Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.) told Qatar’s Al-Araby TV last week that she had demanded that the Biden administration support the referral of Israel to the International Criminal Court (ICC).
In an interview that aired on Feb. 12, Omar said, “The U.S. should not delegitimize the ICC and the things it must do,” adding, “it is shocking that the legitimacy of the ICC is something that is being questioned.” The court’s ability to “investigate, probe and render justice” was being undermined in the United States, she said.
When asked if the Biden administration should “support the referral of Israeli officials accused of committing war crimes to the ICC,” Omar said she supports this. And when asked if she would also demand this from the Biden administration and the State Department, Omar said she has.
The ICC’s pre-trial chamber ruled on Feb. 5 that the court’s jurisdiction extends to “the territories occupied by Israel since 1967,” meaning Judea and Samaria, including eastern Jerusalem, and the Gaza Strip. The decision means that the ICC can now launch an investigation into alleged Israeli war crimes in these areas. The ruling drew heavy criticism, both in Israel and the United States, with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu calling it “pure anti-Semitism,” and the U.S. State Department issuing a formal objection.
Asked by the interviewer about U.S. Secretary of State Tony Blinken’s statement that the Biden administration has no plans to reverse Trump’s move of the U.S. Embassy to Jerusalem, Omar said, “It doesn’t currently seem like a lot will be changed, but there will be an opportunity for us to push for the United States to stand for its values and principles.”
She also expressed her support for the administration removing Yemen’s Houthi rebels from its list of foreign terrorist organizations, saying it had restored some “order and normalcy.”
“The last administration took a lot of actions, including the designation of certain groups as terrorist. We welcome the willingness from this administration to reverse course,” she said.
Asked about the plight of China’s Uyghur Muslims, Omar said, “It is definite that the genocide against the Uyghur Muslims in China is something that deserves serious attention from this administration. It also deserves the attention of every single person who is against the massive human rights violations in the world.”
“As you know, the U.S. played a huge role in regards to the Rwanda genocide, it played a huge role in regards to Bosnia and even in World War II with the Holocaust,” she said. Here, too, she said, the U.S. could play a critical role.
“We have to look at this serious and devastating situation and do everything we can to hold the Chinese government accountable for this genocide that is taking place before our eyes,” she said.