An American Jewish Committee member condemned progressives like Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., for their sharp anti-Israel rhetoric Friday, arguing it provided intellectual cover for the wave of anti-Semitic violence hitting the United States.
Seffi Kogen, the Global Director of Young Leadership at the Jewish advocacy organization, wrote in Newsweek that Ocasio-Cortez’s depiction of Israel as an “apartheid” state that indiscriminately bombed its targets was dangerous.
“While anti-Zionist gangs beat up Jews in her city, Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez was providing a quasi-intellectual basis for their actions, defaming Israel as an apartheid state employing indiscriminate force in what she seems to think is a capricious quest to murder as many Palestinian children as possible, instead of a highly restrained military operation tightly targeted on terrorists,” he wrote.
Images of Jewish people and buildings being attacked in New York City, Los Angeles, and across the country have marked the week amid the Israel-Gaza violence. A 23-year-old pro-Palestinian protester was charged with a hate crime Friday for beating a Jewish man during a clash with demonstrators in New York.
Ocasio-Cortez may not have called for violence, Kogen wrote, “but she carved out an area of respectability for a certain type of anti-Semitism, and others were only too happy to rush in, fists flying.”
She and other far-left “Squad” members like Rep. Rashida Tlaib, D-Mich., an Rep. Ilhan Omar, D-Minn., have made anti-Israel advocacy a centerpiece of their political agendas. They’ve called for the U.S. to cut off financial and military aid and even attacked President Biden for saying Israel has a right to defend itself against Hamas rocket attacks. They also support the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) movement, which the Anti-Defamation League has condemned as advancing anti-Semitic goals.
“It turns out, if you ignore all evidence, turn Israel into the villain in your morality play, and insist that Americans have a ‘responsibility’ to do something about Israel, the thing that they will do is beat up American Jews, throw rocks through the windows of American synagogues, and harass Jews who try to speak up on social media,” Kogen wrote.
Kogen said Ocasio-Cortez is aware “words matter,” pointing to her past fears that vitriolic rhetoric could endanger her.
“Unfortunately, her view that overheated demagoguery puts people at risk doesn’t extend to Jews,” he wrote.
Kogen added media outlets weren’t giving the violent acts the attention they deserved, a sentiment shared by “The View” co-host Meghan McCain. She condemned the press Friday for not giving greater attention to anti-Semitic attacks, saying they couldn’t “cherry-pick” which hate crimes they took seriously.
The conservative Washington Free Beacon penned an editorial Friday blasting far-left Democrats like Rep. Cori Bush, D-Mo., and Jamaal Bowman, D-N.Y., for conflating struggles of American minorities with Palestinians, calling it a “provincial stupidity the left would abhor in almost any other context.”
“As a weak and sclerotic Democratic leadership cowers before the anti-Israel zealotry of the Squad and its acolytes in the House of Representatives, American Jews are getting a glimpse of what the future may hold: a return to a not-so-distant past in which Jews stood alone to face either slaughter or survival,” the Free Beacon’s editors wrote.
Pro-Israel voices like Rabbi Abraham Cooper of the Simon Wiesenthal Center told Fox News this week that the goalposts of the Israeli-Palestinian debate had been moved dramatically due to the pressure from the Democrats’ fringes.
“Hamas, they now have their defenders in Congress,” he said. “They wrap it around a concern for Palestinian civilians.”