| Congresswoman Ilhan Omar on Monday asked Secretary of State Antony Blinken, proponent of a vaguely defined "rule-based order," what rules could be applied to the crimes of the United States, Israel, Hamas, Afghanistan, and the Taliban.
Then all hell broke loose. Rep. Omar was lied about and vilified, distracting from what she had said but also making clear a prohibition on saying anything like it.
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Outrage at Congresswoman Omar from Republicans and Democrats alike in Congress focused on her tweet of a video in which she questioned Blinken. Accompanying the video, she tweeted these words:
"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. I asked @SecBlinken where people are supposed to go for justice."
In the video she asked where people could turn for justice if domestic courts do not act and Blinken opposes action by the International Criminal Court (ICC) on crimes committed in Afghanistan and Palestine. She noted that crimes under investigation by the ICC include those committed by Israel, Hamas, Afghanistan, and the Taliban. Blinken had no real answer to her question.
Two days later, taking their cue from Republicans and media outlets, 12 Democratic Congress Members released this statement (included here in its entirety): "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 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."
But contrary to the claims made against her, Rep. Omar had not equated anything with anything else. What she did do was ask about ICC investigations of crimes committed by various entities, without commenting on which entities had committed the greatest number or most horrific of crimes.
Ironically, even mainstream news reporting has made clear that Israel has inflicted far more deadly violence than Hamas. It's very hard to imagine Congresswoman Omar "equating" the two.
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House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and five other Democratic Party leaders issued their own statement -- accusing Congresswoman Omar of "drawing false equivalencies" and asking Omar to recant such a view.
Rep. Omar quickly stated that she had not in fact said what she was accused of saying. Various media outlets reported that Omar had "backed down" or "folded" by pointing out this obvious fact.
Lost in the shuffle was the still unanswered question: If nations wage illegal wars consisting of endless illegal actions, and don't put themselves or their citizens on trial, and if the U.S. government opposes the application of international law through the International Criminal Court, whether for itself, its allies, or its enemies, where are the victims of the wars -- overwhelmingly the innocent civilians who live where the wars are fought -- supposed to turn for justice, order, rules, or even a "rule based order"?
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-- The RootsAction.org Team
>> Congresswoman Omar's Tweet
>> Statement by 12 Democratic Congress Members
>> Statement by Nancy Pelosi et alia
>> Minneapolis Star Tribune: "Omar clarifies tweet after pushback from fellow Democrats"
>> Common Dreams: "Progressives Rally to Defend Ilhan Omar After 'Bad Faith' Attack by House Democratic Leadership"