A Muslim deputy accused of having “established false equivalences” between the United States, Israel, Hamas and the Taliban.
Democratic leaders in the United States House of Representatives sought to quell lawmakers ‘fury on Thursday following a question by Representative Ilhan Omar about the United States’ opposition to the International Criminal Court inquiries ( ICC) on alleged war crimes in Israel and Afghanistan.
Omar, one of only three Muslim members of the United States House, had asked during a hearing on June 7 that victims of war crimes committed by Israel and Hamas should seek justice if the The United States opposes action at the ICC.
It was a fair but pointed question and Secretary of State Antony Blinken responded that courts in the United States and Israel can provide adequate judicial forums for such claims.
However, Omar’s question sparked condemnation from some of his own Democratic colleagues and cries of “anti-Semitism” from the Republican right-wing amid a new round of death threats against his office.
“To equate the United States and Israel with Hamas and the Taliban is as offensive as it is misguided,” a group of 11 Jewish Democrats said in a statement two days after Omar posed his question to Blinken.
We urge Representative Omar to clarify his words by putting the United States and Israel in the same category as Hamas and the Taliban pic.twitter.com/KfcnmpLRO6
– Representative Brad Schneider (@RepSchneider) June 10, 2021
Omar pushed back, calling the Democrat Group statement “shameful.”
“The Islamophobic tropes in their statement are offensive. The constant harassment and silence of the signatories of this letter is unbearable, ”Omar tweeted.
And Omar shared an example of the kind of death threats her office receives whenever she is the target of accusations like the ones she has received this week.
TW: Every time I speak out about human rights, I am inundated with death threats. Here is one that we just received.
“Muslims are terrorists. And that’s a n ***** raghead. And every anti-American Communist shit that works for her, I hope you get what you can expect. ” pic.twitter.com/Kid7qUgZDZ
– Ilhan Omar (@IlhanMN) June 10, 2021
Democratic House leaders jumped into the fray in hopes of averting a conflagration like the one that consumed Democrats in 2019 when the House voted to condemn anti-Semitism and anti-Muslim discrimination after Omar suggested that US supporters of Israel have dual allegiances.
“Legitimate criticism of the policies of the United States and Israel is protected by the values of free speech and democratic debate,” six Democratic House leaders, including Speaker Nancy Pelosi, said in a statement Thursday. .
“But establishing false equivalents between democracies like the United States and Israel and terrorist groups like Hamas and the Taliban fosters prejudice and undermines progress,” the group said.
In a gesture towards their concerns, Omar offered a clarification of his question to Blinken at the House Foreign Affairs Committee.
“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, ”Omar said in a statement released by his office.
“I did not in any way equate terrorist organizations with democratic countries with well-established judicial systems.”
But the war of words did not end there. Omar’s progressive allies, including Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, have stood up for him.
Quite sick and tired of the constant defamation, intentional misrepresentation and public targeting of @IlhanMN 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
Meanwhile, Representative Mo Brooks, a Republican ally of former President Donald Trump, told an Alabama radio interviewer that Omar’s question stemmed from “the growing influence of the Islamic religion in the Democratic Party “.
“Keep in mind that Muslims – more than most people – have great animosity towards Israel and the Jewish faith,” Brooks said.
Omar condemned Brooks’ comments and pointed out in a tweet that his fellow Democrats had not responded to them.
“When will our caucus stand up against hatred towards their Muslim colleagues and voters?” she asked.