UPDATE 6/11/21 VIA AP: Rep. Ilhan Omar tried edging away Thursday from a bitter fight with Jewish Democratic lawmakers who’d accused her of likening the U.S. and Israel to Hamas and Afghanistan’s Taliban, saying her remarks were “in no way equating terrorist organizations with democratic countries.”
A three-sentence statement by the Minnesota Democrat also said her comments were “not a moral comparison between Hamas and the Taliban and the U.S. and Israel,” and seemed to dial back a more confrontational tone she’d taken earlier.
In a series of tweets, Omar had said her critics’ public rebuke of her was “shameful,” accused them of “islamophobic tropes” and said she was merely seeking justice “for all victims of crimes against humanity.”
(ORIGINAL ARTICLE – HEADLINE USA) Top House Democrats including Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif. obliquely criticized Rep. Ilhan Omar, D-Minn., Thursday for comments equating sovereign nations to Islamic terrorist groups.
Six top members of Democratic leadership released a joint statement in which they accused the radical, pro-Palestinian Squad member of “drawing false equivalencies between democracies like the U.S. and Israel and groups that engage in terrorism like Hamas and the Taliban.”
The statement was precipitated by a comparison Omar made on Twitter between the U.S., Israel, Hamas and the Taliban in regards to human rights.
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.
I asked @SecBlinken where people are supposed to go for justice. pic.twitter.com/tUtxW5cIow
— Rep. Ilhan Omar (@Ilhan) June 7, 2021
“We must have the same level of accountability and justice for all victims of crimes against humanity,” Omar tweeted, suggesting that the response to terrorist provocation was itself a form of terrorism.
In addition to Pelosi, House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer and Majority Whip James Clyburn were among those to voice their disapproval.
Such rhetoric “foments prejudice and undermines progress toward a future of peace and security for all,” they said in the statement. “We welcome the clarification by Congresswoman Omar that there is no moral equivalency between the U.S. and Israel and Hamas and the Taliban.”
Republicans also piled on criticism.
“Imagine thinking there is a moral equivalency between freedom-loving democracies and terrorist organizations,” tweeted the official account of Stand For America, the political action committee founded by former US Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley according to the New York Post.
But Omar was defended by her fellow radical Rep. Alexandria Ocasio–Cortez, D-NY, who claimed that the anger generated by Democrats was putting Omar at risk for violence.
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.
— Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (@AOC) June 10, 2021
The controversy was not the first time that Omar has come under fire for remarks that appeared sympathetic to Islamic extremism.
She was excoriated over a 2019 comment to the Council on American–Islamic Relations in which she reduced the Al-Qaeda sponsored 9/11 attacks in which thousands were killed to “some people did something.”
Democrats also had previously passed a watered-down resolution that was intended to condemn Omar’s specific use of anti-Semitic rhetoric in her past tweets.
But after pressure from the Congressional Black Caucus and others on the extreme Left, they passed a more generic condemnation of nondescript “hate speech” that seemed more targeted toward then-President Donald Trump.
The watered-down request for “clarification” over Omar’s latest gaffe came out of a meeting of the unofficial caucus of House Jewish Democrats in which Rep. Brad Schneider, D-Ill., had made the case for a statement calling out Omar, the Jewish Telegraphic Agency reported.
Echoing the dilemma that confronts many Jewish Democrats, who find themselves torn between their cultural ties to Israel and the growing support for Palestinian extremists within their party, only 12 of the 25 caucus members raised objections.
In their statement, Democrat leaders made sure to qualify their remarks by noting there was plenty of blame to go around.
“Legitimate criticism of the policies of both the United States and Israel is protected by the values of free speech and democratic debate,” they said. “And indeed, such criticism is essential to the strength and health of our democracies.”
Headline USA’s Ben Sellers contributed to this report.