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Chutzpah: AOC Blames Anti-Semitism Backlash On AIPAC

Alexandra Ocasio-Cortez is not Jewish, but the freshman Democrat is not lacking in chutzpah.

Alexandra Ocasio-Cortez is not Jewish, but the freshman Democrat is not lacking in chutzpah. The congresswoman, who is of Puerto Rican descent, sent out a fundraising email in the wake of the recent scandals of anti-Semitism within the Democratic Party. That in itself is not unusual. However, the fact that the email blamed AIPAC, a pro-Israel lobbying group, for the backlash against Democratic anti-Semitism is an uncommon act of brazenness.

The email was revealed on several Twitter accounts yesterday. Beneath AOC’s campaign logo, the email leads off with a quote from an unnamed “AIPAC activist” who allegedly said that AOC, Rashida Tlaib (D-Mich.), and Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.) “are three people who, in my opinion, will not be around in several years.”

“It’s official,” the email continues in bold print, “AIPAC is coming after Alexandria, Ilhan, and Rashida.”

“Rashida, Ilhan, and Alexandria have at times dared to question our foreign policy and the influence of money in our political system,” the email claims. “And now, lobbying groups across the board are working to punish them for it.”

To be clear, the attacks on the three women are because of anti-Semitic comments as well as statements on policy that can only be described as ignorant. For example, last month Rep. Omar tweeted an accusation that AIPAC money controlled US foreign policy. This accusation was false on its face since AIPAC does not make contributions to political candidates and other pro-Israel groups typically donate more money to Democrats than to Republicans.

Omar issued a statement in which she apologized “unequivocally” and then promptly equivocated by “reaffirm[ing] the problematic role of lobbyists in our politics, whether it be AIPAC, the NRA or the fossil fuel industry.”

Rashida Tlaib posted a similar tweet in January in which she claimed that senators who voted against the BDS movement to boycott Israel “forgot what country they represent.” Like Omar’s accusation, Tlaib’s tweet implies that support for Israel and Jewish companies was because of corruption or divided loyalties.

In the past, liberals have pointed out that the BDS – boycott, divest, and sanctions – movement was itself anti-Semitic. The Anti-Defamation League wrote that “all too often, BDS advocates employ anti-Semitic rhetoric and narratives to isolate and demonize Israel.” In 2017, the Huffington Post pointed out that there was a strong correlation between BDS activity and anti-Semitic incidents, saying, “BDS activity does not merely encourage, but also causes anti-Semitism.”

For her part, AOC has casually dismissed the anti-Semitic comments of her fellow congresswomen. In February, she tweeted that Rep. Omar “demonstrated a capacity to… learn about [the] history of anti-Semitism….”

Omar and Tlaib don’t seem to need to learn about anti-Semitism, a school of thought in which they seem to be well-versed. The company they keep suggests that, despite their denials, that they are quite comfortable with their anti-Jewish attitudes. In January, Tlaib posed with a Palestinian activist known for his support of Hezbollah and Omar is scheduled to speak at a benefit for the Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR) this month. CAIR has a long history of supporting terrorist groups.

While there are also anti-Semites among the alt-right supporters of the Republican Party, Democratic anti-Semitism is becoming more open and mainstream. The failure of the Democratic House to pass a simple resolution condemning anti-Semitism this week is a telling indicator of which way political winds are blowing within the party.

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