Ocasio-Cortez withdraws from event to commemorate Yitzhak Rabin
October 9, 2020
(JNS) — Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) has withdrawn from being a speaker at an upcoming Americans for Peace Now event memorializing Yitzhak Rabin, the Israeli prime minister who was assassinated by a Jewish extremist almost 25 years ago for his efforts to make peace between the Israelis and the Palestinians.
“We are sorry to hear that Rep. Ocasio-Cortez will no longer be speaking at our Oct. 20 Yitzhak Rabin memorial,” APN president Hadar Susskind told JTA on Saturday. “Her participation would have added to the event.”
On Sept. 24, APN tweeted that Ocasio-Cortez would “reflect on fulfilling the courageous Israeli leader’s mission for peace and justice today in the U.S. and Israel.”
Alex Kane, a contributing writer for Jewish Currents, tweeted, “So @AOC is doing a memorial event for Yitzhak Rabin. In the U.S. Rabin is viewed as a liberal peacemaker but Palestinians remember him for his brutal rule suppressing Palestinian protest during the First Intifada, as someone who reportedly ordered the breaking of Palestinian bones.”
Ocasio-Cortez replied, “Hey there — this event and my involvement was presented to my team differently from how it’s now being promoted. Thanks for pointing it out. Taking a look into this now.”
Democratic Majority for Israel criticized Ocasio-Cortez for withdrawing from participating in the event commemorating Rabin, who was Israel’s prime minister between 1974 and 1977, and from 1992 until he was assassinated on Nov. 4, 1995.
“Congresswoman Ocasio-Cortez’s decision to renege on her agreement to speak at a memorial to Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin, who was slain trying to make peace, is wholly wrong and deeply regrettable,” said DMFI president and CEO Mark Mellman in a statement. “It is also offensive to those who support a two-state solution to the Israeli Palestinian conflict and, sadly, gives aid and comfort to the enemies of peace. Fortunately, her fundamental disrespect for Israel and for peacemakers is not shared by the vast majority of Democrats in Congress or at the grassroots.”
The Republican Jewish Coalition disagreed with the last sentence in Mellman’s statement and offered a backhanded compliment.
“This is the most honest thing Democrats have done in a long time. They are finally admitting that they simply don’t support Israel in any form, no matter who its elected leader is. Ocasio-Cortez is probably the second biggest name in this new Democratic Party, and no one, including Joe Biden will take her to task on this. It’s because they quietly agree with her stance,” RJC spokesperson Neil Strauss told JNS.
“Their hostility towards Israel never had anything to do with Prime Minister [Benjamin] Netanyahu or the Likud Party,” he said. “Democrats claim to be in favor of a two-state solution, which is exactly what Rabin was working on; the truth is they just don’t support Israel.”