Ilhan Omar: Biden Should Back Referring Accused Israeli Officials To International Criminal Court
Representative Ilhan Omar, a Democrat from Minnesota, smiles following a House Foreign Affairs Committee hearing in Washington, D.C., U.S., on Friday, Feb. 28, 2020. Secretary of State Michael Pompeo defended the Trump administration's Mideast policy and the targeted killing of Iranian General Qassem Soleimani last month, as the top U.S. diplomat made a rare appearance Friday before House lawmakers.
Sarah Silbiger/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) told a foreign news organization last week that the Biden administration should support referring Israeli officials accused of war crimes to the International Criminal Court (ICC).

Omar’s remarks come after State Department spokesperson Ned Price said earlier this month that the Biden administration opposes actions that “seek to target Israel unfairly.”

“Should the Biden administration support the referral of Israeli officials accused of committing war crimes to the ICC?” an Al-Araby TV (Qatar) host asked Omar.

“I do (support this). It is also really important for us to remember that the international courts play an important role in rendering justice for people who are not getting justice within their borders,” Omar responded. “The U.S. should not delegitimize the ICC and the things it must do. And it is shocking that the legitimacy of the ICC is something that is being questioned. Their ability to investigate, probe, and render justice is being undermined here in the U.S.”

“Will you demand that the Biden administration and the State Department support the referral of Israel to the ICC?” the host pressed.

“I have. This is an important call and we all must guarantee that the ICC remains an independent body,” Omar answered. “It is an international court that has the authority and the ability to investigate and render justice for people who are denied justice within their borders. No sovereign state should stop the ICC from doing what they should do.”


Later in the interview, the host asked Omar, “Do you support the removal of the Houthis from the terror list?”

“The last administration took a lot of actions, including the designation of certain groups as terrorists,” Omar responded. “We welcome this willingness from this administration to reverse course, cancel, these decisions, and restore some order and normalcy in regards to who belongs on that list. … It is definite that the genocide against the Uyghur Muslims in China is something that deserves serious attention from this administration. It also deserves the attention of every single person who is against the massive human rights violations in the world. … The United States can play a huge role (in this regard). As you know, the U.S. played a huge role in regards to the Rwanda genocide, it played a huge role in regards to Bosnia, and even in World War II with the Holocaust. We have to look at this serious and devastating situation and do everything we can to hold the Chinese government accountable for this genocide that is taking place before our eyes.”

Omar also discussed how the Biden administration has not yet appointed any Muslims to high-level positions within the administration.

“We have certainly not seen high official appointment of Muslims by the Biden administration, but there are a number of Muslims who are part of this administration,” she said. “This is something we will have to continue to push for, in order to make sure that the Muslims remain an important part of the social fabric in the United States. They should not just be a part of the administration, but Muslims should also run for president, and take leadership roles in this country.”

“The new Secretary of State Anthony Blinken said that the Biden administration would not return the U.S. Embassy from Jerusalem, to which it was transferred by Donald Trump, and that this administration would continue to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. What has changed, then, from the Trump administration?” the host asked.

“It doesn’t currently seem like a lot will be changed, but there will be an opportunity for us to push for the United States to stand for its values and principles,” she said.

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