Last month, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez won the Democratic primary in New York’s 14th congressional district, defeating the incumbent, Democratic Caucus Chair Joe Crowley, in what has been described as the biggest upset victory of the 2018 midterm-election season. Her victory also generated a lot of controversy, given this anti-Israel tweet of hers from May, which she has surprisingly not tried to delete.
Clearly an offensive tweet that betrays a complete lack of knowledge as to what is going on here in Israel and the disputed territories. And now Ocasio-Cortez has admitted she knows very little about the situation here, in an interview on PBS’ Firing Line. Not that her admission was required – besides her ill-informed tweet, some of her other answers in the interview show just how ignorant she is.
What is your position on Israel?
AOC: Well, I believe absolutely in Israel’s right to exist. I am a proponent of the two state solution. And for me this is not a referendum I think on the state of Israel. For me, the lens through which I saw this incident, as an activist, as an organizer: If 60 people were killed in Ferguson, Missouri, if 60 people were killed in the South Bronx– unarmed– 60 people were killed in Puerto Rico, I just look at that incident more through– through just, as an incident and to me it would just be completely unacceptable if that happened on our shores. But–
Of course the dynamic there in terms of geo politics and the Middle East is very different from people expressing their First Amendment right to protest.
AOC: Well, yes, but I also think that what people are starting to see in the occupation of Palestine is just an increasing crisis of humanitarian conditions and that to me is just where I tend to come from on this issue.
You use the term the occupation of Palestine, what did you mean by that?
AOC: Oh– I think, what I meant is that the settlements that are increasing in some of these areas and places where Palestinians are experiencing difficulty in access to housing and homes. (huh? – Aussie Dave)
Do you think you can expand on that?
AOC: Yeah I think — I am not the expert on geo-politics on this issue. You now, for me, I’m a firm believer in finding a two-state solution in this issue [Hoover nods approvingly]. And I’m happy to sit down with leaders on both of these… for me, I just look at things through a human rights lens, and I may not use the right words– I know this is a very intense issue.
That’s very honest and you’re gong to — and when you get to Washington and you’re an elected member of Congress you’ll have an opportunity to talk to people on all sides and visit Israel and visit the West Bank.
AOC: Absolutely. And especially with the district that I represent, I come from the South Bronx, I come from a Puerto Rican background. And Middle Eastern politics is not exactly at my kitchen table every night. But I also recognize that this is an intensely-important issue for people in my district, for Americans across the country. And I think at least what is important to communicate is that I am willing to listen. And that I’m willing to learn and evolve on this issue as I think many Americans are.
Clearly, she is walking back her comments because, politician. But her ignorance is instructive as it is so typical of that of so many of the most voracious Israel haters.
Update: The Israel haters are not amused.