PKONWEB Report (New York) — Senior officials of Department of Homeland Security (DHS) are in hot water for a post calling freshman Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.) a “Trojan horse” on social media.
The post shared by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agent Leslie Derewonko also said Omar, who is Muslim, came to the US amid a “refugee outbreak” under former President Barack Obama.
“And this is what represents America?” the post stated.
Jerry Templet, a top official at Homeland Security Investigations in San Francisco, liked the post. His online accounts are also being scrutinized, ABC News reported Saturday.
ICE does not have a social-media policy for employees, but the agents may have violated DHS’s code of conduct.
“If they ever have a defendant that is Muslim, they could say, ‘ICE is biased against me,’” a former ICE official told BuzzFeed News, which first reported on the agents’ social media activity. “They could introduce that in the trial.”
The post that Derewonko shared included video taken from a recent interview in which Omar, who was born in Somalia and came to the US as a refugee, mentioned a “terrorism class” that she took “in college.”
Some critics have sought to portray those comments in an ominous light. The political science department of North Dakota State University, where Omar earned her bachelor’s degree, offers a three-credit class focusing on the history, tactics and motivations of terrorist groups.
The House of Representatives last week passed a kitchen-sink resolution broadly condemning bigotry of all types—after Speaker Nancy Pelosi failed to unite her caucus behind a measure condemning anti-Jewish hatred alone.
A delegation of Orthodox Jewish rabbis expressed solidarity Wednesday with Rep. Omar after she was criticized for making “anti-Semitic” comments.
She had come under fire for a Feb. 27 comment suggesting lawmakers and activists who support Israel hold “allegiance to a foreign country.”
Members of the anti-Zionist Jewish group Neturei Karta International came to Omar’s office in Washington saying they wanted to show their support for the freshman congresswoman.
“What she’s saying is the voice of Judaism,” Rabbi Dovid Feldman told reporters.
Feldman said that to confuse Judaism with Zionism and to accuse someone of being anti-Semitic because they oppose the occupation of Palestine or the oppression of the people “is revolting, unacceptable.”
He also issued a statement expressing support for Omar and her stance on Israel.
“No one should be attacked for criticizing AIPAC, certainly not the esteemed Congresswoman Omar. She should be lauded for differentiating between Jews and Zionists,” it said. “Judaism is a religion which teaches service of the Almighty, while Zionism attempts to transform Judaism into nationalism.”
Omar underscored that what she is questioning is the influence game being played in Washington and she worries that anything she says about Israel and its treatment of Palestinians will be construed as anti-Semitic. “Being opposed to [Prime Minister Benjamin] Netanyahu and the occupation is not the same as being anti-Semitic,” she tweeted on Sunday. “I am grateful to the many Jewish allies who have spoken out and said the same.”