US Congress members consider formally censuring Ilhan Omar

US lawmakers consider formal censure of Ilhan Omar over Israel criticism
2 min read
16 June, 2021
A formal censure would constitute a public group condemnation of Omar, however would not remove her from office and have not effect on her title, stature and power to vote.
Ilhan Omar's remarks drew criticism from both Democrats and Republicans [Getty]

US Congresswoman Ilhan Omar is facing calls for a formal censure from fellow Congress members after she compared alleged crimes committed by the US and Israel with those linked to Hamas and the Taliban.

Republicans and some Democrats threatening the action, Politico reported.

A formal censure would constitute a public group condemnation of Omar, however would not remove her from office and have not effect on her title, stature and power to vote.

Last week, Omar tweeted a video to Secretary of State Antony Blinken in which she 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. I asked Secretary Blinken where people are supposed to go for justice."

She went on to ask why the federal government opposed investigations by the International Criminal Court (ICC) into alleged war crimes.

Her comments led to a rare public letter of disapproval penned by Democrats, including House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.

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Following backlash, the Muslim-American congresswoman issued a clarification, writing in a statement:

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

Though it is unlikely that Omar will be censured, Republican Michael Waltz, who is leading the efforts, is encouraging members of his party to continue to press the issue.

"It’s not our problem. Police your own members," said one GOP lawmaker quoted by Politico. "By doing this, all you're going to do is unify them on a vote. So we can just be in the background."

Some, however, came to Omar's defence.

ilhan omar
Ilhan Omar has been the target of death threats over her criticism of Israel [Getty]

"Pretty sick & tired of the constant vilification, intentional mischaracterization, and public targeting of @IlhanMN coming from our caucus," fellow congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez tweeted.

"They have no concept for the danger they put her in by skipping private conversations & leaping to fuelling targeted news cycles around her."

Omara also received support from the other Muslim woman in Congress, Rashida Tlaib, who said she was tired of colleagues "demonising" Omar.

"Their obsession with policing her is sick," Tlaib said.

Palestinian faction Hamas, meanwhile, took offence at Omar's comments, slamming her comparison of the Islamist group to the US and Israel.