In response to recent attacks on Representative Ilhan Omar's stance on Palestinian human rights, the Center for constitutional Rights issued the following statement of solidarity:
Since 1966, the Center for Constitutional Rights has worked together with communities under threat to fight for justice and transform oppressive systems of power. Very often, movement leaders from these vulnerable communities are specifically targeted and maligned for daring to expose injustice, speak truth to power, and demand accountability for institutional harm. The attacks on Representative Ilhan Omar, a Somali-American and one of the first two Muslim women serving in the U.S. Congress, are but the latest, often racist, efforts by state and corporate power to silence bold progressive voices and redirect public attention away from their own unjust policies and practices.
The current backlash facing Representative Omar – like that faced by many Black leaders, artists, and public intellectuals before her – is a direct response to her political coherence. Representative Omar has refused to make exceptions for the protection of human rights or the pursuit of justice. Her clear support for Palestinian human rights is directly aligned with her advocacy for the human rights of refugees, immigrants, and other marginalized communities. Similarly, her condemnation of the undue influence of the lobbying group AIPAC reflects the popular demand to keep all big-money out of politics.
Center for Constitutional Rights Executive Director Vince Warren and Advocacy Director Nadia Ben-Youssef, together with partners in the Palestinian rights movement, met with Representative Omar last week to discuss the universal application of a people-centered, rights-based political framework. Our delegation to Congress, which demonstrated the centrality of Palestinian rights within the larger progressive movement, also served as an invitation to new progressive politicians to extend their professed values of human rights, equality, and justice to foreign policy.
The larger Democratic party, and in particular, the Democratic leadership should take note: it is not progressive to bend the values of justice to accommodate special interests; it is not progressive to carve out exceptions to the universality of human rights; and it is not progressive to deny Palestinian demands for freedom, justice, and equality.
The Center for Constitutional rights looks forward to continuing to work with all who seek to achieve justice and guarantee human rights for all.
The Center for Constitutional Rights works with communities under threat to fight for justice and liberation through litigation, advocacy, and strategic communications. Since 1966, the Center for Constitutional Rights has taken on oppressive systems of power, including structural racism, gender oppression, economic inequity, and governmental overreach. Learn more at ccrjustice.org.