Iranian state media and the Israeli ambassador have criticized Rep. Ilhan Omar (D–Minn.) for her comments supporting the International Criminal Court.
Omar had said that the Hague-based court was important for prosecuting crimes committed by both sides in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and Afghan war.
“I would emphasize that in Israel and Palestine, this includes crimes committed by both the Israeli security forces and Hamas,” Omar during a Monday meeting of the House Foreign Affairs Committee. “In Afghanistan, it includes crimes committed by the Afghan national government and the Taliban.”
“If domestic courts can’t or won’t provide justice, and we oppose the ICC, where do we think victims are supposed to go for justice?” she asked Secretary of State Antony Blinken.
Omar followed up her comments with a Twitter post about the “unthinkable atrocities committed by the U.S., Hamas, Israel, Afghanistan, and the Taliban.”
Gilad Erdan, Israel’s ambassador to the United States, took offense to Omar’s comments. He asked on Twitter how Omar could compare “two vibrant democracies with robust legal systems” to “jihadi terrorists who purposely murder civilians.”
Several of Omar’s fellow Democrats agreed, signing onto a statement written by Rep. Brad Schneider (D–Ill.) on Thursday. The statement claimed that Omar’s “false equivalencies give cover to terrorist groups,” and “at worst reflects deep-seated prejudice.”
“It’s shameful for colleagues who call me when they need my support to now put out a statement asking for ‘clarification’ and not just call,” Omar responded in another Twitter post. “The Islamophobic tropes in this statement are offensive. The constant harassment & silencing from the signers of this letter is unbearable.”
The Israeli ambassador and pro-Israel lawmakers were joined by an unlikely ally: the Iranian government’s English-language news channel.
“Ilhan Omar has been accused of pandering to Zionists after she compared the Palestinian resistance groups’ defensive acts with atrocities committed by the US, the Taliban and Israeli occupation forces,” PressTV wrote in a Tuesday article.
The Iranian propaganda channel cited unnamed Palestinian activists, who apparently agreed with the Israeli ambassador that there is no appropriate comparison between Hamas and the Israeli military.
The Trump administration had previously imposed sanctions on The Hague for opening investigations into U.S. and Israeli forces. The Biden administration lifted those sanctions, but continues to oppose the investigations.
Blinken told Omar on Monday that the United States and Israel “both have the mechanisms to make there is accountability in any situation where there are concerns about the use of force and human rights.”