Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) stirred controversy in the House by characterizing Israel’s response to repeated attacks by terrorist groups as a ‘war crime.’ Fellow lawmakers were described as ‘outraged’ by The New York Post as she made her case on the House floor, advocating for the cessation of aid to Israel.
A member of the ‘Squad,’ Omar has faced criticism for making anti-Semitic remarks and has been censured by her peers in the House. In 2019, she was reported to have said, “I do not regret past anti-Semitic comments.”
Initially condemning the attack, Omar’s comments on Tuesday appeared to show little sympathy for Israel. She attributed the plight of the Palestinians to Israel and expressed frustration over the Israeli Defense Minister’s characterization of the attackers who killed 40 babies, kidnapped 200 civilians, and killed around 1,000 people (primarily Israeli civilians) as “human animals.”
Omar posted a series of responses on X:
“The Israeli Defense Minister has referred to Palestinians as ‘human animals’ and pledged to cut off all electricity, food, and fuel to Gaza’s civilians,” Omar wrote. Not mentioning that Palestinians have rejected multiple two-state solution proposals, violated numerous peace agreements, and vowed in their charter to destroy Israel, Omar stated, “The solution to this tragedy, as always, is a negotiated peace, with both Israelis and Palestinians enjoying equal rights and security guarantees.”
Demanding an immediate ceasefire, Omar warned that Israel’s intention to punish Hamas and its supporters amounted to a criminal offense: “This is collective punishment, a war crime, and the U.S. should oppose any violations of international law if we genuinely support a rules-based international order.”
As the world is condemning Hamas’s attacks, we must also oppose an Israeli military response that has already taken the lives of hundreds of Palestinians, including nearly two dozen children.— Ilhan Omar (@IlhanMN) October 9, 2023
Her comments, both in terms of their content and timing, received strong disapproval from the majority of lawmakers and online followers.
Rep. Mike Lawler (R-NY) raised concerns about her objectivity and the timing of her statement, saying, “Israel was just subjected to a brutal attack by terrorists funded by Iran, and you propose cutting off funding, military aid, and equipment? Your stance is unreasonable, and you are unfit to serve in the House of Representatives. This is why you were removed from the Foreign Affairs committee by former House Speaker Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-CA), who cited your previous anti-Semitic remarks as a justification.”
Some have suggested that members of the ‘Squad’ are insensitive to the situation. Mediate writer Isaac Schorr criticized Omar for “calling on the U.S. to abandon Israel while Hamas parades survivors of rape victims through the streets of Gaza. May God show mercy upon your soul.”
Gates McGavick, the legal communications director at the Republican National Committee, concurred with Schorr and commented, “This is, in fact, the very definition of negotiating with terrorists.”