Ilhan Omar’s Latest ‘Controversy’? She Stated a Fact.
Whether its Republicans or corporate Democrats alike, everyone seems to have a problem with the the progressive democrat from Minnesota.
Among all the members of the “squad” of progressive Democrats in the House of Representatives, few face as much pointless criticism from Republicans and corporate Democrats alike then Minnesota Congresswoman Ilhan Omar. Recently, Omar came under fire for a tweet in which she highlighted her line of questioning towards Secretary of State Anthony Blinken.
In a tweet where she attached her line of questioning for Secretary Blinken, Omar wrote in the caption:
“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. I asked @SecBlinken where people are supposed to go for justice.”
Unsurprisingly, it didn’t take long for the right wing to pounce, and for Democratic congressional leadership to join in with them in response to a tweet where they accused her of equating the United States and Israel to terrorist organizations. Accusations that were launched against her for no other reason than her willingness to point out the irrefutable truth.
It didn’t take long for Democratic leadership including Nancy Pelosi to release a joint statement, accusing Omar of making “false equivalencies” and urging her to “clarify” her remarks.
Omar, of course, had an answer to the statement, writing:
“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 & silencing from the signers of this letter is unbearable. Citing an open case against Israel, US, Hamas & Taliban in the ICC isn’t comparison or from “deeply seated prejudice”. You might try to undermine these investigations or deny justice to their victims but history has thought us that the truth can’t be hidden or silenced forever.”
Personally, I’m not sure Congresswoman Omar could have responded any better.
Fellow Justice Democrats like Representatives Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Cori Bush were quick to rise to her defense, but one of the most interesting takeaways the manufactured controversy came from Sophie Ellman-Golan, who wrote:
“I think part of why so many lawmakers take Ilhan Omar’s criticism of ‘western’ countries as a personal affront is tied to the fact that she was a refugee. They think her takeaway from that trauma should be gratitude — to them, to the ‘West’ — not the takeaway that all war is horrific.”
Why else would lawmakers feel so threatened by a black woman who also happens to be a refugee and muslim who did nothing more than state a fact? It’s incredible isn’t it, that Joe Manchin can proudly declare his intentions to derail virtually the entirety of the Democractic agenda and these lawmakers could not be bothered, but the moment Ilhan Omar has the temerity to point out a reality, they don’t waste a moment before piling on?
Personally, I think what bothers the Democratic leadership about these statements almost more than anything else is that when a sitting U.S. congresswoman is using her platform to draw attention to ICC investigations into crimes the United States has committed, that’s a provocative threat to the international, imperialist powers that be. It’s far easier for them, isn’t it, to accuse her of simply making false equivalencies than address the fact that people are now wondering about these ICC investigations that many probably had no idea were even happening in the first place? Distraction is a tried and true tactic, and their feigned outrage at her words reek of desperate attempts to demonize her before people pay attention to the substance of what she’s saying.
As genuinely frustrated as I might be with members of the squad, the progressive caucus, and their strategies or lack thereof to get fundamentally necessary legislation passed, I can’t help feeling as though Ilhan Omar proved the importance of having voices like hers in the halls of power. I can only hope she will stand by her words, because it cannot be overstated just how important it is to have people in her position and with her background saying them.