News & Politics

Rep. Ilhan Omar Votes 'Present' on Armenian Genocide Bill

Ilhan Omar being interviewed by Al Jazeera back in 2018. Screenshot: YouTube.

When history called on Rep. Ilhan Omar to stand up for the victims of the mass genocide perpetrated by Turkey against the Armenians, she promptly sat down.

The reason? The resolution didn’t mention Native American genocide or slavery.

What a piece of work.

NBCNews:

Omar’s “votes and actions … do not represent the best of American or Muslim values,” said Van Krikorian, the co-chair of the Armenian Assembly of America. “Innocent people were and are being slaughtered, and there is a universal need to defend the victims of genocide and ethnic cleansing, not to stand with or defer to the murderers.”

Krikorian said his organization would request a meeting with the freshman Democrat to “clarify her views.”

In the statement to CNN on Tuesday night, Omar said she believes “accountability for human rights violations — especially ethnic cleansing and genocide — is paramount.”

She went on to say those goals “should not be used as a cudgel in a political fight. It should be done based on academic consensus outside the push and pull of geopolitics,” adding that a “true acknowledgement of historical crimes against humanity” would also include the transatlantic slave trade and mass killings of Native Americans.

Based on “academic consensus.” Which academics? The ones who deny the genocide even happened?

As far as using the issue as a cudgel, what does she think this is, a coffee klatch? President Erdogan is playing for keeps against the Kurds and has already threatened to “cleanse” the border region of Kurds. I bet Erdogan’s predecessors during World War I said something similar about the Armenians.

The Armenian genocide is a touchy subject with the Turks — always has been. They see the slaughter of two million people as a necessary war measure. They wrongly believed at the time that the Armenians were traitors and decided to remove them from their homeland.

The Turks claim they weren’t aware that forcing millions to leave their homes and walk to the desert would cause starvation, epidemics, and brutality from the army. But historical documents tell a different story of deliberate and intentional ethnic cleansing on a scale rarely seen.

In America, the Armenian genocide has always been a fraught issue due to Turkey’s membership in NATO. For decades and under presidents from both parties, the issue was quietly shelved in Congress. But the takeover of an Islamist government changed the dynamics in the House and the overwhelming vote to condemn Turkey is the result.

As for Omar, she’s just an intellectual midget whose worldview is driven by racial and religious politics.

“It worries us,” Hamparian said in a phone interview, referring to Omar’s statement and its implications. “It reminds us of talking points from Ankara.”

The Armenian Council of America, a California-based group, went even further, accusing Omar of using “official genocide denialist rhetoric to justify her silence” and suggesting that the lawmaker, who regularly speaks out on issues of human rights, was behaving hypocritically in this case.

I suspect there’s a bit of Muslim solidarity here with Omar obeying the unwritten rule of not criticizing another Muslim. Whatever the reason for her cowardly vote, it has exposed her as the hypocrite she truly is.