Omar shares video from radical anti-Israel group; GOP chair calls for her removal from Congress

“Squad” member Rep. Ilhan Omar is under fire again, this time for retweeting a video from an anti-Israel organization previously investigated by the FBI for terrorist ties.

This retweet closely followed her latest Twitter scandal, in which she compared the U.S. and Israel to terrorist groups Hamas and the Taliban. 

Her comments were immediately followed by calls for her removal from the House of Representatives by Republican National Committee chairwoman, Ronna McDaniel.

The tweets were even rebuked by twelve Democrats who issued a statement saying the comments  “give cover to terrorist groups.”

McDaniel tweeted, “Ilhan Omar comparing Israel to terrorist organizations is anti-Semitic and unacceptable. She should not be in Congress, much less on the House Foreign Affairs Committee.”

Omar’s retweet included a video from the International Solidarity Movement (ISM) that showed a Palestinian child being carried off by Israeli police forces as an explosion is heard in the background.

ISM was on the Anti-defamation League’s top 10 anti-Israel organizations in the country in 2010. 

The group has also been investigated by the FBI for terrorist links. 

ADL criticized the group in 2014 for claiming three teens were “missing” despite Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s attribution of  their kidnap and murder to Hamas. 

While the group claims to be “non-violent”, its leaders have endorsed the right to “armed struggle”,  their voiced support for violent terrorist Samer Issawi, and condoned the use of “violent” resistance to achieve goals. 

The initial tweet that put Omar under fire has since been deleted.

“We must have the same level of accountability and justice for all victims of crimes against humanity. We have seen unthinkable atrocities committed by the U.S., Hamas, Israel, Afghanistan, and the Taliban. I asked @SecBlinken where people are supposed to go for justice,” the tweet read.

The twelve Democrats who criticized her tweet released the following statement, 

“Equating the United States and Israel to Hamas and the Taliban is as offensive as it is misguided,” the lawmakers 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.”

Some Democrats, however came to Omar’s defense. 

Rep. Cori Bush from Missouri equated the attacks on Omar to “anti-Blackness and Islamophobia”.

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio Cortez, D-N.Y., a fellow “squad” member, also took to Twitter to defend her friend:

The Congresswoman initially tried to fire back, refusing to apologize for the tweets. Her communications director instead released a statement blaming Republicans for Islamophobic hate against her. 

Following pushback from Democratic leadership, she was eventually forced to walk back her remarks:

“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.”

Despite Omar’s history of problematic statements, Nancy Pelosi stood by her girl in a press conference when asked if she would further discipline Omar:

“I think that she clarified her remarks and we accept that, and she has a point that she wanted to make and she has a right to make that point,” the speaker said. “There’s some unease about how it was interpreted. She made her clarification.”

Saturday evening Hamas released a statement condemning Omar’s comparison of the U.S. and Israel to Hamas, claiming that “it is unacceptable to make such an unfair comparison, which contradicts with basic norms of justice and international law.”

The statement continued, saying “Hamas highly appreciates” her “support of … the just rights of the Palestinian people.”

Kay Apfel

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