As Democrats are trying to quell internal tensions over remarks Rep. Ilhan Omar made last week apparently comparing the U.S. and Israel to Hamas and the Taliban, Republicans are re-upping their push to condemn Omar and her allies over comments about Israel.
Leading the way are Reps. Michael Waltz, R-Fla., Jim Banks, R-Ind., and Claudia Tenney, R-N.Y., who are introducing a resolution to censure Omar, D-Minn., and her three closest allies in the “Squad.” The resolution alleges that Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., Ayanna Pressley, D-Mass., Rashida Tlaib, D-Mich., and Omar have said things that “publicly support the actions of a recognized terrorist organization.”
The resolution also says “Omar accused the United States of backing crimes against humanity,” notes that “Ocasio-Cortez accused the Government of Israel of committing ”human rights abuses,’ says “Tlaib accused the Government of Israel of ‘ethnic cleansing’ against Palestinians,” and accuses Pressley of equating support of Israel to “supporting oppression, violence, and apartheid.”
The resolution concludes by saying these comments as a whole have spurred anti-Semitic violence in the U.S.
The resolution for censure would simply express the House of Representatives’ sentiment that the actions of the four members are inappropriate and would not carry any official consequences.
But it is very unlikely to pass despite the fact many Democrats strongly disagree with the “Squad” members’ stance toward Israel. Omar issued a clarification to her controversial comments last week and at least some of the moderate Democrats who were condemning her say they accept it and want to move on. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., has said the same.
“We cannot turn a blind eye to Members of Congress openly defending terrorist attacks by Hamas against our close ally Israel nor their dangerous rhetoric which has contributed to anti-Semitic attacks across the country,” Waltz said in a statement.
“I’ve seen firsthand gross atrocities against women and ethnic minorities at the hands of the Taliban. I’ve personally been fired upon by terrorists hiding behind women and children and seen the Taliban place suicide vests on teenagers,” Waltz, who is a former Green Beret, added. “For members of the U.S. Congress to make equivalencies to Israel and the American military, which puts its own soldiers at risk to avoid civilian casualties, is ignorant of the facts, shameful, and should be condemned in the strongest terms.”
“Last week, Congresswoman Ilhan Omar compared the United States and Israel to Hamas and the Taliban,” Tenney said. “Sadly, this is not out of character for ‘The Squad,’ who have made a habit of trafficking in anti-Semitic rhetoric. Their actions have been completely unchecked by Democratic leadership in the House, even as vile attacks against Jewish Americans are rising.”
Reps. Ayanna Pressley, D-Mass., Ilhan Omar, D-Minn., Rashida Tlaib, D-Mich., and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., hold a press conference, to address remarks made by former President Donald Trump earlier in the day, at the US Capitol in Washington, DC on July 15, 2019. The four members of Congress are under scrutiny for comments they’ve made about Israel. (Getty Images)
The effort by Waltz, Tenney and Banks is separate from by House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., reported by Punchbowl News, to introduce a resolution to remove Omar from her seat on the Foreign Affairs Committee.
“Rep. Omar’s anti-Semitic & anti-American comments are abhorrent,” McCarthy tweeted last week. “Speaker Pelosi’s continued failure to address the issues in her caucus sends a message to the world that Democrats are tolerant of anti-Semitism and sympathizing with terrorists. It’s time for the speaker to act.”
Omar last week, at the request of a group of a dozen House Democrats, issued a public addendum to comments she made during a Monday hearing, then tweeted, that there were “unthinkable atrocities committed by the U.S., Hamas, Israel, Afghanistan, and the Taliban.”
“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,” Omar said. “I was in no way equating terrorist organizations with democratic countries with well-established judicial systems.”
Some moderate Democrats said they accept Omar’s clarification, even if they remain “frustrated” with her history of comments about Israel and those who support Israel.
“Democracies should never be lumped in with terrorists. I am pleased @Ilhan heard our concerns about her tweet, issued a clarification, and agrees with our point,” Rep. Brad Schneider, D-Ill., said. “I hope all can avoid such offhanded statements in the future as we work together to support American jobs & families.”
“There’s a long history of comments here that I have found unacceptable and deeply concerning and this just adds to the record. So am I satisfied? I’m just really frustrated by the continued series of comments targeted at the U.S.-Israel relationship,” Rep. Josh Gottheimer, D-N.J., said.
“I was glad that she actually took the time to offer an explanation,” he also said