Progressives call for ceasefire: 'Vengeance is not a foreign policy doctrine'

"Where is your outrage?" Rep. Ilhan Omar asked the crowd.

October 20, 2023, 6:21 PM

House progressive Reps. Cori Bush, Ilhan Omar and Ayanna Pressley on Friday repeated their calls for an immediate ceasefire in Gaza following the Hamas terrorist attack on Israel.

Omar -- who has faced scrutiny in recent days for initially accusing the Israel Defense Forces of being responsible for the blast at a Gaza hospital and later saying that U.S. intelligence indicating that Israel was not at fault served as "a reminder that information is often unreliable and disputed in the fog of war" -- gave an unapologetic defense of her pro-Palestinian viewpoint. Her voice was straining and she was at times screaming as she called for humanity and freedom for Palestinians.

"How do you look at one atrocity and say, 'This is wrong,' but you watch as bodies pile up as neighborhoods are leveled? Israel has dropped more bombs in the last 10 days then we dropped in a whole year in Afghanistan. Where is your humanity? Where is your outrage? Where is your care for people?" Omar said at a press conference the three held Friday afternoon.

Omar is Muslim, and her family fled civil war in Somalia when she was young. She spoke candidly of her personal experiences with war, and she addressed increasing threats she says she's received as a Muslim since the recent escalation of conflict in Israel and Gaza.

"You can harass me, you can threaten me, you can follow me around, but I am never going to stop saying, 'Palestinians deserve freedom that we need to free Palestine,' and I am never going to stop saying that there is no way that we should allow in sending more bombardments to kill Palestinians," Omar said.

Pressley said it was essential to demonstrate humanity toward both Israeli and Palestinian children and families.

"We cannot continue to stand idly by numb as we watch this death toll rise. Nor can we be complicit in this bloodshed. Vengeance is not a foreign policy doctrine," Pressley said.

PHOTO: Rep. Ayanna Pressley speaks during a House Committee on Oversight and Reform hearing on gun violence, June 8, 2022, in Washington, D.C.
Rep. Ayanna Pressley speaks during a House Committee on Oversight and Reform hearing on gun violence, June 8, 2022, in Washington, D.C.
Pool via Getty Images

Bush, who ran for Congress following the police shooting of Michael Brown in her home state of Missouri, said it was essential for oppressed communities to stand with one another.

"Our Israeli brothers and sisters' little babies and little kids and elders as well as our Palestinian brothers and sisters' little kids and babies and elders, they deserve the freedom the self-determination," Bush said. "They deserve wholeness they deseve peace and they deserve our support to stand up and speak out and not allow anyone not even our administration to okay the bombing of a land of people."

Israel has suffered at least 1,400 deaths since Hamas launched a terrorist attack on Israel on Oct. 7, according to the Israeli Health Ministry. There have been at least 3,785 deaths in Gaza during the same period, per the Ministry of Health in Gaza.

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