OPINION: This article contains commentary which reflects the author's opinion
House Speaker and California Rep. Nancy Pelosi has finally spoken out about the comments made by Minnesota Rep. Ilhan Omar.
“We have seen unthinkable atrocities committed by the U.S., Hamas, Israel, Afghanistan, and the Taliban,” Rep. Omar said in a tweet. “I asked [Secretary of State Antony Blinken] where people are supposed to go for justice.”
After the tweet a group of Democrats spoke against the representatives tweet in what they said was equating the United States to terrorist organizations.
“Equating the United States and Israel to Hamas and the Taliban is as offensive as it is misguided,” the letter, signed by Reps. Brad Schneider, D-Ill.; Brad Sherman, D-Calif.; Josh Gottheimer, D-N.J.; Jake Auchincloss, D-Mass.; and Ted Deutch, D-Fla, said.
“Ignoring the differences between democracies governed by the rule of law and contemptible organizations that engage in terrorism at best discredits one’s intended argument and at worst reflects deep-seated prejudice,” it said. “The United States and Israel are imperfect and, like all democracies, at times deserving of critique, but false equivalencies give cover to terrorist groups. We urge Congresswoman Omar to clarify her words placing the US and Israel in the same category as Hamas and the Taliban.”
Even the terrorist group Hamas was furious with her comparison, painting themselves as the good guys.
The group said that Omar “equated between the victim and the executioner,” Basem Naim of Hamas’ International Relations Office said.
“it is unacceptable to make such an unfair comparison, which contradicts with basic norms of justice and international law,” he said.
But he did praise Omar, saying that “Hamas highly appreciates” her “support of … the just rights of the Palestinian people.”
Omar did issue a sentence explaining that she did not mean it the way it sounded.
“To be clear: the conversation was about accountability for specific incidents regarding those ICC cases, not a moral comparison between Hamas and the Taliban and the U.S. and Israel. I was in no way equating terrorist organizations with democratic countries with well-established judicial systems,” she said.
But Rep. Omar was defended by her fellow members of the Squad.
“Pretty sick & tired of the constant vilification, intentional mischaracterization, and public targeting of @IlhanMN coming from our caucus. They have no concept for the danger they put her in by skipping private conversations & leaping to fueling targeted news cycles around her,” Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., said in a tweet.
Missouri Rep. Cori Bush said, “I’m not surprised when Republicans attack Black women for standing up for human rights. But when it’s Democrats, it’s especially hurtful. We’re your colleagues. Talk to us directly. Enough with the anti-Blackness and Islamophobia.”
On Sunday Speaker Pelosi appeared on CNN and spoke to anchor Dana Bash who asked her about the incident.
As Bash was asking her about it Pelosi angrily interrupted her, “We did not rebuke her. We acknowledged that she made a clarification,” Pelosi said.
“Congresswoman Omar is a valued member of our caucus,” she said. “She asked her questions of the Secretary of State. Nobody criticized those… That was not of concern. Members did become concerned when the tweet that was put out equated the United States with the Taliban and Hamas.”
“And then she clarified it. And we thanked her for clarification,” the Speaker said.
“So do you want people to just let it go?” Bash said.
“They can say whatever they want,” she said. “What I’m saying is end of subject. She clarified, we thanked her, end of subject. Whatever people go out and say is up to them, but what happened is a reflection of the respect we have for our member when she made her questions at the hearing, but the disagreement that we have to equate the United States of America with Hamas and the Taliban.”