"False equivalencies give cover to terrorist groups": House Dems rip Omar for remarks on Israel, US, Hamas

AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta

What gives? Ilhan Omar has made comments like this ever since coming to Washington. Her attempt on Monday to equate Israel and the US with Hamas and the Taliban almost seems like routine for the radical congresswoman and Squad member:

This statement had the effect that Omar wanted — attention on social media and the approbation of the lunatic fringe of BDS-supporting progressives, anti-Semites, and the blame-America crowd. Perhaps she didn’t count on getting much pushback from her colleagues, who have largely given Omar a pass for her nutty comments about Israel and the US. Or from Democratic leadership for that matter, which has tossed up distractions as fast as Omar’s rants emerge.

Not this time, however:

A dozen House Democrats urged Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.) late Wednesday to “clarify” a Twitter post in which the Squad member claimed that America, Israel, Hamas and the Taliban have all committed “unspeakable atrocities.”

“Equating the United States and Israel to Hamas and the Taliban is as offensive as it is misguided,” read the statement, which was led by Rep. Brad Schneider (D-Ill.).

“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.

“The United States and Israel are imperfect and, like all democracies, at times deserving of critique, but false equivalencies give cover to terrorist groups,” the statement concluded.

“We urge Congresswoman Omar to clarify her words placing the US and Israel in the same category as Hamas and the Taliban.”

Schneider issued the press release last night. The other eleven Democrats urging Omar to “clarify her words” are: Jake Auchincloss, Ted Deutch, Lois Frankel, Josh Gottheimer, Elaine Luria, Kathy Manning, Jerrold Nadler, Dean Phillips, Kim Schrier, Brad Sherman, Debbie Wasserman Schultz. That’s not exactly a collection of backbenchers; Nadler is one of the most prominent House chairs at the moment for Judiciary, and Wasserman Schultz is a former DNC chair.

Nancy Pelosi’s name doesn’t appear on this, but her presence hangs over it whether she likes it or not. It seems unlikely that this went forward without her knowledge. Nadler’s one of her closest lieutenants (other than Steny Hoyer and James Clyburn) after all. Nadler and Deutch would presumably checked in with Pelosi before attaching their names to this broadside, given the clear public-relations situation this statement creates for Pelosi. The same is true to lesser extents with other names on this list.

Either way, Pelosi has a problem on her hands. She punted on Omar in 2019, opting to issue a meaningless “we hate bigotry” resolution rather than deal with Omar’s outright anti-Semitism. Now it’s back, combined with anti-Americanism and/or a defense of radical Islamic terrorists in Hamas and the Taliban. That won’t be so easy to punt this time around, especially with midterm preparations already beginning and a razor-thin House majority on the line. If Pelosi doesn’t act to discipline Omar, she risks painting the party as extremists; if she does act, Pelosi risks the ire of the progressive fringe. The latter might actually not be all that painful in the run-up to the midterms when Democrats need to hold onto moderate suburban districts, and voters who don’t see any equivalence between the US and radical Islamist terror groups.