In an exclusive statement made to Breitbart News on Thursday, Rep. Guy Reschenthaler (R-PA) blasted Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) after the congresswoman equated the United States and Israel to Hamas terrorists and the Taliban, going so far as to describe her as unfit to serve in Congress.
In response to Omar’s comparison, the western Pennsylvania Republican congressman expressed vehement criticism.
“Rep. Ilhan Omar’s recent statement comparing the United States and Israel to Hamas and the Taliban is absolutely disgusting,” he said.
He then recalled his past experience having prosecuted some of Iraq’s most dangerous terrorists while serving as a U.S. Navy Judge Advocate General (JAG) in Iraq.
“I sat face to face with some of the most wanted terrorists in the Middle East — I know the evil and brutality Hamas and the Taliban are capable of inflicting,” he said.
“There is no comparison to the brave men and women who defend freedom and democracy in the U.S. and Israeli armed forces, and terrorists,” he added.
Reschenthaler then accused Omar of bearing hate toward Jews and the U.S., declaring her unfit for her congressional role.
“Omar is an antisemite who hates America and hates American troops,” he said. “She has no place serving in Congress.”
He continued by blasting Democrats for refraining from holding her accountable thus far.
“Speaker Pelosi and House Democrats could have put a stop to this by holding Omar accountable on the House floor for her repeated anti-Semitic and anti-American statements,” he said.
Suggesting that the “radical Democratic Party” agrees with Omar, Reschenthaler concluded by accusing Democrats of acting out of fear of their base.
“Unfortunately, today’s radical Democrat Party agrees with Omar’s garbage, and House Democrats are afraid to draw the ire of the antisemitic, anti-American Democrat base,” he said.
Hamas is a radical U.S.-designated Islamic terror organization, whose charter calls openly for the murder of Jews, and which launched over 4,000 terror rockets at Israel from the Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip over a period of 11 last this month.
In 2016, Taliban jihadists replaced their Islamic State (ISIS) counterparts as the world’s chief perpetrators of terrorist attacks, with 1,093 individual attacks, according to the U.S. Department of State’s Country Reports on Terrorism. In 2018, the Taliban overtook ISIS as the world’s deadliest terrorist group due to a rise in terrorist activity in Afghanistan.
On Monday, Omar stated that, “We must have the same level of accountability and justice for all victims of crimes against humanity,” before proceeding to accuse “the U.S., Hamas, Israel, Afghanistan, and the Taliban” of committing “unthinkable atrocities.”
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. Ilhan Omar (@Ilhan) June 7, 2021
In response, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s (D-CA) Democrat leadership team issued a mild rebuke.
“Legitimate criticism of the policies of both the United States and Israel is protected by the values of free speech and democratic debate,” the joint statement read. “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 stability for all.”
The statement, signed by Pelosi, Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-MD), Majority Whip James Clyburn (D-SC), and other team members, also sought “clarification” from Omar.
— Jake Sherman (@JakeSherman) June 10, 2021
In addition, a dozen Jewish Democrat House members, led by Rep. Brad Schneider (D-IL), issued a statement Wednesday urging Omar to “clarify her words.”
We urge Rep Omar to clarify her words placing the US and Israel in the same category as Hamas and the Taliban pic.twitter.com/KfcnmpLRO6
— Rep. Brad Schneider (@RepSchneider) June 10, 2021
Portraying herself as a victim, Omar hit back at the “shameful” move on part of her fellow Democrats by claiming that, “The Islamophobic tropes in this statement are offensive. The constant harassment & silencing from the signers of this letter is unbearable,” and adding that “the truth can’t be hidden or silenced forever.”
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.
The islamophobic tropes in this statement are offensive. The constant harassment & silencing from the signers of this letter is unbearable. https://t.co/37dy2UduW0
— Ilhan Omar (@IlhanMN) June 10, 2021
In another tweet, Omar blamed incitement against her on right-wing news articles and “far right politicians.”
In yet another, Omar — still refusing to back down from her original comparison of the U.S. and Israel with Hamas and the Taliban — blasted Rep. Mo Brooks (R-AL) and “Democratic colleagues” who won’t condemn him, labelling them “Islamophobes.”
We serve in Congress with Islamophobes like @RepMoBrooks and Democratic colleagues wont condemn him instead give legitimacy to this dangerous rhetoric.
When will our caucus forcefully stand up against hate towards their Muslims colleagues and constituents? https://t.co/OLLa4TDxGM
— Ilhan Omar (@IlhanMN) June 10, 2021
Fellow “squad” members predictably rushed to Omar’s defense, continuing to paint her as the victim.
“Stop attacking @IlhanMN. Stop attacking us,” wrote Rep. Cori Bush (D-MO).
“I’m not surprised when Republicans attack black women for standing up for human rights. But when it’s Democrats, it’s especially hurtful. We’re your colleagues. Talk to us directly,” she added.
Stop attacking @IlhanMN. Stop attacking us.
I'm not surprised when Republicans attack Black women for standing up for human rights. But when it’s Democrats, it’s especially hurtful. We’re your colleagues. Talk to us directly.
Enough with the anti-Blackness and Islamophobia.
— Cori Bush (@CoriBush) June 10, 2021
Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D-MI) praised Omar’s “courage,” adding that she is tired of Omar’s demonization.
“I am tired of colleagues (both D+R) demonizing @IlhanMN. Their obsession with policing her is sick,” she wrote.
I am tired of colleagues (both D+R) demonizing @IlhanMN. Their obsession with policing her is sick. She has the courage to call out human rights abuses no matter who is responsible. That's better than colleagues who look away if it serves their politics. https://t.co/5n9OxZbK8Q
— Rashida Tlaib (@RashidaTlaib) June 10, 2021
In one tweet, Tlaib blamed “Islamophobia” for the backlash, going so far as to proclaim that, “Freedom of speech doesn’t exist for Muslim women in Congress” in another.
Freedom of speech doesn't exist for Muslim women in Congress. The benefit of the doubt doesn't exist for Muslim women in Congress. House Democratic leadership should be ashamed of its relentless, exclusive tone policing of Congresswomen of color.
— Rashida Tlaib (@RashidaTlaib) June 10, 2021
Rep. Jamaal Bowman (D-NY) also attributed the backlash against Omar to racist and sexist biases on the part of her critics.
“When a woman, person of color or Muslim speaks out against injustice, backlash ensues,” he wrote. “When @IlhanMN speaks out, the vitriol is compounded by her being all three.”
“As Democrats, we must recognize the biases that fuel personal attacks and defend our colleagues,” he added.
The far-left Congressional Progressive Caucus (CPC) issued a statement in support of Omar, blaming a “right-wing media echo chamber that has deliberately and routinely attacked a black, Muslim woman in Congress.”
— Progressive Caucus (@USProgressives) June 10, 2021
In a statement made to Breitbart News last month, Rep. Reschenthaler expressed outrage over comments made by “squad” member Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D-WA) which seemed to provide some legitimization for the Hamas terror group’s recent attacks against Israel.
“I am appalled that anyone in America, let alone an elected member of Congress, would blame Israel for Hamas’ firing over 4,000 rockets at innocent Israeli civilian populations,” the congressman said.
He then accused those of shifting the blame to Israel as harboring antisemitic motives.
“Blaming Israel and justifying terrorism against innocent Israeli civilians is wrong and deeply antisemitic – pure and simple,” he said.
Also last month, in response to a barrage of anti-Israel rhetoric from a slew of progressive Democrats, Rep. Reschenthaler stated that “Israel has every right to defend itself against terrorist groups like Hamas,” before blasting “radical” Democrats for their dishonesty.
“Unfortunately, radical Democrats like Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Ilhan Omar, and Rashida Tlaib would rather criticize Israel and spread lies about who’s to blame for the chaos and suffering,” he said.
Reschenthaler also called upon President Joe Biden to issue a condemnation on the matter.
“President Biden needs to condemn the growing anti-Israel rhetoric in his party and restore President Trump’s successful strategy for peace in the Middle East by defending our closest ally in the region in their time of need,” he concluded.
In December, Reschenthaler blasted Rep. Tlaib for anti-Israel and antisemitic rhetoric, urging his colleagues “across the aisle” to join him in calling for her immediate removal from all congressional committees.
“It is past time we show the American people that there is no place in Congress, or anywhere, for this shameful intolerance. I call on my colleagues across the aisle to join me in calling for Rep. Tlaib to immediately lose her committee assignments,” he wrote.
Follow Joshua Klein on Twitter @JoshuaKlein.