The spokesman for far-left Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.) accused a pro-Israel lobbying group Wednesday of putting the congresswoman’s “life at risk” by going up with an attack ad referencing comments she made in June equating America and Israel with Hamas and the Taliban.
The Facebook ad from the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) features a black-and-white image of Omar accompanied by text reading: “For Ilhan Omar, there is no difference between America and the Taliban. Between Israel and Hamas. Between democracies and terrorists.” The ad is captioned: “Stand WITH America. Stand AGAINST Terrorists.”
According to Omar’s communications director, Jeremy Slevin, the language in the AIPAC ad “is virtually identical to the language used in death threats she gets.”
Make no mistake,” Slevin tweeted. “AIPAC is putting Rep. Omar’s life at risk with repeated Islamophobic attack ads.” His post included screenshots of the ad alongside an Omar tweet accompanied by audio of a purported death threat she received in June.
“It shouldn’t have to be stated,” Slevin added in a subsequent tweet, “but baselessly linking Muslim-Americans to terrorism is the textbook example of Islamophobia and is routinely used to silence advocacy for Palestinian human rights.”
On June 7, Omar tweeted video of an exchange between her and Secretary of State Antony Blinken during a House Foreign Affairs Committee hearing. She captioned the video: “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. I asked @SecBlinken where people are supposed to go for justice.”
The message caused an uproar both on social media and among members of Congress. After a dozen Jewish House Democrats urged Omar to “clarify” her statement, Omar accused them of using “islamophobic tropes.” In a subsequent statement, Omar claimed she “was in no way equating terrorist organizations with democratic countries with well-established judicial systems.” Despite walking back her statement, Omar told CNN in a late June interview she did not regret making the initial comment.
In the same interview, Omar claimed that colleagues who criticized her remarks “haven’t been partners in justice. They haven’t been, you know, equally engaging in seeking justice around the world.”
AIPAC fired back at Slevin on Twitter Wednesday, writing: “Your baseless attack on us can’t deflect from @Ilhan ‘s attack on America and Israel.
“It is outrageous for Rep. Omar to put the U.S. and Israel on the same level as the Taliban and Hamas,” the AIPAC tweet added. “There is no moral equivalence between democratic allies and the terrorists who target them.”
The lobby then turned its focus to Omar’s fellow “Squad” member, Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D-Mich.), who had tweeted, “I’m so sick of this s–t” in response to Slevin.
“So are we, Congresswoman,” AIPAC said. “Inciting hate by demonizing Israel and spreading vicious, dangerous lies about our democratic ally Israel doesn’t advance the prospects for peace.”
Omar has repeatedly been accused of making anti-Semitic statements. In 2019, she tweeted that the relationship between the United States and Israel is “all about the Benjamins.”
When Batya Ungar-Sargon, the opinion editor of The Forward newspaper, said, “Would love to know who @IlhanMN thinks is paying American politicians to be pro-Israel,” Omar replied, “AIPAC.”
Omar deleted the tweet and offered an apology, as well as thanks to her colleagues “who are educating me on the powerful history of anti-Semitic tropes.”