Minnesota Congresswoman Ilhan Omar is facing intense backlash after promoting false claims from the Hamas-run Palestinian Health Ministry. This week, Omar took to Twitter to condemn what she believed to be an Israeli airstrike on a hospital in Gaza, claiming it resulted in the deaths of over 500 people.
The Israel Defense Forces (IDF) quickly released evidence disproving Omar's claims, revealing that the explosion was not caused by an aerial bomb and did not hit the hospital, but rather a nearby parking lot. The IDF also shared intercepted communications from Hamas terrorists, in which they admitted the explosion was caused by a rocket fired by the Palestinian Islamic Jihad. U.S. Intelligence later confirmed this information, confirming that the explosion was not caused by Israel.
Omar's initial post received widespread criticism, with many accusing her of promoting misinformation and demonizing Israel without solid evidence. However, instead of retracting her claims or apologizing, Omar attempted to downplay her statement, suggesting that she may not have even written the post and blaming the Associated Press for misleading her.
It is a reminder that information is often unreliable and disputed in the fog of war (especially on Twitter where misinformation is rampant). We all have a responsibility to ensure information we are sharing is from credible sources and to acknowledge as new reports come in.
— Ilhan Omar (@IlhanMN) October 19, 2023
The congresswoman wrote, "Our office cited an AP report yesterday that the IDF had hit a Baptist hospital in Gaza. Since then, the IDF denied responsibility and the US intelligence assessment is that this was not done by Israel." She then went on to say that everyone has a responsibility to ensure the information they are sharing is from credible sources and to acknowledge new information as it becomes available.
However, many saw this response as an attempt by Omar to backtrack and deflect from her initial false claims. Twitter users pointed out that she was quick to demonize Israel without solid evidence, but when the facts proved otherwise, she wanted everyone to slow down and not spread misinformation.
Others also criticized Omar for continuing to defend Hamas, a designated terrorist organization, despite their admission of responsibility for the explosion. They argue that this is just another example of her history of making anti-Semitic remarks and aligning herself with groups and individuals who have publicly expressed hatred towards Israel and Jewish people.
YOU are the source of misinformation.
Your vile anti-semitism and hate have clouded your judgment, making me question your ability to perform your elected duties. https://t.co/1C0WrWYMKT
— Nicole Saphier, MD (@NBSaphierMD) October 19, 2023
As the conflict between Israel and Hamas continues to escalate, it is imperative for public figures like Omar to carefully consider the information they are sharing and to condemn violence from all sides. Many are calling on her to retract her false claims and to apologize for promoting misinformation and spreading anti-Semitic rhetoric.