Already under fire for tacitly greenlighting Turkey’s slaughter of the Kurds, Muslim Rep. Ilhan Omar now faces even more scrutiny and backlash for her decision to essentially thumb her nose at the historical genocide of 1.5 million ethnic Armenians.
“The House voted overwhelmingly on Tuesday to formally recognize the Armenian genocide and denounce it as a matter of American foreign policy, a symbolic vindication for the Armenian diaspora made possible by a new torrent of bipartisan furor at Turkey,” The New York Times reported.
Omar, already under fire for voting against imposing sanctions on Turkey, voted “present” for Tuesday’s vote, despite the 1915 genocide having led to the murder of an estimated 1.5 million men, women and children at the hands of Turkey’s regional and historic predecessor, the Ottoman Empire.
Because the empire is fundamental to Turkey’s history, the Islamic nation has long “denied that the atrocities [commited by it] amounted to genocide,” according to the Times.
That Omar voted “present” for Tuesday’s vote suggests that her loyalty to her close ally, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, outweighs any loyalty she maintains to justice.
For those who are wondering why Ilhan Omar voted against acknowledging the Armenian Genocide which has been committed to the Ottoman Empire, Ilhan Omar is basically working for her sugar daddy : Erdogan! pic.twitter.com/iaU3DdhbSe
— Kimberly Meachum (@MeachumNKimber) October 30, 2019
In defending her widely panned decision, the congresswoman released a statement accusing her congressional peers of trying to use the genocide of 1.5 million people as a “cudgel” against Turkey, and suggesting that she’d only condemn Turkey’s genocidal actions if Congress first condemned the United States.
“I believe accountability for human rights violations — especially ethnic cleansing and genocide — is paramount,” she said. “But accountability and recognition of genocide should not be used as a cudgel in a political fight.”
“It should be done based on academic consensus outside the push and pull of geopolitics. A true acknowledgment of historical crimes against humanity must include both the heinous genocide soft he 20th century, along with earlier mass slaughters like the transatlantic slave trade and Native American genocide, which took the lives of hundreds of millions of indigenous people in this country. For this reason, I voted ‘present’ in final passage.”
Omar’s office has sent this statement to CNN explaining her present vote: pic.twitter.com/Gpj198jx0p
— Haley Byrd (@byrdinator) October 29, 2019
Rather than earning her any forgiveness, the statement spurred even more anger, including from even her most anti-Semitic supporters and allies.
Take Eli Valley, a cartoonist whose work has been described as “anti-Semitic” because of its caricatures of the Jewish people and their one state, Israel.
Despite repeatedly defending Omar in times past — including when she claimed that Israel uses money to control American politics — even he has joined the growing chorus against her.
“This is bulls–t,” he wrote of her statement. “The genocide is a historical fact, and regardless of why it passed today, it’s ludicrous to demand that a century-delayed resolution encompass every other atrocity known to humankind before it can gain approval.”
Others who also suddenly abandoned Omar after having previously defended her included Michelle Goldberg of The New York Times, Ken Klippenstein of “The Young Turks” and Chris Hayes of MSNBC:
This is bullshit. The genocide is a historical fact, and regardless of why it passed today, it’s ludicrous to demand that a century-delayed resolution encompass every other atrocity known to humankind before it can gain approval. https://t.co/YsQL5QDhzp
— Eli Valley (@elivalley) October 29, 2019
This is awful https://t.co/UQwysNvHDo
— Michelle Goldberg (@michelleinbklyn) October 29, 2019
Omar’s done some admirable things but this is bullshit https://t.co/2Ot5etNfLF
— Ken Klippenstein (@kenklippenstein) October 29, 2019
The defense Rep. Omar and her supporters have against her critics is that she’s been unsparing in taking on various foreign policy shibboleths and speaking truth to power about human rights infractions of various US allies, infractions often swept under the rug for real politique
— Chris Hayes (@chrislhayes) October 29, 2019
Her “present” vote on the Armenian genocide resolution is a bit tough to square with that. Not to say there aren’t real politique reasons to avoid enraging Turkey, there are, and it’s why the resolution has died a thousand deaths. But that’s not usually Omar’s thing.
— Chris Hayes (@chrislhayes) October 29, 2019
And there’s a whole lot more where that came from:
Not recognizing a genocide always goes along with the danger of allowing this to be repeated. Understand your responsibilities as a representative, @IlhanMN. Especially if you claim to support minority rights #ArmenianGenocide
— Düzen Tekkal (@DuezenTekkal) October 30, 2019
The US House of Representatives just voted 405 to 11, to recognise the Armenian Genocide in which 1.5 million Armenians were killed by the Turks.
Democrat @IlhanMN REFUSED to vote in favour of this recognition.
1.5 million Christians were exterminated. In cold blood.
— Anand Ranganathan (@ARanganathan72) October 30, 2019
— Nidhi Razdan (@Nidhi) October 30, 2019
This was a bad mistake @IlhanMN. As one of your constituents, I’m extremely disappointed that you’d vote “present” on a historic opportunity to recognize a too-often forgotten genocide that killed 1.5 million innocent people. “Never again” requires acknowledging it happened. https://t.co/TiHHcO2Wo1
— Brian Klaas (@brianklaas) October 30, 2019
The Turks killed 75% of an entire people group and forced the rest into diaspora. Children without parents, people separated from their families forever. That @IlhanMN cannot acknowledge these atrocities singularly and without qualification speaks volumes about her character. https://t.co/smJX9xXhpZ
— Ellen Carmichael (@ellencarmichael) October 30, 2019
In response to the criticism, of which the tweets seen above represent just the tip of the iceberg, Omar has doubled down.
Responding specifically to Hayes’ tweet late Tuesday, the Muslim congresswoman dismissed all the criticism as “real politique!”
“My issue was not with the substance of this resolution. *Of course* we should acknowledge the Genocide,” she wrote.
?? This is classic “real politique!”
My issue was not with the substance of this resolution. *Of course* we should acknowledge the Genocide.
— Ilhan Omar (@IlhanMN) October 29, 2019
Then why didn’t YOU … !?
- Murder up, Jefferson statue down! NYC lawmakers do what Trump predicted in 2017 - October 20, 2021
- Florida teen fatally shot after pointing air rifle at police. Outrage skipped since he was white. - October 20, 2021
- Kamala Harris’s sermon urging churchgoers to vote for McAuliffe is illegal, say law scholars - October 20, 2021