After the New York City chapter of the Democratic Socialists of America staged a pro-Palestinian rally just a day after the devastating October 7 terror attacks by Hamas on Israel, many Democrats were quick to distance themselves from the event.
Despite the DSA being one of the organizations that has consistently backed her, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, or better known as AOC, the Democratic Representative for the 14th Congressional District of New York, put out a statement blasting the rally for its blatantly antisemitic and insensitive message.
“It should not be hard to shut down hatred and antisemitism where we see it. That is a core tenet of solidarity,” AOC said in a statement she released about the rally.
AOC is one of a group of ultraliberal progressives in Congress referred to as the “squad,” many of whom are currently calling for a ceasefire in the Middle East and have repeatedly blasted Israel for its continued offensive against Hamas. They have also branded the Jewish state as a “colonizer” that has committed “ethnic cleansing” over the years, with some even going as far as likening Israel’s treatment of Palestinians to the old Apartheid regime in South Africa. All despite the fact that Israel is literally surrounded by a number of Muslim states that are apathetic at best and hostile at worst.
Case in point – in the same statement denouncing the DSA rally, AOC pointed to the “grave injustices and violence Palestinians face under occupation,” ostensibly perpetuated by Israel. Thousands of New Yorkers, she said, “are capable of rejecting both Hamas’ horrifying attacks” and Israel’s supposed atrocities against Palestinians.
At end of the day, AOC has stood with the likes of other Squad members – Michigan Representative Rashida Tlaib, Minnesota Representative Ilhan Omar, and Massachusetts Representative Ayanna Pressley – in her condemnation of Israel. These representatives, along with a few others, voted against a resolution in Congress that condemned Hamas and expressed support for Israel. So much for Hamas’ “horrifying attacks”.
And it’s not gone unnoticed. Gilad Erdan, Israel’s ambassador to the United Nations, has called out AOC and her cohorts, saying that, “They are motivated by hate toward Israel and political interests here (in the U.S.).”
“I think some of them suffer from ignorance regarding the Israeli-Palestinian conflict,” he added.
“Muslim countries who are butchering or committing massacres against their own people, hundreds of thousands of Muslims are being executed or killed and murdered by their regimes. I never saw these members of Congress campaigning against them. I just see them campaigning against one of the closest allies of the United States,” Erdan further pointed out.
The stands of Representatives Tlaib and Omar are easier to rationalize – they are Muslim, after all, and Tlaib is a Palestinian-American to boot, and displays a Palestinian flag in her office in Congress. It’s not a stretch to say that both simply represent the sentiment held by many Muslim-Americans – the belief that Hamas’ October 7 attack on Israel was justified. But AOC simply seems to be parroting the popular “progressive” battle-cry of the moment – one that is ultimately antisemitic and unsympathetic to the plight of Israel and ignores the myriad factors over decades that have resulted in the war we see now.
But it wouldn’t be hard for Representative Ocasio-Cortez to try to see things beyond the viewpoint of her Squadmates in Congress. New York City has the biggest concentrations of Jews in the U.S. While her district is one of the few with a small Jewish population, she only need to travel a few miles in any direction if she truly wanted to widen her perspective on things.
But she has chosen not to. Rather, she has simply repeated spiels and slogans popular among the leftmost members of the Democratic party. She may denounce antisemitism when it’s convenient for her to do so, but in the end she stands on the sidelines and cheers whoever is seemingly on the winning team.
Tim Ramos has written for various publications, corporations, and organizations – covering everything from finance, politics, travel, entertainment, and sports – in Asia and the U.S. for more than 10 years. This opinion piece represents the author’s ideas and viewpoints.