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US Congressman Ogles on Palestinians: ‘We should kill them all’

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US Congressman Ogles on Palestinians: ‘We should kill them all’
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The statement calling for the extermination of the Palestinians made by Republican Representative Andy Ogles of Tennessee has drawn widespread criticism from various quarters.

In response to a pro-Palestinian activist's questions about the deaths of Palestinian children, Andy Ogles suggested, 'We should kill 'em all,' drawing criticism from Muslims, Democrats, and social media users alike.

The American Muslim Advisory Council (AMAC) released a statement unequivocally denouncing Ogles, asserting that his remarks amounted to advocating for "the extermination of the Palestinian people."

The council also highlighted a surge in anti-Muslim attacks across Tennessee since the onset of Israel's bombing and blockade of Gaza in October, emphasizing that such rhetoric fosters a climate where extremist ideologies flourish.

Social media platforms, including one referred to as X, witnessed even more vehement criticism against Ogles. Users called for naming and shaming the congressman, with one describing him as an "extraordinary piece of feces." Another user, posting as Saira Rao, accused Ogles of endorsing genocide and labelled Congress, President Biden, and the entire Cabinet as war criminals.

Susan Jones pointed out the irony in Ogles's comments, noting that Palestinians are also Semitic people. She highlighted the ignorance in linking killing Palestinians to anti-Semitism, emphasizing the complexity of the situation.

Ogles's controversial comments took place during an encounter with a pro-Palestinian activist in the United States Capitol on February 15. The activist confronted Ogles about the deaths of Palestinian children, expressing concern that taxpayer dollars were funding the bombing.

Ogles responded bluntly, stating, "I think we should kill 'em all," and further criticized Hamas and the Palestinians for their actions over the past two decades.

In an attempt to clarify, Ogles's spokesperson, Emma Settle, claimed that the congressman's comments were directed specifically at the Hamas terrorist group, not the Palestinian people as a whole.

However, the clarification has done little to quell the outrage, with critics arguing that the remarks contribute to an inflammatory and divisive rhetoric surrounding the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

The controversy surrounding Ogles's comments coincided with the veto by the Biden administration of a ceasefire resolution at the United Nations Security Council, marking the third such veto since the onset of Israel's assault on Gaza. The timing fueled further outrage, with many expressing concern about the escalating violence and humanitarian crisis in the region.

Ogles, a first-term congressman representing Tennessee's gerrymandered 5th district, created in 2022 to favour Republican candidates, now finds himself at the centre of a storm. The district includes a significant portion of the state capital, Nashville. As international concerns grow over the situation in Gaza, a spokesman for the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) warned of an impending explosion in preventable child deaths due to malnutrition and disease.

Reports from Palestinian health authorities indicate that Israeli forces have killed over 12,400 children in Gaza since October 7. Additionally, nearly 10 Palestinian children per day in Gaza have lost one or both of their legs since October, according to Save the Children. Jason Lee, the organization's country director for the occupied Palestinian territory, emphasized the scale of death and destruction, stating, "Children are being failed by the adults who should be protecting them."

The controversy reached the local government level in Nashville, where Metro Council member Zulfat Suara, the first Muslim person elected to the metropolitan government, expressed concern about the impact of divisive rhetoric.

She highlighted the need for responsible dialogue and condemned demonization, stating, "This 'Kill them all' is only breaking us apart." As criticisms against Ogles intensify, the incident underscores the broader challenges in addressing the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and the importance of fostering understanding and unity amid heightened tensions.

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