- The Washington Times - Monday, June 14, 2021

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi was slammed by Republicans after insisting Sunday that she never rebuked Rep. Ilhan Omar, Minnesota Democrat, for her comments equating the United States and Israel to Hamas and the Taliban.

CNN host Dana Bash asked Mrs. Pelosi about last week’s House leadership statement “rebuking [Ms. Omar] for appearing to, quote, ‘draw false equivalencies’ between the United States and Israel and terrorist organizations Hamas and Taliban.”

Mrs. Pelosi rejected that assessment.

“We did not rebuke her. We acknowledged that she made a clarification,” Mrs. Pelosi said on “State of the Union.”

She added that “congresswoman Omar is a valued member of our caucus.”

Mark Bednar, a spokesman for House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, California Republican, responded by tweeting, “You can’t make this up.”

“Speaker Pelosi actually clarifies that she did NOT rebuke Democrat Rep. Ilhan Omar‘s comparison of Israel & the United States to terrorist orgs Hamas & the Taliban,” he tweeted.

The National Republican Congressional Committee issued a statement Monday accusing the House speaker of “condoning anti-Semitic and anti-American rhetoric.”

“By failing to stand by their weak rebuke of Ilhan Omar‘s disgusting comments, Nancy Pelosi and her leadership team are condoning anti-Semitic and anti-American rhetoric,” said NRCC spokesman Mike Berg. “Pelosi‘s message is clear: anti-Semites like Omar are a key part of the Democrats’ coalition.”

Even the Daily Beast was unconvinced. It ran the headline “Nancy Pelosi Claims Her Rebuke of Ilhan Omar Was Not, In Fact, a Rebuke.”

After 12 Jewish Democratic lawmakers condemned her June 7 tweet and the House Democratic leadership issued a statement, Ms. Omar said she was “in no way equating terrorist organizations with democratic countries with well-established judicial systems.” 

“Legitimate criticism of the policies of both the United States and Israel is protected by the values of free speech and democratic debate,” the Democratic leaders said. “And indeed, such criticism is essential to the strength and health of our democracies. 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.”

The statement concluded: “We welcome the clarification by Congresswoman Omar that there is no moral equivalency between the U.S. and Israel and Hamas and the Taliban.”

Ms. Omar‘s original tweet, during a House Foreign Affairs Committee hearing, 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 U.S., Hamas, Israel, Afghanistan, and the Taliban.”

Rep. Rashida Tlaib, Michigan Democrat, weighed in on the latest dust-up between the House Democratic establishment and the liberal “Squad.” She tweeted Thursday that “House Democratic leadership should be ashamed of its relentless, exclusive tone policing of Congresswomen of color.”

Mrs. Pelosi insisted Sunday that the matter was closed as far as she was concerned.

“They can say whatever they want, but what I’m saying is end of subject. She clarified. We thanked her. End of subject. Whatever people go out and say is up to them,” Mrs. Pelosi said.

• Valerie Richardson can be reached at vrichardson@washingtontimes.com.

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