Squad takes on Pelosi over Ilhan Omar's slapdown
“The Squad” has declared war on its own party leader, Democratic House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, over her rebuke of Rep. Ilhan Omar for comparing the United States and Israel to Hamas and the Taliban.
Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D-Mich.), one of two Muslim women in the House alongside Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-Mich.), took aim at Pelosi and other Democratic leaders, claiming that Muslim women in Congress lack “freedom of speech.”
Tlaib's remarks come after Pelosi and the other leaders issued a statement condemning Omar for her tweet criticizing America and Israel, stating: "We must have the same level of accountability and justice for all victims of crimes against humanity." The US, Hamas, Israel, Afghanistan, and the Taliban have all committed unspeakable atrocities. I inquired of @SecBlinken where individuals are supposed to seek justice.”
Tlaib responded to Democratic criticism of Omar by tweeting, "Freedom of speech does not exist for Muslim women in Congress." For Muslim women in Congress, the benefit of the doubt does not exist. The Democratic leadership in the House should be ashamed of its zealous, exclusive tone-policing of Congresswomen of color.”
Tensions between leadership and "The Squad" have grown more visible as progressives have become more vocal in their support for Palestinians, despite the US's long-standing pro-Israel stance.
While Omar eventually recanted her remarks following Pelosi's reprimand, she initially accused her critics of "harassment" and "Islamophobia."
Pelosi, House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-Md. ), Majority Whip James E. Clyburn (D-S.C.), Assistant Speaker Katherine Clark (D-Mass. ), Democratic Caucus Chairman Hakeem Jeffries (D-NY), and Democratic Caucus Vice Chair Pete Aguilar (D-Calif.) all stated that they do not support rhetoric equating democracies to terrorist organizations and applauded Omar's
“Legitimate criticism of both the US and Israeli governments' policies is safeguarded by the values of free speech and democratic debate. Indeed, such criticism is necessary for the strength and health of our democracies,” Democratic leaders stated in a joint statement.
“However, drawing false analogies between democracies such as the United States and Israel and terrorist groups such as Hamas and the Taliban fosters prejudice and stymies progress toward a future of peace and security for all. We appreciate Congresswoman Omar's clarification that there is no moral equivalence between the United States and Israel and Hamas and the Taliban.”
While Omar has since retracted her initial statement, Republican lawmakers, including House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) and Rep. Lee Zeldin (R-New York), a Jew, have urged Democratic leaders to take formal action against Omar.
Zeldin even went so far as to suggest that the progressive firebrand be removed from the House Committee on Foreign Affairs.