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Ilhan Omar calls on fellow Democrats to criticize her as new controversy erupts

The internal dispute over Omar’s comments on US foreign policy comes more than two years after she faced public reluctance from both sides for comments deemed anti-Semitic. The House GOP rushed Thursday to turn the Dozen Democrats’ statement into a political weapon against Omar, with leaders likely to prepare prosecution action next week. But unlike 2019, Omar’s latest remarks did not spark any specific complaints of anti-Semitism from his fellow Democrats.

On the contrary, his fellow Democrats have challenged his “false equivalences” between the United States and Israel on the one hand, and Hamas and the Taliban on the other. Criticism declaration of 12 Democrats, led by Rep. Brad Schneider (D-Ill.), berated Omar’s comments at a House Foreign Affairs Committee hearing on Monday, when she questioned Secretary of State Antony Blinken about an International Criminal Court investigation into allegations against the Taliban and the United States in Afghanistan and by Hamas and Israel in their own recent conflict in the Middle East.

Omar then shared the exchange in a tweet who read: “We must have the same level of responsibility and justice for all victims of crimes against humanity. “

The comments sparked heated debate among many Jewish Democrats, several of whom have already disputed Omar’s remarks whom they called anti-Semitic. Out of several dozen Democrats who took part in the talks this week, 12 lawmakers signed the declaration. These discussions were first reported by the Jewish Telegraph Agency.

“To equate the United States and Israel with Hamas and the Taliban is as offensive as it is misguided,” the 12 Democrats wrote in the statement, adding that “false equivalences cover terrorist groups.”

A spokesperson for Schneider said Omar did not attempt to call him and was unaware of attempts to reach other members. The spokesperson also confirmed that Democrats who signed the statement do not qualify his actions as anti-Semitic.

Several House Republicans publicly condemned Omar’s comments earlier this week, with many party members keen to tear apart the growing Democratic schism over his views on foreign policy. GOP leaders could pursue a resolution to censor it or remove it from committees when lawmakers return to Washington next week.

The GOP campaign arm also said in a statement Thursday that Democrats should remove Omar from its committees – as Democrats did this year to Representative Marjorie Taylor Greene after a series of comments and inflammatory actions from the controversial Republican of Georgia, including approving the assassination of President Nancy Pelosi.

Many Democrats, however, reject Greene’s comparison to Omar. And one of Omar’s allies in the progressive alliance known as “The Squad” came to his defense Thursday morning.

“I’m sick of my colleagues (D + R) demonizing” Omar, tweeted Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D-Mich.), Elected alongside Omar in 2018 as the first Muslim female congressional lawmaker. “Their obsession with monitoring her is sick. She has the courage to speak out against human rights violations, no matter who is responsible. Better than colleagues looking away if it serves their policy.”

On Wednesday evening, Omar shared a sample of what she described as frequent threats she receives when speaking about human rights issues, tweet a recording which included multiple racist and Islamophobic insults directed against her.

This week is not the first time Democrats have faced fury within their caucus over Omar’s political speech. Shortly after arriving in Congress, some of Omar’s comments sparked complaints of anti-Semitism and a heated debate over how Democrats should punish her through a resolution. In one case in 2019, Omar suggested that pro-Israel supporters had “allegiance” to Israel, which several Democrats said hinted at the painful, decades-old discriminatory tropes of Jews who display a “double loyalty “.

Democratic leaders eventually crafted a resolution condemning hate speech in all its forms, indirectly berating Omar – a move that infuriated several Jewish Democrats who wanted to condemn it directly.

Melanie Zanona contributed.

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