The Democratic House leadership berated Representative Ilhan Omar (D., Minn.) For a tweet in which she compared the United States and Israel to the Taliban and Hamas.
“Legitimate criticism of the policies of the United States and Israel is protected by the values of free speech and democratic debate,” the management team wrote in a joint statement. “But establishing false equivalents between democracies like the United States and Israel and terrorist groups like Hamas and the Taliban fosters prejudice and undermines progress towards a future of peace and stability for all. “
The statement added, “We welcome the clarification from Congresswoman Omar that there is no moral equivalence between the United States and Israel and Hamas and the Taliban. “
The declaration was signed by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D., Calif.), Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D., Md.), Majority Whip James Clyburn (D., SC) and other members of the Democratic leadership of the House.
The controversy began after Omar wrote on Twitter: “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 United States, the Hamas, Israel, Afghanistan and the Taliban.
A group of Jewish Democrats released a statement on Wednesday condemning Omar.
“To equate the United States and Israel with Hamas and the Taliban is as offensive as it is misguided,” said the group, led by Representative Brad Schneider of Illinois. “Ignoring the differences between democracies governed by the rule of law and despicable organizations that engage in terrorism discredits the intended argument at best and at worst reflects deeply-rooted prejudices. “
Omar then issued a clarification denying that he equated the United States and Israel with Hamas and the Taliban.
Omar said in a statement that she was not making “a moral comparison between Hamas and the Taliban and the United States and Israel.”
“I did not in any way equate terrorist organizations with democratic countries with well-established judicial systems,” she said.
However, Omar also accused the group of Jewish Democrats to engage in “Islamophobic tropes”, adding that “the constant harassment and silence of the signatories of this letter is unbearable”.