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Ilhan Omar: US Congresswoman Defends Her Offensive and Anti-Semitic Israel Remarks

Tension among the democrats over Israel risen on June 10 when a group of 12 Jewish democratic lawmakers criticized Ilhan Omar, a US congresswoman, over a tweet that she wrote. In the tweet, she compared the actions of Israel and the United States with those of the Taliban and Hamas. The lawmakers felt it offensive and demanded to clarify her words. But the Minnesota representative, Ms. Omar, slammed the tropes of the group.

This is not the first time where Ms. Omar’s criticism of Israel has put her at odds with all her party members. In 2019, she apologized after a backlash on tweets over Israel. On June 7, Ms. Omar tweeted that they have seen unimaginable atrocities committed by Hamas, the US, Israel, the Taliban, and Afghanistan. They must have an equal level of justice and accountability for all the victims of crimes against humanity, Omar wrote, including a video of her asking questions to Antony Blinken, Secretary of State. The row comes weeks after the hostilities ended in the Middle East in ceasefire and surrounded by increasing reports of anti-Semitic strikes against American Jews.

However, mentions of Ms. Omar of militant Islamist groups of Taliban and Hamas in the same breath as Israel and the US disturbed some of her fellow democrats. A New York Democrat, Jerry Nadler’s group, wrote that equating Israel and the US to Taliban and Hamas is extremely offensive and misguided. Ignoring the contrast between democracies governed by law rules and contemptible organizations engaging in terrorism discredits the intended argument of a person and, at worst, showcases deep-seated prejudice. Making false equivalencies provide cover to terrorist groups, said the group.

Ilhan Omar’s Response to Backlash

Early on June 10, Ms. Omar, who is a Somali-born former refugee and the first Muslim elected to Congress, responded back at the group, saying them shameful and accusing them of involving in Islamophobic tropes. She tweeted that it is shameful for all the colleagues who call her at the time of need and now asking for her clarifications.  The Islamophobic tropes in the statements are offensive. The silencing and harassment from signers of this letter are intolerable.

Her fellow squad member of left-wing Democratic lawmakers, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, came forward in her defense, saying that she is tired of the constant vilification, public targeting of Ms. Omar is happening. Later on, on June 10, Ms. Omar issued a statement that she intended to inquire Mr. Blinken about particular incidents presented to the ICC or International Criminal Court.

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