Ilhan Omar votes ‘present’ on bill condemning Armenian genocide

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Rep. Ilhan Omar, D-Minn., on Tuesday refused to support a congressional resolution recognizing the Armenian genocide, saying it was important first to condemn the preceding “mass slaughter” of “hundreds of millions of indigenous people,” as well as the “transatlantic slave trade.”

Omar, in a statement explaining her vote of “present” on the resolution, also seemingly suggested that the century-old mass killings of Armenians by Ottoman Turks may not have occurred at all. She asserted 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.”

The comments prompted accusations that Omar, again, was seeking to communicate a bigoted message while maintaining a veneer of wink-and-nod deniability — even as she has previously 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 asserted that “Israel has hypnotized the world.”

Omar and Rep. Rashida Tlaib made history as the first Muslim women in Congress earlier this year, and within weeks, Omar was criticized by her own party for series of remarks deemed anti-Semitic — including her claim that Jewish support in Washington was “all about the Benjamins, baby.” (Tlaib, too, has also been accused of anti-Semitism in office.)

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