A Muslim congresswoman has been accused of making “false analogies” between the US, Israel, Hamas, and the Taliban. Representative Ilhan Omar asked a question concerning US opposition to the International Criminal Court (ICC) investigation into potential war crimes in Israel and Afghanistan, which sparked outrage among Democrats in the US House of Representatives on Thursday.
— Al Jazeera English (@AJEnglish) June 10, 2021
Question from a Muslim member of the US House of Representatives
In a meeting on June 7, Omar, one of only three Muslim members of the US House of Representatives, asked where victims of war crimes committed by Israel and Hamas should go to seek justice if the US opposes action in the International Criminal Court.
Secretary of State Antony Blinken said that courts in the United States and Israel can provide proper judicial forums for such allegations, which was a reasonable but pointed question.
Omar’s query, on the other hand, drew censure from some of her Democratic colleagues and shouts of “anti-Semitism” from the Republican right, as well as a new round of death threats to her office.
The comparison of the US and Israel to Hamas and the Taliban is both disrespectful and misguided, according to a group of 11 Jewish Democrats who issued a statement two days after Omar asked Blinken her question.
Omar retaliated, calling the Democrats’ statement “shameful.”
Their statement contains Islamophobic clichés that are offensive. The persistent abuse and silence from the letter’s signers are intolerable, according to Ilhan Omar.
And she gave an example of the type of death threats that her office receives when she is accused of something like what she was accused of this week.
The reaction of the Democratic leaders of the parliament
House Democratic leaders stepped into the debate in an attempt to avert a conflagration like the one that engulfed the party in 2019 when the House voted to condemn anti-Semitism and anti-Muslim prejudice after Omar argued that US supporters of Israel have multiple allegiances.
Six House Democratic leaders, including Speaker Nancy Pelosi, said in a statement Thursday that legitimate criticism of US and Israeli actions is protected by the norms of free speech and democratic debate.
False equivalences between democracies like the United States and Israel and terrorist groups like Hamas and the Taliban, on the other hand, breed prejudice and stymie progress, according to the group.In response to their worries, Ilhan Omar offered Blinken at the House Foreign Affairs Committee a clarification of her query.
To be clear, the discussion was about accountability for specific instances in certain ICC cases, not a moral comparison between Hamas and the Taliban or the US and Israel, according to Omar’s office.I was not equating terrorist groups with democratic countries with well-established legal systems.The war of words, however, did not finish there. Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, a progressive ally of Omar’s, came to her defense.
Meanwhile, Rep. Mo Brooks, a Republican ally of former President Donald Trump, said Omar’s inquiry stemmed from “the growing influence of the Islamic faith in the Democratic Party” to an Alabama radio interviewer.Keep in mind that Muslims, more than the majority of people, harbour strong anti-Semitic feelings toward Israel and the Jewish faith, according to Brooks.
Brooks’ statements were slammed by Omar, who pointed out in a tweet that her Democratic colleagues had neglected to address them.When will our caucus take a firm stance against hatred directed towards Muslim colleagues and constituents, Ilhan Omar wondered?