Hamas on Saturday rejected US Congresswoman Ilhan Omar’s grouping of the Gaza-ruling terror group with Israel, America and the Taliban in her comments on alleged war crime investigations.
Omar, a Minnesota Democrat, has faced criticism from Jewish colleagues over the remarks, but claims she was not equating Israel and the United States with Hamas and the Taliban.
Calling her comments “peculiar,” Hamas did not accept her denial.
“She equated between the victim and the executioner when she treated the resistance of the Palestinian people, the Israeli crimes in Palestine, and the US aggression in Afghanistan as an equal footing,” Bassem Naim, the Islamist terror organization’s international spokesperson, said in a statement.
Naim lauded Omar for her “support of justice and the rights of the oppressed around the world,” in particular for the “just rights” of the Palestinians.
“However, it is unacceptable to make such an unfair comparison, which contradicts with basic norms of justice and international law,” he said.
He also called on Omar “and all defenders of Palestinian rights… to provide a proper and accurate description of the situation.”
There was no response from Omar to the repudiation, which came days after she lashed out at her Jewish colleagues in the Democratic party for saying her comments gave “cover to terrorist groups.”
“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,” Omar tweeted. “The Islamophobic tropes in this statement are offensive. The constant harassment & silencing from the signers of this letter is unbearable.”
In a subsequent statement on Thursday, Omar said: “On Monday, I asked Secretary of State Antony Blinken about ongoing International Criminal Court investigations. To be clear: the conversation was about accountability for specific incidents regarding those ICC cases, not a moral comparison between Hamas and the Taliban and the US and Israel.
“I was in no way equating terrorist organizations with democratic countries with well-established judicial systems,” she added. She did not tweet the statement.
Omar had posted footage on Monday of her questioning Blinken at a House Foreign Affairs Committee hearing over the Biden administration’s opposition to International Criminal Court investigations in Afghanistan, Israel, the West Bank, and Gaza.
“We must have the same level of accountability and justice for all victims of crimes against humanity,” she wrote. “We have seen unthinkable atrocities committed by the US, Hamas, Israel, Afghanistan, and the Taliban,” she wrote in the post that included the HFAC hearing footage.
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.
— Rep. Ilhan Omar (@Ilhan) June 7, 2021
The matter also became the focus of a Wednesday meeting of the unofficial caucus of 25 Jewish Democrats in the House, which had been convened to discuss the recent uptick in antisemitism, but was steered by Representative Brad Schneider of Illinois to focus on Omar.
Almost half of the caucus agreed to back a statement calling Omar’s comparison 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.”
While Omar came under fire from all directions, several progressive Democrats have spoken out in her defense.
Jacob Magid and JTA contributed to this report.