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Rep. Ilhan Omar said she does not regret comparing the United States and Israel to terrorists and blamed Jewish Democrats who criticized her for not being “partners in justice.” While she said she has apologized for when she felt she has been offensive, Omar suggested that she is the one who should receive an apology for being subject to “Islamophobic tropes.”
When asked on CNN on Tuesday if she regrets comments equating the U.S. and Israel with Hamas and other terrorists, the second-term Minnesota Democrat said: “I don’t.”
Host Jake Tapper noted Omar’s other previous comments criticized as being antisemitic, including a 2019 tweet that suggested lawmakers support Israel because it’s "all about the Benjamins” and a 2012 tweet in which she said that “Israel has hypnotized the world.”
Confronted about those comments and complaints, especially from Jewish Democrats, Omar said she has “welcomed any time, you know, my colleagues have asked to have a conversation — to learn from them, for them to learn from me.”
“I think it’s really important for these members to realize that they haven’t been partners in justice,” she added. “They haven’t been equally engaging in seeking justice around the world.”
Omar prompted bipartisan outrage earlier this month when she tweeted: “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.” The tweet included a video of Omar questioning Secretary of State Antony Blinken in a committee hearing about International Criminal Court investigations.
A group of 12 Jewish Democrats scolded Omar in a joint statement. “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,” they said. Some Republicans, including House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, urged House Speaker Nancy Pelosi to remove Omar from her committee assignments over the remark.
Omar later said in a clarifying statement that she was “in no way equating terrorist organizations with democratic countries with well-established judicial systems." A rare joint statement from the entire House Democratic leadership team, led by Pelosi, welcomed the “clarification” while also asserting that “drawing false equivalencies ... undermines progress toward a future of peace.”
On Tuesday, Omar did recognize that some members find her comments to be antisemitic.
“I hear that. I have obviously clarified and, you know, apologized when I have felt that my words have offended,” she said, before pointing a finger at others. “As I’ve explained to my colleagues, they have engaged in Islamophobic tropes. I have yet to receive an apology.”
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Original Author: Emily Brooks