Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) said that she doesn’t regrets her past recent comments equating the United States and Israel to terrorist organizations, claiming that her fellow Jewish Democratic colleagues who took issue with her remarks aren’t “partners in justice.”
During an interview on CNN’s “The Lead” Tuesday, host Jake Tapper asked if she “regret” comparing the US and Israel to terrorist organizations, in which Omar appeared to stand by her original comment and blamed her Jewish colleagues for finding her remarks offensive.
“I don’t,” Omar responded without hesitation, arguing that her comments were taken out of context.
“I think it’s really important to think back to the point that I was trying to make; obviously, I was addressing Secretary of State Blinken… I know that, you know, some of my colleagues don’t lend legitimacy to the ICC, but I tend to think that people around the world who have experienced on justice need to be able to have a place where they can go and as a country that helped found the ICC and supported it. I think that it is really important for us to continue to find ways in which people can find justice around the world,” Omar added.
Tapper specifically then cited some of Omar’s past remarks that have led to accusations that she is anti-Semitic, including a 2019 tweet that stated the relationship between the US and Israel is “all about the Benjamins,” and a 2012 message in which she claimed that Israel “has hypnotized the world.”
“Do you understand why some of your fellow House Democrats, especially Jews, find that language anti-Semitic?” Tapper pressed Omar.
“I’ve welcomed anytime, you know, my colleagues have asked to have a conversation, to learn from them, for them to learn from me. I think it’s really important for these members to realize that they haven’t been partners in justice. They haven’t been, you know, equally engaging in seeking justice around the world,” Omar responded.
“And I think I will continue to do that. It is important for me, as someone who knows what it feels like to experience injustice in ways that many of my colleagues don’t, to be a voice in finding accountability, asking for mechanisms for justice for those who are maligned, oppressed, and who have had injustice done to them.” Omar added, not mentioning any of the members’ names in her claims.
When pressed by the CNN host on what she would say to her fellow House Democrats who have called some of her “language” she previously used are anti-Semitic, Omar argued that she has apologized and clarified those remarks before accusing her colleagues of trafficking in “Islamophobic tropes.”
“I have obviously clarified, and, you know, apologized, when I have felt that my words have offended. And it’s really important, as I’ve explained to my colleagues, they have engaged in Islamophobic tropes. I have yet to receive an apology,” Omar said.
Earlier this month, Omar tweeted a video where she questioned Secretary of State Antony Blinken during a House Foreign Affairs Committee hearing on the State Department’s budget request and captioned the clip with the controversial comment that claimed that the US, Israel, Hamas, and the Taliban had all committed “unthinkable atrocities.”
Omar issued a mea culpa days later, clarifying her remarks following a firestorm of criticism from both sides of the aisle. A group of nearly a dozen Jewish House Democrats released a joint statement condemning her remarks and asked Omar for “clarification.” House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) and the entire Democratic leadership team issued a rare joint statement that sought to quell the growing controversy and civil war brewing amongst the party.
House Republicans, led by Reps. Michael Waltz (R-FL), Jim Banks (R-IN), and Claudia Tenney (R-NY) introduced a censure resolution to formally condemn Omar and her fellow “Squad” members for what they called publicly supporting “the actions of a recognized terrorist organization.”
House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) slammed Pelosi for her “continued failure” to reprimand Omar as well as removing the congresswoman from the Foreign Affairs Committee after the House Speaker dismissed the idea of taking any further action. McCarthy vowed to bar Omar from serving on the powerful House Committee if Republicans take back the majority in 2022.