Rep. Ilhan Omar is embroiled in controversy again. This time she finds herself facing criticism from several colleagues within her own party. It’s in response to this tweet.
The Minnesota Congresswoman is facing scrutiny from right-wingers and Conservative media, but what seems to be sparking the biggest response is the condemnation from her own side of the aisle. Twelve Democrats, led by Rep. Brad Schneider released the following statement:
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 United States and Israel are imperfect and, like all democracies, at times deserving of critique, but false equivalencies give cover to terrorist groups. We urge Congresswoman Omar to clarify her words placing the US and Israel in the same category as Hamas and the Taliban.
Omar isn’t backing down, instead, she wrote: “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.”
Rep. Rashid Tlaib (D-MI), the only person in Congress of Palestinian descent, 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.”
MSNBC’s Mehdi Hasan added, “I expect rightwing Republicans to go after Ilhan Omar. But what frustrates me is House Democrats so cynically joining in and some mainstream journalists getting ready to cover this ‘controversy’ while pretending not to see what’s going on here. Again.”
As the New York Times points out this isn’t the first time Omar’s “remarks about Israel have generated anger from fellow Democrats.”
In 2019, her Twitter comment that support in Washington for Israel was “all about the Benjamins baby” kicked off weeks of fighting that ended in a resolution on the House floor condemning bigotry and anti-Semitism. The comments played into anti-Semitic tropes that have their roots in the Middle Ages, when Jews were barred from entering most professions and thus became moneylenders — a task that Christians would not take on because of prohibitions against usury.
At the time, Omar apologized for the comments “after Ms. Pelosi and the entire Democratic leadership publicly chastised her for engaging in ‘deeply offensive’ anti-Semitic tropes.” Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi has yet to issue a statement on these latest comments.
The right will no doubt criticize Democrats for not taking enough action against Omar, but consider this reaction from Conservative commentator Ana Navarro:
It took Republicans days of public pressure and outrage to say diddly about Marjorie Loca Greene’s minimizing of the Holocaust and meaning of the yellow star. It took Democrats just hours to condemn @IlhanMN equating the US & Israel to Hamas and the Taliban. Good.