Jewish Democrats censor Ilhan Omar for comparing Israel, US to Hamas, and Taliban
WASHINGTON (JTA) – Jewish Democrats in the U.S. House of Representatives met on Wednesday to discuss anti-Semitism. The 25 members of the unofficial caucus ended up ranting at fellow Democrat Ilhan Omar of Minnesota for appearing to compare Hamas and the Taliban to Israel and the United States.
It was the second meeting of Jewish Democrats in recent weeks. The first focused on the Israel-Hamas conflict and the accompanying surge in anti-Semitic incidents in the United States.
Wednesday’s assembly focused on a tweet from Omar from Monday.
“We must have the same level of accountability and justice for all victims of crimes against humanity,” Omar said. “We have seen unthinkable atrocities committed by the United States, Hamas, Israel, Afghanistan and the Taliban. “
A number of lawmakers at the meeting want to name Omar in a statement saying his claim “discredits” the party, two sources said. Such a statement would be unprecedented since the Gaza conflict: Jewish members have denounced statements about Israel by left-wing party lawmakers, but have yet to name them. (Jewish lawmakers named Omar in a separate controversy in 2019.) Other participants in the call were reluctant to release a statement.
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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 United States, Hamas, Israel, Afghanistan and the Taliban.
– Representative Ilhan Omar (@Ilhan) June 7, 2021
There seems to be unanimous frustration with Omar’s comment, but not on how to respond to it. Among those pushing to convict Omar by name were Brad Schneider of Illinois, Brad Sherman of California and Debbie Wasserman Schultz of Florida. Jamie Raskin of Maryland, a prominent progressive, appeared hesitant but did not categorically object to a statement, the sources said. No one on the call said they believed the tweet was anti-Semitic, the sources added.
Omar’s critics in the Jewish Democratic caucus were considering sending their own letter if they failed to persuade the entire caucus to sign, a source said.
Other participants included Jerry Nadler from New York, Ted Deutch from Florida, Jan Schakowsky from Illinois, Elissa Slotkin from Michigan and Elaine Luria from Virginia. In 2019, Schakowsky joined Omar in a campaign against anti-Semitism and Islamophobia.
Republicans berated Democrats for failing to identify alleged offenders in their ranks, noting that they have convicted one of their own – Georgia Representative Marjorie Taylor Greene – for her statements fueled by a Holocaust plot .
Omar’s tweet contained a video of his questioning of Secretary of State Antony Blinken in Congress that day on why the Biden administration opposes efforts by the International Criminal Court to investigate nationals of certain countries for alleged war crimes.
Omar said she does not believe Hamas, the Afghan government, the Taliban and Israel are reaching the threshold of a military justice system sufficient to independently pursue justice.
“I have not seen any evidence in either case,” the Afghan and Gaza conflicts, “that national courts can and will prosecute war crimes and crimes against humanity,” she said. . “Where do we think victims are supposed to get justice and what justice mechanisms do you support? “
Jeremy Slevin, spokesperson for Omar, said his question was to thank the Biden administration for withdrawing sanctions against the ICC for considering prosecution of US and Israeli officials, and to ask what mechanism victims of alleged war crimes could gain access outside the ICC.
“Representative. Omar thanked Secretary of State Blinken for the administration’s decision to repeal sanctions and asked about justice mechanisms for victims of war crimes outside of the criminal court,” a- he told the Jewish Telegraphic Agency. “As usual, the far right is stirring up hatred against Representative Omar over a technical question on an ongoing investigation. That is the role of the congressman as as a member of Congress charged with federal oversight to keep track of the facts, question the administration and ensure the public understands that our government should not stop anyone from seeking justice. ”
Israeli and pro-Israel officials have expressed outrage at Omar’s tweet.
“Beyond the shocking. Beyond the Blameworthy, ”David Harris, CEO of the American Jewish Committee, said on Twitter. “Will members of his own party speak?” Schneider was involved with AJC before entering Congress.
Sherman, who also has a pro-Israel background, posted: “It is not news that Ilhan Omar would make outrageous and clearly false statements about America and Israel. What is of note is that she admits that Hamas is guilty of “unspeakable atrocities”. It is time for all detractors of Israel to condemn Hamas. And it is time for all those of good will to reject any moral equivalence between the United States and Israel on the one hand, and Hamas and the Taliban on the other.
And this tweet from Gilad Erdan, the Israeli ambassador to Washington and to the United Nations: “How can a congressman compare Israel and the United States – two vibrant democracies with strong legal and military systems that strive to to avoid civilian casualties deliberately murdering civilians? “