Senior Democratic leaders issued a unified statement Thursday, denouncing comments made by Minnesota Democrat Rep. Ilhan Omar when she compared U.S. and Israeli “war crimes” to actions by the Taliban and Hamas.
The statement was part of an internecine war of words within the Democratic Party, with some leftist members of the caucus supporting Omar against attacks by the leadership.
Omar issued a statement Thursday clarifying her comments after she was met with a flood of criticism from not only Republicans on the Hill, but from members of her own party.
“To be clear: the conversation was about accountability for specific incidents regarding those ICC (International Criminal Court) cases, not a moral comparison between Hamas and the Taliban and the U.S. and Israel,” Omar said Thursday.
“I was in no way equating terrorist organizations with democratic countries with well-established judicial systems,” she added.
In a statement led by Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi and joined by five other elected House Democratic leaders, the top officials thanked Omar for her clarification but warned against making drastic comparisons.
“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,” the group wrote.
“We welcome the clarification by Congresswoman Omar that there is no moral equivalency between the U.S. and Israel and Hamas and the Taliban,” the statement concluded.
The immense backlash came after the congresswoman questioned Secretary of State Antony Blinken during a House Foreign Affairs Committee about ICC investigations into U.S. and Israeli actions in Afghanistan and the Palestinian territories.
She later posted a tweet of their exchange and said, “We have seen unthinkable atrocities committed by the U.S., Hamas, Israel, Afghanistan, and the Taliban,” wrote Omar. “I asked @SecBlinken where people are supposed to go for justice.”
Some left-wing Democrats lined up with Omar.
New York Democrat Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez condemned the attacks from fellow Democrats, calling them a “mischaracterization” and dangerous.
“Pretty sick & tired of the constant vilification, intentional mischaracterization, and public targeting of Rep. Ilhan Omar coming from our caucus,” she said.
“They have no concept for the danger they put her in by skipping private conversations & leaping to fueling targeted news cycles around her.”
Fellow “squaders” Rep. Ayanna Pressley and Rep. Cori Bush also threw their support behind Omar Thursday.