South Bend, Ind. mayor and Democratic presidential hopeful Pete Buttigieg rejected comments made by freshman U.S. Rep. Ilhan Omar, D-Minn., that compared Israel with Iran, saying the remarks were "just wrong."
"People like me get strung up in Iran," said Buttigieg, who is openly gay, during an appearance on "The View" Thursday. "So, the idea that what's going on is equivalent is just wrong."
Omar, the first Somali-American to be elected to the House of Representatives, told Yahoo News in an interview published Tuesday that "I almost chuckle" at descriptions of Israel as a democracy.
"When I see Israel institute laws that recognize it as a Jewish state and does not recognize the other religions that are living in it … I know that if we see that in any other society we would criticize it, call it out," Omar said. "We do that to Iran, we do that to any other place that sort of upholds its religion. And I see that now happening with Saudi Arabia and so I am aggravated, truly, in those contradictions."
Omar has previously been criticized for other anti-Israel statements, including a 2012 tweet that read: "Israel has hypnotized the world, may Allah awaken the people and help them see the evil doings of Israel."
Buttigieg couched his criticism of Omar, whom he did not mention by name, by saying the situation in Israel presented a "complicated picture."
"I was in Israel in May of this year, and not only is there a real problem with their long term [in] how they're going to balance being a democracy with being a Jewish state," he said. "But they've also got to figure out, and we've got to figure out with them as an ally, what the regional security picture is going to look like in the future."
"It has always been one of the most fiendishly complicated issues," Buttigieg added, "and simple answers will not serve us well at a time like this."