Fact Checking a Now-Deleted Ilhan Omar Tweet
Omar originally claimed journalist Julia Ioffe made racist claims about the war in Ukraine before correcting herself.
In a now-deleted tweet, Democratic Minnesota Rep. Ilhan Omar on Thursday shared a viral TikTok clip of part of journalist Julia Ioffe’s March 15 CNN interview. In the clip Ioffe says: “It’s one thing for sarin gas to be used on people in faraway Syria who are Muslim or of a different culture. What is Europe going to do when it’s on European soil done to Europeans?”
Omar’s tweet, which can still be viewed here, read: “I can’t believe this has to be stated, but suggesting it’s ok to use sarin gas on people who are Muslim or Syrian is sick and evil. Let’s hope there is an explanation forthcoming from @juliaioffe because this clip as it stands is horrific and can’t be left without condemnation.”
But the incorrect clip continues to circulate on social media.
Here’s what actually happened.
Ioffe was responding to a question about what might pressure NATO to respond to the conflict. In response, Ioffe described “the approach of the American and European governments has been informed by this kind of racist and xenophobic logic.” She clarified that she believes this to be NATO’s logic but is not her own.
Below is the relevant part of the transcript to contextualize Ioffe’s quote:
I think NATO is still going to stay on the sidelines of this, precisely because they don't want a direct military confrontation with Russia. It’s the thing that everybody’s been trying assiduously to avoid.
But what happens, for example, if Vladimir Putin uses chemical weapons in Kyiv or in Mariupol? We’ve seen him and his allies in Syria do the same. They’re clearly preparing something, because they’ve been making a lot of noise at the U.N. and in the media that—Kremlin-controlled media that the Ukrainians are—have all these biological, chemical weapons, and that they're going to use them, which seems like fertile ground for a false flag operation.
So, what is NATO going to do if—you know, it’s one thing for sarin gas to be used on people in faraway Syria who are Muslim and who are of a different culture. What is Europe going to do when it’s on European soil done to Europeans? Are they going to intervene? Are they going to keep standing back? And if they do intervene, how far are they willing to go? And are they willing to have a direct confrontation with Vladimir Putin, which is what he seems to want.
In response to Ioffe’s explanation, Omar tweeted that she was glad Ioffe had “clarfiied that this is racist and xenophobic logic.”
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