Democratic Rep. Ilhan Omar (MN) responded to the news that the Palestinian Authority is cracking down on LGBT groups on Monday by, once again, condemning Israel.
On Monday, The Jerusalem Post published a report on the Palestinian Authority’s crackdown on an LGBT grassroots group that operates in the West Bank and other Arab-Israeli areas. Al-Qaws for Sexual & Gender Diversity in Palestinian Society was planning to to hold a gathering for members in Nablus at the end of August, the Jerusalem Post reports, but the Palestinian Authority has now banned the group from carrying out any activities in Palestinian-controlled areas and the police are threatening to arrest anyone involved.
In explanation for why the group was barred from any activity in the area, Palestinian Authority Police spokesman Luay Zreikat accused the group of engaging in activities that are “harmful to the higher values and ideals of Palestinian society” and cited “dubious parties” attempting to “create discord and harm civic peace in Palestinian society.”
“The PA police will chase those behind the LGBTQ group and see to it that they are brought to trial once they are arrested, Zreikat warned,” the Jerusalem Post reports. “He further appealed to Palestinians to report to the police about any person connected to the group.”
A member of Al-Qaws told the Jerusalam Post that the group has experienced an “unprecedented” number of attacks since the PA police’s announcement. “They are calling us traitors and corrupt people and many are calling for our execution. We are afraid for our lives,” he said.
When the Post’s story began to gain traction online, some directing the story to Omar, the Democrat responded not by outright condemning the Palestinian Authority, but instead by again maligning Israel.
“I’m positive [Ilhan Omar], [Rashida Tlaib] and [Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez] will absolutely destroy the Palestinian Authority for this bigoted behavior … right? right? …. hello?” wrote Robby Starbuck in response to the report.
Omar replied to the tweet by first trashing Israel: “Pretending that this act somehow balances or mitigates Israel violating the dignity & rights of Palestinians — or undermines case for defending Palestinian rights — is deplorable!”
She followed that tweet up by posting one sentence generally condemning anti-LGBT efforts — with no direct reference to the Palestinian Authority — followed by another anti-Israel assertion accusing the democratic country of supposed “occupation” of Palestinian areas.
“LGBTQ rights are human rights and we should condemn any effort to infringe upon them,” she wrote in a follow-up tweet. “But we should also condemn any effort to equate this with the occupation or use this as a distraction.”
Omar and fellow Muslim Democratic congresswoman Rashida Tlaib have ratcheted up their criticism of Israel over the last week after the country barred them from visiting due to their promotion of the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement, an anti-Israel effort attempting to alienate Israel economically and politically. Israel’s decision is consistent with its 2017 policy barring foreign pro-BDS activists from entering the country.
When Tlaib submitted a special request to visit her relatives in the West Bank, Israel granted her request with the stipulation that she not engage in pro-BDS activities while she was there. Tlaib declined the invitation to visit.