Democrats, which included Reps. Brad Schneider (IL), Jake Auchincloss (MA), Ted Deutch (FL), Lois Frankel (FL), Josh Gottheimer (NJ), Elaine Luria (VA), Kathy Manning (NC), Jerrold Nadler (NY), Dean Phillips (MN), Kim Schrier (WA), Brad Sherman (CA), and Debbie Wasserman Schultz (FL).

“The United States and Israel are imperfect, and like all democracies, at times deserving of critique, but false equivalence give cover to terrorist groups,” they said. “We urge Congresswoman Omar to clarify her words placing the U.S. and Israel in the same category as Hamas and the Taliban.”

Omar issued a response to their remarks claiming that her words, which were posted in a Twitter video alongside a clip of her line of questioning to Secretary of State Antony Blinken, were taken out of context.

“On Monday, I asked Secretary of State Antony Blinken about ongoing International Criminal Court investigations,” Omar wrote in a statement. “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.”

Omar’s clarification did little to shed light on her initial statement. She followed up her remarks with a second statement accusing the Jewish Democrats of using “Islamophobic tropes” and of “constant harassment.” 

“It’s shameful for colleagues who call me when they need my support to now put out a statement asking for ‘clarification’ and not just call,” Omar wrote on Twitter, suggesting that none of them had reached out to her. “The Islamophobic tropes in this statement are offensive. The constant harassment and silencing from the signers of this letter is unbearable.”

“Citing an open case against Israel, U.S., Hamas, and Taliban in the ICC isn’t comparison or from ‘deeply seated prejudice.’ You might try to undermine these investigations or deny justice to their victims, but history has taught us that the truth can’t be hidden or silenced forever,” said Omar, who shared a clip of a purported death threat she claimed was incited by articles criticizing her. She claimed that criticism towards her “often fuels Islamophobia.”

Other members of the so-called Squad, which includes Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Rashida Tlaib, joined the fray with their own set of remarks to condemn their Jewish Democratic colleagues.

Tlaib argued that the group’s “obsession with policing [Omar] is sick. She has the courage to call out human rights abuses no matter who is responsible. That’s better than colleagues who look away if it serves their politics.”

Ocasio-Cortez said that she was “pretty sick and tired of the constant vilification, intentional mischaracterization, and public targeting of [Omar] coming from our caucus.” 

“[T]hey have no concept for the danger they put her in by skipping private conversations and leaping to fueling targeted news cycles around her,” added Ocasio-Cortez.

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