A question from Ilhan Omar sparks furore in US Congress


The Muslim Congresswoman accused the US, Israel, Hamas and the Taliban of drawing “false parallels”.

Democratic leaders in the United States House of Representatives sought to quell an uproar among legislators on Thursday over a question Representative Ilhan Omar asked about US opposition to the International Criminal Court (ICC) investigations into alleged war crimes in Israel and Afghanistan. asked about.

Omar, one of only three Muslim members of the US House, asked at a hearing on June 7 whether the victims of war crimes committed by Israel and Hamas should go to justice if the US opposes action at the ICC.

It was a pertinent but clear question and Secretary of State Antony Blinken responded that courts in the US and Israel could provide an adequate judicial forum for such claims.

Omar’s question, however, sparked condemnation by some of his own Democratic colleagues and “anti-Semitism” from Republicans amid a new round of death threats issued to his office.

“Comparing the United States and Israel to Hamas and the Taliban is as offensive as it is misleading,” a group of 11 Jewish Democrats said in a statement, two days after Omar asked Blinken his question. said in a statement.

Omar pushed back, calling the group of Democrats’ statements “shameful”.

“Islamophobic tropes are offensive in his statement. The constant harassment and silence by the signatories of this letter is intolerable”, Omar tweeted.

And Omar shared an example of the kind of death threats his office receives whenever he is targeted by the allegations he received this week.

House Democratic leaders jumped into the fray in 2019 hoping to avoid a confrontation that devoured Democrats, when the House voted to condemn anti-Semitic and anti-Muslim discrimination after Omar suggested that Israel’s American supporters have a double allegiance.

Six House Democratic leaders, including Speaker Nancy Pelosi, said in a statement Thursday that “legitimate criticism of the policies of both the United States and Israel is protected by the values ​​of free speech and democratic debate.”

“But creating false parallels between democracies such as the US and Israel and groups involved in terrorism such as Hamas and the Taliban fuels prejudice and undermines progress,” the group said.

Pointing to his concerns, Omar offered to explain his question to Blinken on the House Foreign Affairs Committee.

“To be clear: the conversation was about accountability for specific incidents in relation to those ICC cases, not moral comparisons between Hamas and the Taliban and the US and Israel,” Omar said in a statement released by his office.

“I was in no way comparing terrorist organizations with democratic countries with well-established judicial systems.”

But the war of words did not end here. Omar’s progressive allies, including Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, jumped to his rescue.

Meanwhile, Representative Mo Brooks, a Republican ally of former President Donald Trump, described Omar’s question to an Alabama radio interviewer as stemming from “the growing influence of Islamic religion in the Democratic Party.”

Brooks claimed, “Keep in mind that Muslims – compared to most people – have a great deal of animosity towards Israel and the Jewish faith.”

Omar condemned Brooks’ comments and explained in a tweet that his Democratic allies had failed to address it.

“When will our caucus stand firmly against the hatred of our Muslim allies and constituents?” He asked.

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