Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez Insults Israel’s Supporters, Especially the Remaining Jewish Liberals Among Them

October 5, 2020 | Michael Koplow
About the author: Michael Koplow is the policy director of the Israel Policy Forum and an analyst of Middle Eastern politics.

On September 25, the charismatic socialist congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez announced that she no longer planned to attend an upcoming commemoration of the 25th anniversary of Yitzḥak Rabin’s assassination, sponsored by the left-wing group Americans for Peace Now. Michael Koplow comments:

Rabin is revered by liberal American Jews and Democratic lawmakers, many of whom view his assassination as the event from which the peace camp never recovered. To denigrate Peace Now by leaving the impression that it is covering for alleged Israeli war crimes and to treat Rabin as an insincere Trojan Horse who was only feinting toward peace and concessions, in order to perpetuate injustice, [as have the far-left activists who appear to have convinced Ocasio-Cortez to back out of the event], is as hard a turn to radicalism as exists in the context of Democratic politics and American Jewish discourse. It is out of step with the overwhelming majority of American Jews, who view Rabin as a positive example, and it is redolent of when outsiders make lists of good and bad representatives of an ethnic or racial minority. Many Palestinians have cause to dislike Rabin, but for Ocasio-Cortez to treat him as beyond the pale puts her well beyond the boundaries of traditional liberal politics.

This message is not a criticism of Israeli behavior; it is a criticism of Israeli legitimacy. It says that nothing Israel can do is good enough, that compromise is not sufficient, that Palestinian concerns and grievances and aspirations are valid—and they are!—but that Israeli ones are not.

If Rabin, who did what he did despite deep reservations and what turned out to be fatal opposition from his domestic political opponents, is worthy only of being shunned, then no Israeli leader will ever meet Ocasio-Cortez’s standard.

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