Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) and other leading Democrats issued a statement Thursday afternoon thanking Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) for a statement she issued Thursday morning “clarifying” a tweet Omar posted equating the United States and Israel to the terrorist regimes, Hamas and the Taliban — sidestepping calls to address Omar’s shocking language.
In the tweet, Omar suggested that the United States and Israel had committed “unthinkable atrocities” on part with those committed by terrorist organizations, including Hamas and the Taliban. In a short video, Omar demanded to know where “people are supposed to go for justice” for “crimes against humanity.”
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.
— Rep. Ilhan Omar (@Ilhan) June 7, 2021
The incident set off a firestorm on social media and among Omar’s colleagues, though only around a dozen House Democrats, led by Illinois Rep. Brad Schneider, signed on to a statement publicly rebuking the “Squad” member and Minnesota Democrat.
“Equating the United States and Israel to Hamas and the Taliban is as offensive as it is misguided,” the group wrote. “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.”
In a statement issued Thursday morning, Omar claimed that she was merely asking Blinken about cases pending before the International Criminal Court. She was asking about “accountability for specific incidents regarding those ICC cases,” she said, not establishing a “moral comparison between Hamas and the Taliban and the U.S. and Israel.”
Rep. @IlhanMN puts out a statement clarifying her remarks earlier this week: "I was in no way equating terrorist organizations with democratic countries with well-established judicial systems. pic.twitter.com/5hlpo8tkdP
— Nicholas Wu (@nicholaswu12) June 10, 2021
“I was in no way equating terrorist organizations with democratic countries with well-established judicial systems,” Omar claimed, shying away from any commentary on the “unthinkable atrocities” she appeared to attribute to the U.S. and Israel.
Pelosi and fellow House Democrats, including Majority Leader Rep. Steny Hoyer (D-MD) and Majority Whip Rep. James Clyburn (D-SC), issued their own statement in appreciation of Omar’s “clarification.”
— Sahil Kapur (@sahilkapur) June 10, 2021
“Legitimate criticism of the policies of both the United States and Israel is protected by the values of free speech and democratic debate, and indeed, such criticism is essential to the strength and health of our democracies. But 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 group wrote.
“We welcome the clarification by Congresswoman Omar that there is no more equivalency between the U.S. and Israel and Hamas and the Taliban,” they said.
Omar, however, did not use the word “moral” in her clarification.
Omar also seems uninterested in apologizing for the impact of her remarks. Instead of acknowledging the statement made by a dozen of her colleagues, she blasted the group in a response — also issued Thursday morning — accusing the twelve Democrats of using “Islamophobic tropes.”
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
Pelosi has not indicated whether she will take any further action, beyond accepting Omar’s clarification.