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Jewish Democrats Condemn Ilhan Omar for ‘Equating U.S. and Israel to Hamas’

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Representative Ilhan Omar (D., Minn.) addresses the media and community organizers at a press conference at the vigil site for Daunte Wright in Brooklyn Center, Minn., April 20, 2021. (Nicholas Pfosi/Reuters)

Nearly half of the Jewish Democratic lawmakers in the House signed a letter on Wednesday urging Representative Ilhan Omar (D., Minn.) to clarify a recent comment that they say equated the U.S. and Israel to Hamas and the Taliban.

“We must have the same level of accountability and justice for all victims of crimes against humanity,” Omar wrote in a tweet on Monday. “We have seen unthinkable atrocities committed by the U.S., Hamas, Israel, Afghanistan, and the Taliban.”

The statement by the group of Jewish Democrats, led by Representative Brad Schneider (D., Ill.), said 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,” it adds.

“The United States and Israel are imperfect and, like all democracies, at times deserving of critique, but false equivalencies give cover to terrorist groups. We urge Congresswoman Omar to clarify her words placing the U.S. and Israel in the same category as Hamas and the Taliban,” the lawmakers wrote.

The statement follows a meeting of an unofficial caucus of 25 Jewish House Democrats on Wednesday, where there appeared to be “unanimous frustration” with Omar’s comments, according to the Jewish Telegraphic Agency. 

Some lawmakers at the meeting reportedly wanted to release a statement saying that Omar’s comments “discredited” the party. The lawmakers wanted to name Omar in the statement, a shift from statements earlier in the Gaza conflict where Jewish members called out statements on Israel by lawmakers on the left but did not name them.

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