House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) and her leadership team issued a joint statement criticizing comments from Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) that compared the United States and Israel with terrorist groups such as Hamas and the Taliban.
"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," stated Pelosi along with Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-MD), Majority Whip James Clyburn (D-SC), Assistant Speaker Katherine Clark (D-MA), Caucus Chair Hakeem Jeffries (D-NY), and Caucus Vice Chair Pete Aguilar (D-CA).
"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."
"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 Democratic leaders added.
Pelosi's statement comes hours after GOP Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) called Rep. Omar's comments "abhorrent" and said the Speaker's "continued failure to address the issues in her caucus sends a message to the world that Democrats are tolerant of anti-Semitism and sympathizing with terrorists."
Rep. Omar's anti-Semitic & anti-American comments are abhorrent.— Kevin McCarthy (@GOPLeader) June 10, 2021
Speaker Pelosi’s continued failure to address the issues in her caucus sends a message to the world that Democrats are tolerant of anti-Semitism and sympathizing with terrorists.
It’s time for the Speaker to act.
The fact that Democrat leadership in the House singled out Omar for criticism is a change from the last time her anti-Semitic rhetoric landed her in trouble with those in her own caucus. A 2019 resolution condemning anti-Semitism following other comments by Omar at the time ended up being watered down into an absurdly intersectional expression of "anti-hate" that clearly didn't teach Omar a lesson.