Rep. Ilhan Omar backpedals comments about US, Israel after Democratic colleagues condemn her remarks
A group of House Democrats urged Omar to 'clarify her words' regarding US, Israel, Hamas and the Taliban
Rep. Ilhan Omar, D-Minn., clarified her "unthinkable atrocities" comments following pressure from some of her Democratic colleagues in a Thursday statement.
"On Monday, I asked Secretary of State Antony Blinken about an ongoing International Criminal Court investigations," Omar said in the statement. "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."
The "Squad" member added that she was "in no way equating terrorist organizations with democratic countries with well-established judicial systems."
‘SQUAD’ REPS RALLY TO DEFENSE OF ILHAN OMAR AFTER FELLOW DEMS LAMBASTE HER OVER ISRAEL COMMENTS
Omar's statement is the latest development in a series of back-and-forth comments between House Democrats that began after a Monday hearing with Blinken. Omar pressed the secretary on his opposition to the International Criminal Court investigating alleged war crimes in both "Palestine and Afghanistan."
Omar insisted there are alleged war crimes to investigate committed by both "Israeli Security Forces and Hamas." She then alleged the Taliban and the Afghan government are responsible for war crimes. The congresswoman grouped together the "unthinkable atrocities committed by the U.S., Hamas, Israel, Afghanistan, and the Taliban" in a Monday tweet sharing her comments made during the hearing.
Omar drew sharp condemnation from both sides of the aisle for what members of Congress described as equating the United States and its long-standing ally Israel to the Hamas terrorist organization and the Taliban.
A group of Jewish House Democrats issued a Wednesday statement condemning the congresswoman's remarks and tweets.
"Equating the United States and Israel to Hamas and the Taliban is as offensive as it is misguided," said the letter signed by Democratic Reps. Brad Schneider of Illinois, Brad Sherman of California, Josh Gottheimer of New Jersey, Jake Auchincloss of Massachusetts and Ted Deutch of Florida.
ILHAN OMAR SLAMMED BY FELLOW HOUSE DEM FOR ‘OUTRAGEOUS AND CLEARLY FALSE’ STATEMENTS ABOUT US, ISRAEL
"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," the group wrote. "The United States and Israel are imperfect and, like all democracies, at times deserving of critique, but false equivalencies give cover to terrorist groups."
The group then urged Omar to "clarify her words placing the US and Israel in the same category as Hamas and the Taliban."
Omar first responded in an early Thursday tweet accusing her colleagues of pushing "Islamophobic tropes."
"It's shameful for colleagues who call me when they need my support to now put out a statement asking for ‘clarification’ and not just call," she said. "The islamophobic tropes in this statement are offensive. The constant harassment & silencing from the signers of this letter is unbearable."
Omar added: "Citing an open case against Israel, US, Hamas & Taliban in the ICC isn’t comparison or from ‘deeply seated prejudice’. You might try to undermine these investigations or deny justice to their victims but history has thought us that the truth can’t be hidden or silenced forever."
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Sherman said in an independent statement on the matter that "it's not news" the congresswoman "would make outrageous and clearly false statements about America and Israel."
"What’s newsworthy is that she admits Hamas is guilty of ‘unthinkable atrocities,'" he said. "It’s time for all of Israel’s detractors to condemn Hamas. And it’s time for all those of good will to reject any moral equivalency between the U.S. and Israel on one hand, and Hamas and the Taliban on the other."
Fox News' Tyler Olson contributed to this report.