Saturday, April 20, 2024

‘No level of harassment will silence me,’ Ilhan Omar slams pro Israel ad campaign

United States Congresswoman Ilhan Omar on Wednesday vowed not to be deterred from fighting for Palestinian rights after the pro-Israel lobbying group AIPAC began running ads this week linking the Minnesota Democrat with Hamas, spots that Omar’s office condemned as both inaccurate and dangerous.

“Given the number of threats of death and violence the congresswoman receives on a near-daily basis, it’s not just irresponsible—it’s incitement,” Isi Baehr-Breen, Omar’s deputy communications director, told The Nation.

On Monday, AIPAC began running a Facebook ad showing Omar’s face next to a barrage of rockets. “When Israel targets Hamas,” the ad reads, “Rep. Omar calls it an ‘act of terrorism.'”

The ad appears to be referencing a tweet last week in which Omar—who has denounced Israel’s killing of Palestinians and Hamas rocket attacks—described Israeli airstrikes on civilians in the occupied Gaza Strip as “an act of terrorism” and said that “Palestinians deserve protection.”

“This is desperate and deeply offensive,” Omar said of AIPAC’s ad on Wednesday. “The rights of Palestinians and all people yearning for freedom and self-determination will not be ignored and no level of harassment will silence me or the millions of people demanding peace and justice.

The influential pro-Israel lobbying group has also launched ads in recent days targeting Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.), Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), Rep. Mark Pocan (D-Wis.), and Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D-Mich.), the first Palestinian-American woman ever elected to Congress.

“Israel is under attack,” reads a Facebook ad featuring Omar and the four other progressive lawmakers, all of whom have criticized the Israeli government’s ongoing, devastating assault on Gaza, an air and artillery campaign that has killed more than 220 Palestinians, wounded many more, and displaced nearly 60,000 in just over a week.

The ads targeting progressive critics of Israel are so egregious that they’re drawing rebukes from fervently pro-Israel top Democrats, including House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-Md.).

Pelosi, for her part, called the ads attacking Omar “deeply cynical and inflammatory.”

In a tweet on Wednesday, Tlaib wrote that “to launch such a blatantly Islamophobic attack on Ilhan Omar right now is reprehensible.”

“I stand with her to oppose the violence Israel’s apartheid government is perpetrating,” Tlaib added. “You will not silence those who stand for human rights.”


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