Rep. Ilhan OmarIlhan OmarHouse candidate in Chicago says gun violence prompted her to run Antisemitism isn’t a partisan issue — it’s a crisis both parties must fight together Omar reintroduces bill to repeal law used to justify Trump’s Muslim ban, Japanese Americans’ internment MORE (D-Minn.) is feuding with Jewish House Democrats about Israel — again.
A dozen Jewish Democrats who support Israel are publicly pushing back on Omar, a Somali refugee and one of the first two Muslim women elected to Congress, for appearing to compare the U.S. and Israel to Hamas and the Taliban while discussing war crimes.
“Equating the United States and Israel to Hamas and the Taliban is as offensive as it is 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,” the 12 Democrats, led by Rep. Brad SchneiderBradley (Brad) Scott SchneiderThe Memo: Marjorie Taylor Greene exposes GOP establishment’s lack of power GOP leaders face new calls to boot Greene Democratic leaders discussed restraining order for Ocasio-Cortez against Greene: report MORE (D-Ill.), a staunch Israel ally, said in a joint statement.
The group also called on Omar to “clarify” her comments.
“The United States and Israel are imperfect and, like all democracies, at times deserving of critique, but false equivalencies give cover to terrorist groups,” the lawmakers said. “We urge Congresswoman Omar to clarify her words placing the US and Israel in the same category as Hamas and the Taliban.”
@RepAuchincloss, @RepTedDeutch, @RepLoisFrankel, @RepJoshG, @RepElaineLuria, @RepKManning, @RepJerryNadler, @RepDeanPhillips, @RepKimSchrier, @BradSherman, @RepDWStweets
We urge Rep Omar to clarify her words placing the US and Israel in the same category as Hamas and the Taliban pic.twitter.com/KfcnmpLRO6
— Rep. Brad Schneider (@RepSchneider) June 10, 2021
The eleven other Democrats who signed on to the Schneider statement are Judiciary Chairman Jerry NadlerJerrold (Jerry) Lewis NadlerNadler on Facebook’s Trump move: ‘They have an absolute right to ban liars’ Overnight Defense: US nearing halfway point of Afghanistan withdrawal | Army soldiers mistakenly raid olive oil factory House Democrats introduce bill to protect transgender military dependents MORE (N.Y.), former Democratic National Committee Chair Debbie Wasserman SchultzDeborah (Debbie) Wasserman SchultzShakespeare gets a congressional hearing in this year’s ‘Will on the Hill’ Theatres are a vital educational, creative and economic resource to communities Democrats fume over silence from DeSantis on Florida election MORE (Fla.), Problem Solvers Caucus Co-Chair Josh GottheimerJoshua (Josh) GottheimerHouse moderates unveil .25T infrastructure plan Democrats debate shape of new Jan. 6 probe Overnight Defense: Austin nears decision on military sexual assault reform | Dems wage high-profile fight | Lawmakers push to replenish Iron Dome MORE (N.J.), Ethics Committee Chair Ted DeutchTheodore (Ted) Eliot DeutchShakespeare gets a congressional hearing in this year’s ‘Will on the Hill’ On the Money: Tech giants face rising pressure from shareholder activists | House Democrats urge IRS to reverse Trump-era rule reducing donor disclosure | Sen. Warren, Jamie Dimon spar over overdraft fees at Senate hearing House Democrats urge IRS to reverse Trump-era rule reducing donor disclosure MORE (Fla.) and Reps. Jake Auchincloss (Mass.), Lois FrankelLois Jane FrankelDemocrats fume over silence from DeSantis on Florida election Florida Rep. Alcee Hastings dies at 84 Bill introduced to create RBG monument on Capitol Hill MORE (Fla.), Elaine LuriaElaine Goodman LuriaVirginia attorney general survives primary challenge McAuliffe looms large as Virginia Democrats pick governor nominee Biden faces growing pressure to take action on antisemitism MORE (Va.), Kathy Manning (N.C.), Dean PhillipsDean PhillipsShakespeare gets a congressional hearing in this year’s ‘Will on the Hill’ Democrats plot next move after GOP sinks Jan. 6 probe Jewish House Democrats call for Biden to address antisemitism MORE (Minn.), Kim SchrierKimberly (Kim) Merle SchrierThe Hill’s Morning Report – Presented by the National Shooting Sports Foundation – At 50 days in charge, Democrats hail American Rescue Plan as major win Democrats spar over COVID-19 vaccine strategy Democrats point fingers on whether Capitol rioters had inside help MORE (Wash.) and Brad ShermanBradley (Brad) James ShermanLawmakers tout bipartisan support for resolution criticizing Iran’s government Biden funding decision inflames debate over textbooks for Palestinian refugees Iran talks set up delicate dance for Biden team MORE (Calif.).
The controversy began when Omar was questioning Secretary of State Antony BlinkenAntony BlinkenOvernight Defense: Austin directs classified initiatives to counter China | Biden emphasizes alliances in speech to troops | Lockdown lifted at Texas base after reported shooting US, Iran nuclear talks to resume this weekend Pentagon announces new classified programs to counter China MORE during a House Foreign Affairs Committee hearing Monday about the International Criminal Court’s investigations of alleged crimes by the Taliban and the U.S. in Afghanistan, in addition to allegations against Hamas and Israel in the Gaza conflict.
“We must have the same level of accountability and justice for all victims of crimes against humanity. We have seen unthinkable atrocities committed by the U.S., Hamas, Israel, Afghanistan, and the Taliban,” Omar wrote in a tweet earlier this week with a video of her questioning. “I asked @SecBlinken where people are supposed to go for justice.”
Sherman, a senior member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, signed on to the joint statement but issued even more pointed criticism of Omar on his own.
“It’s not news that Ilhan Omar would make outrageous and clearly false statements about America and Israel. What’s newsworthy is that she admits Hamas is guilty of ‘unthinkable atrocities.’ It’s time for all of Israel’s detractors to condemn Hamas. And it’s time for all those of good will to reject any moral equivalency between the U.S. and Israel on one hand, and Hamas and the Taliban on the other,” Sherman said in a statement.
But Omar, a member of the group of progressive women of color known as the “squad,” is showing no signs of backing down.
Shortly after Schneider tweeted his statement about 11 p.m. Wednesday, Omar took to Twitter to call her colleagues “shameful” for issuing a public statement criticizing her instead of speaking to her directly. She further implied that her fellow lawmakers were being overly harsh out of inherent anti-Muslim bias against her.
“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 in a tweet responding to Schneider.
“The islamophobic tropes in this statement are offensive,” Omar continued. “The constant harassment & silencing from the signers of this letter is unbearable.”
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 reached out to the Democrats organizing the joint statement before it was released to “offer clarification,” but her calls were not returned, according to her office. Schneider’s office didn’t respond to a request for comment.
House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthyKevin McCarthyWisconsin state lawmaker compares museum mask policy to Nazi Party Harris hears criticism from all sides amid difficult first trip Cheney compares Trump claims to Chinese Communist Party: ‘It’s very dangerous’ MORE (R-Calif.) called on Speaker Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiOvernight Health Care: US to donate 500 million Pfizer doses to other countries: reports | GOP’s attacks on Fauci at center of pandemic message | Federal appeals court blocks Missouri abortion ban Meet the most powerful woman in Washington not named Pelosi or Harris The Hill’s Morning Report – Presented by Facebook – Biden detours on infrastructure ahead of June vote MORE (D-Calif.) to “act” in response to Omar’s comments, but didn’t specify what he thinks should be done.
“Rep. Omar’s anti-Semitic & anti-American comments are abhorrent. Speaker Pelosi’s continued failure to address the issues in her caucus sends a message to the world that Democrats are tolerant of anti-Semitism and sympathizing with terrorists,” McCarthy tweeted Thursday. “It’s time for the Speaker to act.”
Rep. Omar’s anti-Semitic & anti-American comments are abhorrent.
Speaker Pelosi’s continued failure to address the issues in her caucus sends a message to the world that Democrats are tolerant of anti-Semitism and sympathizing with terrorists.
It’s time for the Speaker to act.
— Kevin McCarthy (@GOPLeader) June 10, 2021
But the National Republican Congressional Committee, the House GOP campaign arm, is calling on Democrats to demand Omar’s removal from the Foreign Affairs Committee.
A spokesperson for Pelosi didn’t immediately respond to an inquiry from The Hill.
Rep. Rashida TlaibRashida Harbi TlaibCongressional Black Caucus blocking Black House Republican from joining group New report reignites push for wealth tax Overnight Health Care: Fauci urges vaccination to protect against Delta variant | White House: ‘Small fraction’ of COVID-19 vaccine doses will be unused MORE (D-Mich.), the only other Muslim woman elected to Congress, came to Omar’s defense.
“I am tired of colleagues (both D+R) demonizing @IlhanMN. Their obsession with policing her 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,” Tlaib tweeted.
Another fellow progressive, Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-CortezAlexandria Ocasio-CortezOvernight Energy: Company officially nixes Keystone XL pipeline | Government watchdog finds failings, but no Trump influence, in clearing of Lafayette Square Ocasio-Cortez: Democrats ‘burning precious time’ with GOP talks Democrats blast Biden climate adviser over infrastructure remarks MORE (D-N.Y.), said that the Democrats taking issue with Omar’s remarks should have settled it privately instead of potentially making her a bigger target for threats.
“Pretty sick & tired of the constant vilification, intentional mischaracterization, and public targeting of @IlhanMN coming from our caucus. They have no concept for the danger they put her in by skipping private conversations & leaping to fueling targeted news cycles around her,” Ocasio-Cortez tweeted.
It’s not the first time Omar has openly feuded with Jewish and pro-Israel members of her party.
In 2019, the House passed a resolution condemning anti-Semitism, racism and Islamophobia after Omar questioned the pro-Israel lobby as a “political influence in this country that says it is OK to push for allegiance to a foreign country,” a sentiment seen by many as based on an antisemitic trope.
Omar also drew ire for tweeting that U.S. politicians’ support for Israel was “all about the Benjamins,” which was also viewed as as antisemitic for invoking tropes about Jewish people using money for influence.
Omar said Thursday that she is receiving death threats. She posted audio of a person saying: “Muslims are terrorists. And she is a raghead n*****. And every anti-American communist piece of s*** that works for her, I hope you get what’s f***ing coming for you.”
TW: Every time I speak out on human rights I am inundated with death threats. Here is one we just got.
“Muslims are terrorists. And she is a raghead n*****. And every anti-American communist piece of s*** that works for her, I hope you get what’s f***ing coming for you.” pic.twitter.com/Kid7qUgZDZ
— Ilhan Omar (@IlhanMN) June 10, 2021
—Updated at 1:27 p.m.