When the New York Times sat down with Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.) last year, she insisted, "I wouldn't run for Congress... if I was anti-American." Well, you could have fooled us. In the two years that Omar has been a part of the U.S. House, no one has been more openly hostile to the values and traditions of this country than the representative of Minnesota's Fifth District. She calls herself "a starter of fires," and this latest one—suggesting America and Israel are terrorists—won't be easy to put out.
The title of the Times' piece was "Ilhan Omar is not here to put you at ease"—a sentiment Democrats can certainly relate to as they struggle to contain her appalling rhetoric. The latest example, an exchange with Secretary of State Antony Blinken, shows just how little she cares to contain her hatred of Israel or the country she calls home. During the virtual meeting, she demanded an investigation into the supposed human rights abuses committed by Israeli Security Forces. On Twitter, she framed it this way: "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 idea that Omar would lump America and Israel in with a bunch of known terrorist killers like Hamas was so appalling that even Democrats were horrified. In a rare move, a dozen of them fired back publicly, insisting that "Equating the United States and Israel to Hamas and the Taliban is as offensive as it is misguided." The 12 (which included high-profile Leftists like Reps. Jerrold Nadler, N.Y. and Debbie Wasserman Schultz, Fla., among others) wrote that, "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 wrote. "The United States and Israel are imperfect and, like all democracies, at times deserving of critique, but false equivalencies give cover to terrorist groups."
As usual, Omar played victim, claiming that she was the subject of "constant harassment and silencing." Her spokesperson, Jeremy Slevin, took it one further, saying this only proves how "normalized" Islamophobia has become in "American political discourse." Give me a break, David Harsanyi writes for NRO. "It's not 'Islamophobic' to seek clarification for why she believes the Taliban and the United States are morally comparable. It's a simple question. Surely, Omar, who believes the U.S. was 'founded by genocide' and built its power through 'neocolonialism,' has some Marxist drivel to share on the topic... But, whatever the case, being an African-American Muslim woman doesn't give Omar dispensation from debate or immunity from criticism. At least, not yet."
Omar's pals disagree, insisting that her religion and skin color give her the right to smear anyone she wants. "I'm not surprised when Republicans attack Black women for standing up for human rights. But when it's Democrats, it's especially hurtful..." Rep. Cori Bush (D-Mo.), another Squad member, tweeted. "Enough with the anti-Blackness and Islamophobia." The "obsession with policing her is sick," Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D-Mich.) chimed in.
As for Republicans, they think the biggest statement of all may be Speaker Nancy Pelosi's (D-Calif.) non-action. "Rep. Omar's anti-Semitic and anti-American comments are abhorrent," Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) fumed. "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." As the GOP made a point of reminding everyone, Republicans took drastic action when one of their own made controversial statements—even going so far to strip her of her committee assignments. The fact that Democrats haven't acted to rein in Omar is especially infuriating, in light of her long string of vile statements.
And congressmen like Brian Mast (R-Fla.) take that personally. "This is absolutely disgusting from a Member of Congress. I lost two legs and a finger defending the USA and fighting the radical Islamic terrorists that Ilhan Omar is now defending. She is completely unfit to serve our country."
Republicans, who continue to be villainized for inciting violence they had no part in, have every reason to be upset, Harsanyi agrees. "If we are going to start holding politicians responsible for the actions of third parties, then Omar has a lot of answering to do for the spike in anti-Semitic violence last month."