Muslim-American congresswomen Ilhan Omar
Facebook is under pressure to remove the Israel lobby AIPACís latest Islamophobic attack ads against Muslim-American congresswoman Ilhan Omar, which advocacy groups say will endanger the life of the Minnesota Democrat.
The American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC), a pro-Israel lobby group in the United States, has long been using harassment and intimidation tactics in order to silence the Israeli regimeís critics in Congress and deter them from defending the human rights of Palestinians.
Lately, AIPAC has been running attack ads on Facebook against Rep. Omar, an outspoken critic of the Israeli regime, accusing her of seeing "no difference between America and the Taliban" and "democracies and terrorists."
On Wednesday, Jeremy Slevin, the congresswomanís communications director, condemned the ads and said the language used by AIPAC is "identical" to hate messages Omar so often receives. "Make no mistake: AIPAC is putting Rep. Omarís life at risk with repeated Islamophobic attack ads."
In response, CodePink, a women-led grassroots organization working to end US wars and militarism, launched a petition on Friday, asking Facebook to remove the Islamophobic ads.
"AIPACís Islamophobic incitement against a Muslim woman of color in Congress in order to further their pro-Israel agenda is disgraceful and dangerous," Ariel Gold, national co-director of CodePink said in a statement. "Rep. Omar is an incredible leader for justice and equality both at home and in the USís foreign policy."
"Despite attacks against her, she has continued since coming into Congress to bravely raise her voice for the rights of Palestinians living under Israelís brutal systems of occupation and apartheid," Gold added. "If something happens to Congresswoman Omar both AIPAC and Facebook, for allowing the ads to run, will have blood on their hands."
The Council on American Islamic Relations, a Washington-based civil rights organization, also released a statement condemning AIPAC for its "Islamophobic, dishonest and dangerous ad campaign" against Omar. CAIR also called on Facebook to take down the sponsored ads.
"AIPACís attempt to spread this vile, Islamophobic language to Facebook users could incite threats of violence against Representative Omar and other American Muslim leaders. Put simply, AIPACís bigotry is placing Ilhan Omarís life at risk," said CAIR Deputy Executive Director Edward Ahmed Mitchell.
"Facebook should immediately take down these vile ads and congressional leaders must condemn AIPAC for continuing to incite Islamophobic hatred against Representative Omar," he added.
Senator Chris Murphy, Democrat of Connecticut, also issued a statement on Twitter, condemning AIPAC for comparing a member of the US Congress to the Taliban.
In addition to Omar, AIPACís paid ads have also targeted progressive Democratic congresswomen Cori Bush of Minnesota, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York, and Rashida Tlaib of Michigan.
Tlaib and Omar are the first two Muslim women elected to Congress. All four women of color have used terms like "apartheid," "act of terrorism," and "ethnic cleansing" to denounce the Israeli regimeís violent oppression of Palestinians.
"Rep. Omarís description of Israelís practices as íapartheidí is not only accurate but now a popularly held belief," Danaka Katovich, CodePinkís Middle East campaign coordinator, said on Friday.
CodePinkís petition said the lawmakers "are being targeted by AIPAC because they are Muslim and/or women of color. This racism is unacceptable and must be addressed."
The backlash did not cause AIPAC to reverse course. Instead, the pro-Israel lobby organization doubled down on its message linking Omar to terrorism.
"Your baseless attack on us canít deflect from [Omarís] attack on America and Israel," AIPAC said in a tweet. "There is no moral equivalence between democratic allies and the terrorists who target them."
This is far from the first time that the Israel lobby group has gone after US lawmakers who criticize the Israeli regime.
Last year, AIPAC ran social media ads likening Omar, Tlaib, and their Democratic colleague Betty McCollum, a Democrat from Minnesota, to the Daesh (ISIL) terrorist organization.