Rashida Tlaib says ‘freedom of speech doesn’t exist for Muslim women in Congress’

Rep. Rashida Tlaib blasted House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Democratic leadership for a statement they put out Thursday that said Rep. Ilhan Omar was fomenting ‘prejudice’ by comparing the U.S. and Israel to Hamas and the Taliban. 

‘Freedom of speech doesn’t exist for Muslim women in Congress. The benefit of the doubt doesn’t exist for Muslim women in Congress,’ Tlaib tweeted. ‘House Democratic leadership should be ashamed of its relentless, exclusive tone policing of Congresswomen of color.’  

Beyond support from fellow Squad members Tlaib and  Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, the Congressional Progressive Caucus also came out in defense of Omar, a Minnesota Democrat.  

Progressive Caucus Chair Pramila Jayapal called Omar a ‘deeply valued member’ of the Progressive Caucus in a statement sent out Thursday afternoon, several hours after Pelosi and the five top House Democrats sent out theirs. 

‘We cannot ignore a right-wing media echo chamber that has deliberately and routinely attacked a Black, Muslim woman in Congress, distorting her views and intentions, and resulting in threats against Rep. Omar and her staff,’ Jayapal said. ‘We urge our colleagues not to abet or amplify such divisive and bad-faith tactics.’ 

‘Members of the Democratic caucus owe it to each other to pause, reflect, and engage directly with each other when misunderstandings arise, and stand together against cynical attempts to divide our caucus,’ she added.   

Rep. Rashida Tlaib

Rep. Ilhan Omar

Rep. Rashida Tlaib (left) defended her fellow ‘squad’ member, Rep. Ilhan Omar, in a Thursday tweet saying, ‘Freedom of speech doesn’t exist for Muslim women in Congress. The benefit of the doubt doesn’t exist for Muslim women in Congress’ 

Tlaib's tweet came in response to a statement put out by Democratic leadership that Omar was fomenting 'prejudice' by drawing false equivalence between democracies such as U.S. and Israel and terrorist groups such as Hamas and the Taliban

Tlaib’s tweet came in response to a statement put out by Democratic leadership that Omar was fomenting ‘prejudice’ by drawing false equivalence between democracies such as U.S. and Israel and terrorist groups such as Hamas and the Taliban 

Omar accused her critics within the Democratic Party of whipping up ‘Islamic hate against her’ after they complained she was comparing atrocities committed by American and Israeli troops with those of terrorist groups. 

Pelosi stepped in on Thursday afternoon in an effort to end the feuding.

She said legitimate criticism of the U.S. and Israel was protected by the values of democratic debate.  

‘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,’ she said.

‘We welcome the clarification by Congresswoman Omar that there is no moral equivalency between the U.S. and Israel and Hamas and the Taliban.’ 

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has stepped into an escalating row with Representative Ilhan Omar over Omar's latest condemnation of Israel

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has stepped into an escalating row with Representative Ilhan Omar over Omar’s latest condemnation of Israel 

Rep. Ilhan Omar hit back at her critics within her own party, accusing them of Islamophobia. 'The Islamophobic tropes in this statement are offensive,' she said on Twitter. The constant harassment and silencing from the signers of this letter is unbearable'

Rep. Ilhan Omar hit back at her critics within her own party, accusing them of Islamophobia. ‘The Islamophobic tropes in this statement are offensive,’ she said on Twitter. The constant harassment and silencing from the signers of this letter is unbearable’

Omar has frequently been at odds with members of her own party on the Middle East.

The latest row stems from her pressing Secretary of State Anthony Blinken for an International Criminal Court (ICC) investigation into abuses committed by both Hamas and Israeli security forces. 

On Twitter, she went further, describing ‘unthinkable atrocities’ committed by the US, Israel, Hamas and the Taliban, triggering an angry backlash and accusations of ‘false equivalencies’ between ‘imperfect’ democracies and terrorist outfits.

Her office claimed the result was an increase in death threats against her.

And Omar blasted back on Twitter: ‘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 and silencing from the signers of this letter is unbearable.’

Her senior communications director Jeremy Slevin said: ‘As usual, the far right is ginning up hate against Rep. Omar for a technical question about an ongoing investigation.   

This has already led to an increase in death threats against her and her staff.

‘And now some of her own Democratic colleagues are ginning up the same Islamophobic hate against her, accusing her of giving “cover to terrorist groups” simply for exercising oversight over a criminal investigation.’

Omar insisted her words had been taken out of context.  

‘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,’ she said.

‘I was in no way equating terrorist organizations with democratic countries with well-established judicial systems.’ 

Even so, she was quickly back on the attack, hinting her own caucus was faster to call out anti-Israel comments with the party than Islamaphobia among Republicans.

She highlighted comments by Rep. Mo Brooks in 2019 saying: ‘Muslims, more so than most people, have great animosity towards Israel and the Jewish faith.’ 

She asked: ‘When will our caucus forcefully stand up against hate towards their Muslim colleagues and constituents?’

Omar was back on the attack by Thursday afternoon, after clarifying her earlier comments, saying she 'was in no way equating terrorist organizations with democratic countries with well-established judicial systems'

Omar was back on the attack by Thursday afternoon, after clarifying her earlier comments, saying she ‘was in no way equating terrorist organizations with democratic countries with well-established judicial systems’

 

Fellow members of the squad raced to Omar's defense on Twitter with messages of solidarity. Tlaib condemned colleagues and 'their obsession with policing her' as sick

Fellow members of the squad raced to Omar’s defense on Twitter with messages of solidarity. Tlaib condemned colleagues and ‘their obsession with policing her’ as sick

Fellow members of the so-called ‘squad’ of progressive Democrats, Reps Rashida Tlaib and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, took to Twitter to show solidarity with Omar. 

‘I am tired of colleagues (both D+R) demonizing,’ wrote Tlaib. 

‘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.’    

An unofficial caucus of 25 Jewish Democrats met on Wednesday to discuss anti-Semitism after the provocative tweet was posted on Monday.

Omar had said: ‘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 US, Hamas, Israel, Afghanistan, and the Taliban.’

New York Republican Rep. Lee Zeldin said Omar should be removed from the Foreign Affairs Committee.

‘She should have never been appointed to this Committee in the first place’, he tweeted Wednesday night.

Brad Sherman, a senior Democrat from California who has served since 1997, denounced the comments in a furious press release.

Representative Ilhan Omar likened U.S. and Israeli actions to the 'unthinkable atrocities committed' by terrorist groups like Hamas and the Taliban

Representative Ilhan Omar likened U.S. and Israeli actions to the ‘unthinkable atrocities committed’ by terrorist groups like Hamas and the Taliban

He said: ‘It’s not news that Ilhan Omar would make outrageous and clearly false statements about America and Israel. What’s newsworthy is that she admits Hamas is guilty of “unthinkable atrocities”.

‘It’s time for all of Israel’s detractors to condemn Hamas. And it’s time for all those of good will to reject any moral equivalency between the US and Israel on one hand, and Hamas and the Taliban on the other.’

‘Ilhan Omar must be removed from the House Foreign Affairs Committee. She should have never been appointed to this Committee in the first place. 

A number of lawmakers at the meeting of Jewish Democrats wanted to name and shame Omar in a joint statement saying she ‘discredited’ the party, according to The Times of Israel

Other than Sherman, Debbie Wasserman Schultz and Brad Schneider were among those pushing to condemn Omar, although no one on the call said they believed the tweet to be anti-Semitic.

Others present were Jamie Raskin, who was hesitant to denounce Omar, Jerry Nadler, Ted Deutch, Jan Schakowsky, Elissa Slotkin and Elaine Luria.

Minnesota Representative Ilhan Omar

Secretary of State Antony Blinken

In her tweet, the Minnesota congresswoman included a clip of her line of questioning with Secretary of State Antony Blinken during a hearing Monday. The questioning did not include lumping in the U.S. with terrorist organizations

Schakowsky previously joined Omar on a campaign against Islamophobia and anti-Semitism. 

Omar’s office did not respond to a previous DailyMail.com request on what specific ‘atrocities’ she was referencing in her tweet that the US is responsible for.

Jeremy Slevin, a spokesman for Omar, told the Jewish Telegraphic Agency: ‘As usual, the far right is ginning up hate against Rep. Omar for a technical question about an ongoing investigation. 

‘It is the congresswoman’s role as a member of Congress conducting federal oversight to follow the facts, ask questions of the administration and work to make sure the public understands our government shouldn’t deny any person from seeking justice.’

David Harris, the American Jewish Committee CEO, said: ‘Beyond shocking. Beyond reprehensible. 

Brad Sherman, a senior Democrat who has served since 1997, denounced the comments in a furious press release

Brad Sherman, a senior Democrat who has served since 1997, denounced the comments in a furious press release

‘Will members of her own party speak up?’ 

A number of Republican lawmakers have chided in to slam Omar for the ‘hateful assault’. 

‘This shouldn’t be at all controversial: America is not a terrorist organization,’ newly elected South Carolina Representative Nancy Mace tweeted on Tuesday. ‘Full stop.’

‘It is absolutely befuddling that Rep. [Ilhan Omar] continues her vicious, hateful assault on America, likening our country to terrorists,’ she added. 

Florida Representative Brian Mast tweeted: ‘This is absolutely disgusting from a Member of Congress. I lost two legs and a finger defending the USA and fighting the radical Islamic terrorists that [Ilhan] Omar is now defending. She is completely unfit to serve our country.’ 

The ‘Squad’ member included a clip in her tweet where she questioned Secretary of State Antony Blinken as part of a Monday House Foreign Affairs Committee hearing on the State Department’s budget request and foreign policy strategy.

Her line of questioning, unlike her tweet, did not include her grouping America with terrorist organizations. 

Instead, she asked Blinken how the US plans to help people in areas where war crimes are being committed by Hamas and the Taliban, including places like in Israel, Palestinian territories and Afghanistan.

‘I asked [Secretary Antony Blinken] where people are supposed to go for justice,’ Omar tweeted of her line of questioning.

South Carolina Rep. Nancy Mace said it 'shouldn't be at all controversial' to say that America is 'not a terrorist organization'. She called on Omar to resign

South Carolina Rep. Nancy Mace said it ‘shouldn’t be at all controversial’ to say that America is ‘not a terrorist organization’. She called on Omar to resign

The American-Somali congresswoman’s comments come shortly after a ceasefire was called between Israel and Hamas, operating in Gaza, following an 11-day deadly conflict.

More than 250 people were killed in the conflict and thousands others were injured.

Omar saw some backlash for her tweet, including questions of why she serves in Congress if she ‘hates America.’

‘If Ilhan Omar hates America so much to say that US committed atrocities equal to #Hamas and #Taliban why is she a member of US Congress?’ TV reporter Trish Regan tweeted. ‘She should resign!!’

Former CIA Operations Officer Bryan Dean Wright, tweeted: ‘Ilhan Omar claims — without evidence — that America is a war criminal, sharing the honor with Hamas, the Taliban, and her favorite of all villains — the Jewish State.’

Democrats criticized President Joe Biden’s administration for not being tougher on Israel and sending more humanitarian aid to Palestinians.

After working behind the scenes on a ceasefire between the two entities, Biden assured he is focused on the two-state solution so Israel and Palestinians both have their own land.

Republicans, however, were critical of the president not doubling-down on America’s commitment to defending Israel.

Omar and other ‘squad’ members, Representatives Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Rashida Tlaib, have been vocal about their support for Palestinians and critical of Israel.

Tlaib is the first woman of Palestinian descent to be elected to the U.S. Congress.  

Conservative television journalist Trish Regan slammed Omar for 'hating America,' and said 'she should resign'

Conservative television journalist Trish Regan slammed Omar for ‘hating America,’ and said ‘she should resign’

A former CIA operations officer said Omar's 'favorite villain' is 'the Jewish State'

A former CIA operations officer said Omar’s ‘favorite villain’ is ‘the Jewish State’

Omar's comments come after an 11-day conflict between Israel and Hamas operating in Gaza, which saw more than 250 people be killed, thousands others injured and millions in damages

Omar’s comments come after an 11-day conflict between Israel and Hamas operating in Gaza, which saw more than 250 people be killed, thousands others injured and millions in damages

Last month, Omar accused Israel of committing ‘war crimes’ in the conflict between the Jewish state and Hamas, which ws operating in Palestinian territory of Gaza. 

‘We should all be grateful that a ceasefire will prevent more civilians and children from being killed,’ Omar tweeted in May. ‘But now what? We need accountability for every war crime committed.’

‘And we need to stop underwriting crimes against humanity while doing nothing to end the occupation,’ she added.

During the 11-day conflict last month, thousands of missiles were fired at Jerusalem and Tel Aviv – along with other areas in Israel – from Gaza.

Israel’s Iron Dome defense system went into action and the country retaliated with missiles of their own aimed at areas where they believed Hamas was operating – like a media building.

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