The freshman Somali-American congressman from Minnesota, Rep. Ilhan Omar, is using Holocaust Remembrance Day to downplay the horror Jews suffered under Nazi Germany’s direction in World War II.
The congresswoman — who is already fending off accusations of anti-Semitism following a tweet claiming Israel “hypnotized the world” — is courting new controversy with a tweet she sent Sunday.
The message, sent to mark International Holocaust Remembrance Day, seemed to equate the Nazis’ systematic killing of European Jews with casualties of war. (January 27th 1945 is the day the Russian army liberated the largest concentration camp, Auschwitz-Birkenau.)
Here’s how Rep. Omar is commemorating this solemn anniversary:
The tweet about “right wing extremists” Omar linked was posted last week, suggesting she re-surfaced it to help connect the lessons of the Holocaust to contemporary American “right-wing extremists.” Her retweet says right-wing “neo-Nazi” extremism is on the right, although the tweet she’s sourcing makes no mention of Neo-Nazi/anti-Semitic extremism.
Rep. Omar may have also erred in her numbers. While an estimated 6 million Jews were killed in the Holocaust, the larger 17 million number she uses is the number of military dead the Allies suffered during World War II, whereas the Allies lost 45 million civilians. It’s unclear if counting victims of the Holocaust among the Allies’ military dead was accidental. Grabien has reached out to the congresswoman’s office for further clarification and will update this report with any response.