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Jewish Democrats clash with Ilhan Omar after comments on U.S. and Israel

June 10, 2021
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A group of Jewish Democrats in the House is publicly feuding with Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.) after she tweeted about “unthinkable atrocities committed by the U.S., Hamas, Israel, Afghanistan, and the Taliban,” in reference to investigations by the International Criminal Court.

Why it matters: The fight threatens to reopen a fault line within the party that could cost Omar her seat on the House Foreign Affairs Committee, writes Punchbowl News.

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  • The House previously passed a resolution by Democrats condemning anti-Semitism in response to comments on Israel by Omar, and Republicans have long accused the Minnesota congresswoman of anti-Semitism — a charge she denies.

  • Unlike the 2019 resolution, a statement issued by Democrats late Wednesday called out Omar by name.

Driving the news: “We must have the same level of accountability and justice for all victims of crimes against humanity,” Omar tweeted at Secretary of State Antony Blinken Monday, in reference to U.S. opposition to the International Criminal Court investigating potential war crimes in the Gaza conflict and Afghanistan.

  • “We have seen unthinkable atrocities committed by the U.S., Hamas, Israel, Afghanistan, and the Taliban,” she wrote.

A group of 12 Jewish House Democrats then issued a statement calling on Omar “to clarify her words placing the US and Israel in the same category as Hamas and the Taliban.”

  • “Equating the United States and Israel to Hamas and the Taliban is as offensive as it is misguided,” they 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.”

  • “The United States and Israel are imperfect and, like all democracies, at times deserving of critique, but false equivalencies give cover to terrorist groups,” the Democrats added.

Omar responded in a tweet, saying it was “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,” Omar wrote.

  • “Citing an open case against Israel, US, Hamas & Taliban in the ICC isn’t comparison or from ‘deeply seated prejudice,'” she added. “You might try to undermine these investigations or deny justice to their victims but history has thought us that the truth can’t be hidden or silenced forever.”

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