Minnesota Representative Ilhan Omar is under fire by Jewish House Democrats for comparing the United States and Israel with the Hamas and the Taliban.
On Monday, Omar tweeted, “we have seen unthinkable atrocities committed by the U.S., Hamas, Israel, Afghanistan, and the Taliban.”
“We must have the same level of accountability and justice for all victims of crimes against humanity,” the representative wrote.
A group of Jewish lawmakers, including House Judiciary Chairman Jerry Nadler said in a statement that Omar’s comments are “offensive” and “misguided.”
“Ignoring the differences between democracies governed by rule of law and contemptible organizations that engage in terrorism at best discredits one’s intended argument and at worst reflects deep-seated prejudice,” Jewish House lawmakers said in a joint statement. “[F]alse equivalencies give cover to terrorist groups.”
Omar says that the lawmakers’ statement is “shameful.”
“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. The islamophobic tropes in this statement are offensive. The constant harassment (and) silencing from the signers of this letter is unbearable,” Omar wrote on Twitter.
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.
The islamophobic tropes in this statement are offensive. The constant harassment & silencing from the signers of this letter is unbearable. https://t.co/37dy2UduW0
— Ilhan Omar (@IlhanMN) June 10, 2021
Omar says that she was citing an open case in the International Criminal Court against Israel, the U.S., Hamas, and the Taliban.
The ICC is investigating alleged war crimes by Israel in the Palestinian territories. The ICC has also previously authorized an investigation into alleged war crimes and crimes against humanity committed in Afghanistan by US armed forces, the CIA, and the Taliban.
During a House Foreign Affairs hearing, Omar asked about President Joe Biden’s administration’s opposition against the ICC investigations.
“I haven’t seen any evidence in either cases that domestic courts both can and will prosecute alleged war crimes and crimes against humanity,” Omar said. “So in both of these cases, if domestic courts can’t or won’t pursue justice and we oppose the ICC, where do you think the victims of these supposed crimes can go for justice?
Secretary of State Tony Blinken responded that both the U.S. and Israel have mechanisms to ensure accountability in areas where there are concerns about the use of force and human rights abuses.
Omar has since issued a statement clarifying her remarks.
Her clarification stated that her conversation with Blinken was about “accountability for specific incidents” under investigation by the International Criminal Court: “I was in no way equating terrorist organizations with democratic countries with well-established judicial systems,” Omar said.
After Omar’s clarification, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and the other top five House Democratic leaders issued a joint statement that served to calm the interparty squabble.
“Drawing false equivalencies between democracies like the U.S. and Israel and groups that engage in terrorism like Hamas and the Taliban foments prejudice and undermines progress toward a future of peace and security for all,” the leaders said. “We welcome the clarification by Congresswoman Omar that there is no moral equivalency between the U.S. and Israel and Hamas and the Taliban.”