U.S. House Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) (Getty Images)
(CNS News) — House Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.), a self-described democratic socialist, has pulled out of an Americans For Peace Now (APN) event scheduled for Oct. 20 to honor the murdered Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin, who was best known for his peace efforts with the Palestinians.
The congresswoman backed out of the memorial event after a journalist tweeted to her on Sept. 24 that Rabin was “someone who reportedly ordered the breaking of Palestinian bones.”
Ocasio-Cortez was scheduled to speak at the “virtual event” about “fulfilling the courageous Israeli leader’s mission for peace and justice today in the U.S. and Israel.” But AOC announced last week to Al Jazeera that she would not attend APN’s commemoration for Rabin.
Al Jazerra reported that AOC’s “office did not elaborate on the reason behind the reversal, but pointed to a tweet Ocasio-Cortez wrote earlier on Friday in which she said, ‘this event and my involvement was presented to my team differently from how it’s now being promoted.’”
“Americans for Peace Now’s mission is to educate and persuade the American public and its leadership to support and adopt policies that will lead to comprehensive, durable, Israeli-Palestinian and Israeli-Arab peace, based on a two-state solution” according to the group’s website.
APN is a favorite among liberal Zionists because it strives primarily for peace between Israel and Palestine while still recognizing that both deserve sovereignty. In the Israel-Palestine debates, APN would be seen as the moderate position: they oppose Israeli settlements while still recognizing the legitimacy of Jewish claims to the land.
Ocasio-Cortez purports to agree with this position, stating in an interview last year, “The same way that me criticizing Trump doesn’t make me anti-American, criticizing the occupation doesn’t make you anti-Israel, frankly. It doesn’t mean you are against the existence of a nation. It means you believe in human rights. It’s about making sure that Palestinian human rights are equal to Israeli human rights.”
A Sept. 24 tweet from Alex Kane, a reporter for Jewish Currents, about the prime minister apparently pushed Ocasio-Cortez to change her mind:
“So @AOC is doing a memorial event for Yitzhak Rabin. In the US 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.”
AOC 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.”
Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin is hailed by many as the great peace-maker for the Israelis and Palestinians. He was murdered by a far-right Zionist who opposed Rabin’s support for the Palestinian Nationalism movement. Rabin signed the Oslo Accords and publicly shook PLO leader Yasser Arafat’s hand.
“If getting assassinated at your own peace rally after giving a full-throated speech in favor of the cause is not enough to deserve to be commemorated, hard to see what any Israeli could possibly do to earn a kosher stamp from these people, and hard to see why they would want it,” said Yair Rosenberg, a writer for Tablet Magazine.
“[Rabin] is a figure who should not be valorized and celebrated, no matter what he came to symbolize later on. @AOC’s decision to pull out of the event is a decision to stand on the right side of history,” said Palestinian rights group Adalah Justice Project.