At a recent campaign event sponsored by the Democratic Socialists of America (DSA) in Austin, Texas, Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (popularly known as AOC) was heckled by pro-Palestinian protesters. In an attempt to defend herself, she said, among other things, “I don’t believe that a child should be in a cage on [America’s] border, and I don’t believe a child should be in a cage in the West Bank.” She did not, however, offer up any evidence of West Bank children being placed in cages. Cortez also claimed that “Palestine is basically a banned word. It’s censored. . . . And we shouldn’t allow people’s humanity to be censored.” Carl Campanille reports on the Jewish community’s response to Cortez’s remarks:
Michael Nussbaum, president of the Queens Jewish Community Council, said that AOC’s inflammatory anti-Israel rhetoric appeals to Jew hatred. “AOC is always asking for the ‘other side’ to understand her positions and that of the DSA and the BDS followers who wish to eliminate Israel from the Middle East map,” he said.
“If you wish to have a real discussion, the Queens Jewish Community Council is willing to engage you in an honest and open conversation,” he added. “We will defend Israel, you will have to defend the indefensible, . . . lies and distortions that spew hate and anti-Semitism.”
He credited her with making an effort recently to have a dialogue with Jewish leaders in the borough.
“But I’m disappointed in the comments she made in Texas. This is not an isolated incident. It’s a continuation,” Nussbaum said. A representative for Ocasio-Cortez issued a statement defending her “cage” remark.