Jun 10, 2021
Progressives rally behind Omar while accusing her critics of bias
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House progressives rallied behind Rep. Ilhan OmarIlhan OmarHouse candidate in Chicago says gun violence prompted her to run Antisemitism isn't a partisan issue — it's a crisis both parties must fight together Omar reintroduces bill to repeal law used to justify Trump's Muslim ban, Japanese Americans' internment MORE (D-Minn.) on Thursday as she sought to clarify that her discussion of alleged international human rights abuses wasn’t drawing false equivalence between the U.S. and terrorist groups, with some arguing that she is being held to a racist double standard.
Omar and others went on to accuse the group of 12 Jewish House Democrats and vocal supporters of Israel who issued a statement asking her to “clarify” her comments of unfairly targeting her out of inherent anti-Muslim and racial bias.
The pushback from Omar’s allies laid bare the tensions in the highly diverse House Democratic caucus, where lawmakers of a wide array of ethnicities and religions have at times accused each other of being insensitive to historic injustices.
“I am tired of colleagues (both D+R) demonizing @IlhanMN. Their obsession with policing her is sick. She has the courage to call out human rights abuses no matter who is responsible. That's better than colleagues who look away if it serves their politics,” tweeted Rep. Rashida TlaibRashida Harbi TlaibCongressional Black Caucus blocking Black House Republican from joining group New report reignites push for wealth tax Overnight Health Care: Fauci urges vaccination to protect against Delta variant | White House: 'Small fraction' of COVID-19 vaccine doses will be unused MORE (D-Mich.), who along with Omar is one of the first Muslim women elected to Congress.
And Rep. Cori Bush (D-Mo.), who is Black, further accused fellow Democrats of engaging in racism against Omar, a Somali refugee.
“I'm not surprised when Republicans attack Black women for standing up for human rights. But when it’s Democrats, it’s especially hurtful. We’re your colleagues. Talk to us directly. Enough with the anti-Blackness and Islamophobia,” said Rep. Cori Bush (D-Mo.).
Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-CortezAlexandria Ocasio-CortezOvernight Energy: Company officially nixes Keystone XL pipeline | Government watchdog finds failings, but no Trump influence, in clearing of Lafayette Square Ocasio-Cortez: Democrats 'burning precious time' with GOP talks Democrats blast Biden climate adviser over infrastructure remarks MORE (D-N.Y.) similarly argued that Omar’s questioning of Secretary of State Antony BlinkenAntony BlinkenOvernight Defense: Austin directs classified initiatives to counter China | Biden emphasizes alliances in speech to troops | Lockdown lifted at Texas base after reported shooting US, Iran nuclear talks to resume this weekend Pentagon announces new classified programs to counter China MORE at a House Foreign Affairs Committee this week was blown out of proportion.
“Pretty sick & tired of the constant vilification, intentional mischaracterization, and public targeting of @IlhanMN coming from our caucus,” Ocasio-Cortez wrote on Twitter.
“Stop the bad faith attempts to take @IlhanMN's words out of context. She called a simple question,” echoed Rep. Ayanna PressleyAyanna PressleyHouse candidate in Chicago says gun violence prompted her to run Labor secretary faces questions from Democrats in police chief controversy On The Money: Biden tries to navigate bumpy recovery | Jobless claims hit another post-pandemic low | Treasury calls for 15 percent minimum global tax MORE (D-Mass.).
Ocasio-Cortez further chastised her fellow Democrats for attacking Omar publicly instead of hashing out their differences privately, given the threats of violence that Omar faces on a regular basis.
“They have no concept for the danger they put her in by skipping private conversations & leaping to fueling targeted news cycles around her,” the New York Democrat said.
And Rep. Pramila JayapalPramila JayapalOn The Money: Bipartisan Senate group rules out tax hikes on infrastructure | New report reignites push for wealth tax New report reignites push for wealth tax House moderates unveil .25T infrastructure plan MORE (D-Wash.), the Congressional Progressive Caucus leader, suggested that Democrats’ ire toward Omar was misplaced.
“I think my colleagues should just -- instead of taking on Ilhan -- they should focus on justice and human rights here at home and around the world. I think it’s a big brouhaha over, frankly, not very much,” Jayapal told The Hill.
Omar clarified in a statement on Thursday that "I was in no way equating terrorist organizations with democratic countries with well-established judicial systems."
Omar explained that she was asking Blinken about ongoing International Criminal Court investigations regarding alleged crimes by the U.S. and the Taliban in Afghanistan, as well as Hamas and Israel in the Gaza conflict.
"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 U.S. and Israel,” Omar said.
Omar drew ire from Republicans as well as some fellow Democrats for posting a tweet on Monday with video from Monday’s hearing with 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."
Republicans and the Democrats who took issue with that tweet expressed outrage that Omar’s wording appeared to be equating the U.S. and Israel with terrorist groups like the Taliban and Hamas.
“Equating the United States and Israel to Hamas and the Taliban is 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,” the 12 Jewish Democrats, led by Rep. Brad SchneiderBradley (Brad) Scott SchneiderThe Memo: Marjorie Taylor Greene exposes GOP establishment's lack of power GOP leaders face new calls to boot Greene Democratic leaders discussed restraining order for Ocasio-Cortez against Greene: report MORE (Ill.), said in a joint statement late Wednesday night.
“The United States and Israel are imperfect and, like all democracies, at times deserving of critique, but false equivalencies give cover to terrorist groups. We urge Congresswoman Omar to clarify her words placing the U.S. and Israel in the same category as Hamas and the Taliban,” they said.
Omar’s office said that she tried to speak with her colleagues before they issued the joint statement, but her calls were not returned. A spokesperson for Schneider didn't respond to an inquiry from The Hill to confirm that version of events.
“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 in immediate response to the 12 Democrats after the statement went out late Wednesday night.
Omar went on to accuse her colleagues of engaging in “Islamophobic tropes” which falsely suggest that Muslims support terrorism.
“The islamophobic tropes in this statement are offensive. The constant harassment & silencing from the signers of this letter is unbearable,” Omar said.
Omar’s subsequent statement on Thursday afternoon was more diplomatic while reiterating her defense of her questioning at the hearing and didn’t take aim at her colleagues.
Following Omar's latest clarification, Schneider appeared to take a conciliatory step.
"I am pleased @Ilhan heard our concerns about her tweet, issued a clarification, and agrees with our point. I hope all can avoid such offhanded statements in the future as we work together to support American jobs & families," Schneider tweeted.
By contrast, Omar apologized in 2019 after tweeting that “it’s all about the Benjamins baby” — in reference to $100 bills — as her theory for what truly motivates pro-Israel American politicians.
Weeks later in 2019, the House passed a resolution broadly condemning anti-Semitism and other forms of hate after Omar described the pro-Israel lobby as a “political influence in this country that says it is OK to push for allegiance to a foreign country.”
Jewish Democrats at the time said that the comment invoked anti-Semitic tropes about dual loyalties.
The top six House Democratic leaders — Speaker Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiOvernight Health Care: US to donate 500 million Pfizer doses to other countries: reports | GOP's attacks on Fauci at center of pandemic message | Federal appeals court blocks Missouri abortion ban Meet the most powerful woman in Washington not named Pelosi or Harris The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - Biden detours on infrastructure ahead of June vote MORE (Calif.), Majority Leader Steny HoyerSteny Hamilton HoyerHoyer recovering from knee replacement surgery Democrats worry Jan. 6 probe could divert their agenda Omar says Facebook refusing to take down 'hate speech' ad MORE (Md.), Majority Whip James Clyburn (S.C.), Assistant Speaker Katherine ClarkKatherine Marlea ClarkDemocratic scramble complicates Biden's human infrastructure plan Child care advocates seek to lock down billion in new federal funding Pelosi says House will move immediately on COVID-19 relief MORE (Mass.), Caucus Chair Hakeem JeffriesHakeem Sekou JeffriesTrey Gowdy sets goal of avoiding ideological echo chamber with Fox News show Sunday shows - Infrastructure, Jan. 6 commission dominate Jeffries: Republicans 'want to make it harder to vote and easier to steal an election' MORE (N.Y.) and Vice Caucus Chair Pete AguilarPeter (Pete) Ray AguilarMask rules spark confusion, tensions in Congress Capitol Police watchdog calls for boosting countersurveillance TSA chief cites 'substantial increase' in firearms at airports MORE (Calif.) — issued a joint statement on Thursday saying that they “welcome” Omar’s latest clarification.
“Legitimate criticism of the policies of both the United States and Israel is protected by the values of free speech and democratic debate. And indeed, such criticism is essential to the strength and health of our democracies. But 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,” they said.
Mike Lillis contributed.Tags Israel Ilhan Omar Alexandria Ocasio Cortez Ayanna Pressley Rashida Tlaib Nancy Pelosi Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez Pramila Jayapal Katherine Clark Hakeem Jeffries Brad Schneider Antony Blinken Pete Aguilar Steny Hoyer progressives Squad
News Source: thehill.com
Tags: alexandria ocasio cortez that omar’s latest statement on thursday fellow democrats late wednesday night human rights abuses infrastructure plan democratic leaders a statement asking and israel on infrastructure and the taliban a joint statement terrorist groups jewish democrats house democratic to counter china hakeem jeffries pramila jayapal the taliban engaging her colleagues antony blinken colleagues the constant caucus chair the constant nancy pelosi as hamas tensions health care appeared
Im Not Going To Be Extorted: Lindsey Graham Blasts Democrats For Threatening To Change The Rules If They Cant Win Votes
Republican South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham went after Democrats Sunday for what he believed was their strategy to change the Senate rules if they couldn’t win votes.
Graham spoke on “Fox News Sunday with Chris Wallace” about the possibility that Democrats could change the threshold for the filibuster or get rid of it altogether. (RELATED: ‘I Would Talk ‘Til I Fell Over’ — Lindsey Graham Responds To Biden’s Idea Of Bringing Back Talking Filibuster)
Wallace began the conversation with a question about Democratic West Virginia Sen. Joe Manchin’s attempt to find middle ground on a voting rights bill that would omit some of the more drastic changes proposed in HR-1.
“Can you go along with the Manchin stripped-down version, and if not, why not?” Wallace asked.
“As much as I like Joe Manchin, the answer would be no,” Graham replied, referring to SR-1 as “the biggest power grab in the history of the country.”
Wallace noted that several of the provisions Graham objected to were not included in Manchin’s proposed compromise bill — and then pointed out what he saw as the biggest risk in not working with Manchin.
“Do you run the risk that Manchin and a couple of other moderate senators will eventually say look, bipartisanship isn’t working and, you know what, we are not going to kill the filibuster but we are going to reduce the number of votes you need to stop a debate from 60 to 55. Do you run that risk?” he asked.
“I hope not because I was in Joe Manchin’s shoes,” Graham said.
“When we had the House and the Senate and the White House under President Trump, I had a bunch of Democrats wanting to sign a letter with me protecting the filibuster,” Graham added. “Every one of those Democrats have fled for the hills, so I was beat on every day.”
Graham said he held this position because ” it’s bad for the Senate.”
“I hope these Democrats understand it’s bad for the Senate to change the rules and I don’t want to be extorted.”