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February 4, 2019 1:12 pm

New Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez Takes Heat for Corbyn Praise

avatar by Benjamin Kerstein

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) looks on during an event organized by the Women’s March Alliance in the Manhattan borough of New York City, Jan. 19, 2019. Photo: Reuters / Caitlin Ochs.

Freshman Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez was criticized on Monday after she praised UK Labour party leader Jeremy Corbyn, who is viewed by many Jews as an antisemite.

Ocasio-Cortez, a Bronx native, tweeted after a phone conversation with Corbyn, “It was an honor to share such a lovely and wide-reaching conversation with you, @jeremycorbyn!”

“Also honored to share a great hope in the peace, prosperity, + justice that everyday people can create when we uplift one another across class, race, + identity both at home & abroad,” she added.

Her tweet was a response to a previous one from Corbyn, who wrote, “Great to speak to @AOC on the phone this evening and hear first hand how she’s challenging the status quo.”

“Let’s build a movement across borders to take on the billionaires, polluters and migrant baiters, and support a happier, freer and cleaner planet,” Corbyn said.

Corbyn, a far-left MP who took control of Labour in 2015, is known for his vehement anti-Israel positions. In recent years, his party has been hit by several antisemitism scandals, including some stemming from statements made by Corbyn himself.

Polls indicate that the overwhelming majority of British Jews consider him an antisemite, and ex-Chief Rabbi of the UK Jonathan Sacks has compared him to the late Enoch Powell, a notoriously racist British politician.

Concerned commentators reacted quickly to Ocasio-Cortez’s tweet, including New York Times columnist Bret Stephens, who wrote, “Jeremy Corbyn is an anti-Semite, @AOC, a view widely shared by Jewish members of the U.K. Labour Party.  Please educate yourself before you embarrass yourself. Again.”

Tablet journalist Yair Rosenberg wrote, “Imagine that 85% of Muslims polled said they thought a particular European leader was Islamophobic. Would you take that leader’s phone call and laud it as a step toward greater justice and equality? If not, please grant Jews the same consideration.”

Conservative author Christina Sommers also chimed in, referencing the antisemitism scandals surrounding the leadership of the Women’s March, which severely damaged the movement’s reputation.

“Dear Ms. Ocasio-Cortez, Mr. Corbyn is anti-Semitic.  You do not want to do to the Democratic Party what @lsarsour & @TamikaDMallory did to the #WomensMarch,” Sommers tweeted.

A left-wing Jewish writer, however, appeared to succeed in raising Ocasio-Cortez’s consciousness on the issue.

“I’m a huge huge fan of yours,” tweeted Elad Nehorai to Ocasio-Cortez. “I hope you’ll take a look at the amount of Jews trying to call attention to Corbyn’s long, documented history of anti-Semitism.”

“The left’s blind spot in this regard can still be fixed,” he continued. “But we need leaders like yourself to listen.”

“Thank you for bringing this to me,” replied Ocasio-Cortez to Nehorai. “We cannot + will not move forward without deep fellowship and leadership with the Jewish community. I’ll have my team reach out.”

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