After comparing the United States and Israel to Hamas and the Taliban, Rep Ilhan Omar was met with fierce condemnation by fellow Democrats. Some prominent voices on the left defended her remarks while the right reveled in the “schism” between Democrats.
Minnesota Congresswoman and “Squad” member Ilhan Omar is under fire for comments made on Twitter equating the United States and Israel to terrorist organization Hamas and Afghanistan’s Taliban.
- Her comments drew rebukes from a group of Jewish Democrat colleagues in the House, who said “equating the United States and Israel to Hamas and the Taliban is as offensive as it is misguided” and called on Omar to “clarify” her words.
- For the first time since she began making controversial statements as a member of Congress, Omar received a warning and condemnation from Speaker Pelosi and the Democratic House leadership team, who said Omar was “drawing false equivalencies between democracies like the U.S. and Israel and groups that engage in terrorism.”
- While Omar did provide more context for her original statement, saying she was “in no way equating terrorist organizations with democratic countries”, she also argued criticism of her was “shameful” and part of “Islamophobic tropes.”
- Fellow “Squad” member Rep Rashida Tlaib came to Omar’s defense saying “the benefit of the doubt doesn’t exist for Muslim women in Congress.”
- MSNBC opinion columnist Hayes Brown bluntly declared “Ilhan Omar was right” and criticisms of her remarks were “bad faith attacks on the truth.”
- CNN’s coverage of Omar’s comments, “clarification” of said comments, and condemnation of those comments from fellow Democrats uses a broad brush to paint a sympathetic portrait of Omar: highlighting the support she received from other “Squad” members and arguing she was referencing International Criminal Court Investigations.
- Obscure leftist outlet The Black Wall Street Times argued Congress seems to readily find bipartisan consensus to condemn and “verbally assault” Omar.
- Fox News led their coverage with what they characterize as an “internecine war of words within the Democratic Party”, while Townhall.com said the party’s schism is “concerning” because “only 12 House Democrats” signed onto a written public rebuke of Omar and her statement. The Washington Examiner similarly focused on the “divide” among Democrats over anti-Semitism.
- The Daily Wire focused on “Far-Left Democrats” going to bat for Omar, saying they “essentially accused [those criticizing Omar] of being racist.”
- The New York Post highlighted Omar’s “clarification” and depicted it as an “about-face” “in the wake of” pressure from Democratic leadership, while The Daily Caller focused on Speaker Pelosi “thanking” Omar for her clarification.
If Omar’s comments were a one-off slip of the tongue, her comments could be shrugged off with a sincere apology. But Rep Omar has a somewhat lengthy history of anti-Semitic comments. If only as a matter of political discipline, she should know she will always be under a microscope and must watch her words carefully.
© Dallas Gerber, 2021