(CNN)Rep. Ilhan Omar said Thursday that she was “in no way equating terrorist organizations with democratic countries” after a group of Jewish House Democrats accused her of equating the US and Israel with the Taliban and Hamas, the Palestinian militant group designated as a terrorist organization by the US.
“On Monday, I asked Secretary of State Antony Blinken about ongoing International Criminal Court investigations,” Omar said in a statement. “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.
“I was in no way equating terrorist organizations with democratic countries with well-established judicial systems.”
The clarification comes days after Omar prompted a public rift among Democrats when she tweeted Monday that “we have seen unthinkable atrocities committed by the U.S., Hamas, Israel, Afghanistan, and the Taliban.”
“We must have the same level of accountability and justice for all victims of crimes against humanity,” she wrote, including a video of herself questioning Blinken during a House hearing Monday.
On Wednesday, the group of Jewish House lawmakers, including House Judiciary Chairman Jerry Nadler, argued that “equating the United States and Israel to Hamas and the Taliban is as offensive as it is misguided.”
“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 group said in a statement.
They continued, “false equivalencies give cover to terrorist groups.”
Omar’s views on Israel and Palestinian rights have often put her at crossroads with fellow Democrats, and GOP members often highlight her stance to justify calls for her removal from committees. The dispute between Omar, a progressive from Minnesota, and the group of House members who pushed back on her comments underscores the fracture within the Democratic Party over Israel policy, continuing after a recent, violent days-long conflict in the region.
House Democratic leaders said in a statement Thursday, “We welcome the clarification by Congresswoman Omar that there is no moral equivalency between the U.S. and Israel and Hamas and the Taliban.”
But, they also said, “drawing false equivalencies between democracies like the U.S. and Israel and groups that engage in terrorism like Hamas and the Taliban foments prejudice and undermines progress toward a future of peace and security for all.”
Omar, who is Muslim, had initially called her colleagues’ Wednesday statement “shameful” and accused them of using Islamophobic tropes.
“It’s shameful for colleagues who call me when they need my support to now put out a statement asking for ‘clarification’ and not just call. The islamophobic tropes in this statement are offensive. The constant harassment (and) silencing from
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