Rep. Ilhan Omar, D-Minn., is facing criticisms from all sides of the political spectrum today after she refused to support a congressional resolution that would officially recognize the Armenian genocide that left 1.5 million Armenians dead a hundred years ago.
Fox News reported that after being one of the only lawmakers to vote “president” on the resolution instead of “yay,” Omar defended herself with a bizarre statement in which she said it was important to first condemn the preceding “mass slaughter” of “hundreds of millions of indigenous people,” as well as the “transatlantic slave trade.”
In her statement, the Minnesota lawmaker appeared to suggest that the century-old mass killings of Armenians by Ottoman Turks may not have happened at all, saying that “accountability and recognition of genocide should not be used as a cudgel in a political fight” but should instead “be done based on academic consensus outside the push and pull of geopolitics.”
Omar’s office has sent this statement to CNN explaining her present vote: pic.twitter.com/Gpj198jx0p
— Haley Byrd (@byrdinator) October 29, 2019
Objective reporting for the educated American.
Her statement only served to dig Omar’s hole even deeper, as she faced accusations that she was trying to send out a bigoted message while also maintaining a veneer of wink-and-nod deniability. Political analyst Zaid Jilani also pointed out that Omar’s statement was factually wrong, as the United States has condemned both the treatment of Native Americans and the slave trade.
“There’s nothing wrong with asking that the U.S. government acknowledge human rights abuses here before we acknowledge them overseas,” Jilani wrote. “The issue is, the U.S. government already did acknowledge the ones Omar is asking it to acknowledge. Didn’t acknowledge the Armenian genocide at behest of Turkey.”
“Congress has passed many resolutions condemning abuses against Native Americans and slavery. It has never passed a resolution condemning the Armenian genocide,” Jilani added. “That’s why Ilhan Omar’s explanation here rings hollow.”
Congress has passed many resolutions condemning abuses against Native Americans and slavery. It has never passed a resolution condemning the Armenian genocide. That’s why Ilhan Omars explanation here rings hollow https://t.co/HztWDR8zGf
— Zaid Jilani (@ZaidJilani) October 29, 2019
Keep in mind that this is the same woman who called for a boycott over alleged Israeli human-rights abuses, described the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks as an instance in which “some people did something”, and claimed that “Israel has hypnotized the world.”
Should we also not boycott, divest from, and sanction one foreign country if we haven’t boycotted, divested from, and sanctioned all oppressive foreign countries? https://t.co/TwxBCmkJXU
— Allahpundit (@allahpundit) October 29, 2019
Many other political commentators were perplexed and outraged by Omar’s statement.
“I’m utterly confused by this,” GOP political strategist Andrew Surabian wrote, going on to ask if Omar was “suggesting here that there is no ‘academic consensus’ that the Armenian genocide occurred???”
“Hard to square this approach with her support for BDS. Not a good look,” added former George W. Bush administration official Christian Vanderbrouk, referring to Omar’s support for the movement to boycott and sanction Israel for alleged human rights abuses.
This is awful https://t.co/UQwysNvHDo
— Michelle Goldberg (@michelleinbklyn) October 29, 2019
This is a bizarre explanation https://t.co/R5q7i8hEhZ
— Yashar Ali 🐘 (@yashar) October 29, 2019
Historians estimate that 1.5 million Armenians were killed around the time of World War I, making this the first genocide of the twentieth century. Turkey has disputed this, however, claiming that the number has been greatly inflated and that those killed were victims of a Civil War rather than a genocide.
Despite Omar’s vote, the resolution ended up passing on Tuesday by a vote of 405-11.