Liberal Israel Supporters Exasperated Over AOC Dumping of Yitzhak Rabin Memorial Event
Liberal Jews and Israel-supporters expressed exasperation and anger over the weekend after far-left Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez announced she would not attend a memorial event marking the 25th anniversary of the murder of late Israeli prime minister Yitzhak Rabin.
The event, to be hosted by Americans for Peace Now, will honor Rabin’s forging of the Oslo Accords and mourn his assassination by a right-wing extremist in 1995.
Ocasio-Cortez, who has openly defended and supported antisemitic members of her “Squad” of far-left congresswomen, was set to attend the event, but after being questioned on Twitter by anti-Israel journalist, Alex Kane, she said, “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.”
She confirmed later on Friday that she would not attend.
In his tweet, Kane had highlighted Rabin’s role as Israel’s defense minister during the First Intifada in the late 1980s, claiming Palestinians remembered him “as someone who reportedly ordered the breaking of Palestinian bones.”
Americans for Peace Now responded with measured criticism, saying, “We are sorry to hear that Rep. Ocasio-Cortez will no longer be speaking at our Oct. 20th Yitzhak Rabin memorial. Her participation would have added to the event. We are certain that the event will be a success and invite the public to register and attend.”
Dan Shapiro, the former US ambassador to Israel under Barack Obama, called it a “very disappointing decision.”
It was, he said, “A mistake to give in to pressure, a missed opportunity to speak constructively to both sides of this conflict, honoring a peacemaker while acknowledging complexity. Hope she will try again and do better.”
Very disappointing decision (now confirmed) by @AOC not to attend this event. A mistake to give in to pressure, a missed opportunity to speak constructively to both sides of this conflict, honoring a peacemaker while acknowledging complexity. Hope she will try again & do better. https://t.co/m4suDsGgTC
— Dan Shapiro (@DanielBShapiro) September 26, 2020
The progressive Zionist group Zioness released a statement saying it was “deeply troubled” by Ocasio-Cortez’s decision, saying Rabin “paid the ultimate price for his commitment to peace and justice.”
“Many Jews have reached out to try to express our commitment to Zionism as an inalienable human right, but you seem unwilling to hear/appreciate our humanity,” the group said directly to Ocasio-Cortez.
“Your decision is painful to us for so many reasons,” they added. “It will advance the feeling of despair held by so many progressive Jews who feel abandoned by fellow justice seekers. And it will dehumanize Israelis and signal to others that there are no Israelis worthy of celebration — not even a Nobel Prize winner who literally gave his life for peace.”
Our open letter to @AOC @RepAOC share w #ZionessSpeaksForMe
"We are deeply troubled that you have decided to pull out of event honoring the life & legacy of former Israeli PM Rabin, a Nobel Peace Prize laureate who paid the ultimate price for his commitment to peace & justice" pic.twitter.com/fYqqTDGLvF
— Zioness (@ZionessMovement) September 26, 2020
Jeremy Ben-Ami, head of the far-left lobby J Street, said that as a supporter of Peace Now, he was “hurt and troubled” by AOC’s decision.
“There are many important lessons that AOC could have imparted by speaking,” he added. “To choose not to speak teaches the wrong lesson. It empowers those who shut down rather than engage in dialogue. On Oct. 20, let’s honor Rabin’s memory and vow to complete his unfinished work.”
There are many important lessons that @aoc could have imparted by speaking. To choose not to speak teaches the wrong lesson. It empowers those who shut down rather than engage in dialogue. On October 20, let's honor Rabin’s memory and vow to complete his unfinished work. 5/
— Jeremy Ben-Ami (@JeremyBenAmi) September 26, 2020
UCLA professor and Jewish activist Judea Pearl, founder of the Daniel Pearl Foundation, told The Algemeiner, “This ‘reconsideration’ reflects on the mentality of the organizers, Peace Now, who still operate under the fantasy that Squad members have any interest in peace or coexistence, or any inkling about the Middle East conflict, barring populist Israel-maligning slogans.”
Rebecca Vilkomerson, who was Executive Director of the anti-Zionist group Jewish Voice for Peace until 2019, hailed Ocasio-Cortez’s move, saying, “She paused, listened to Palestinians and their allies (including many Jewish supporters) and withdrew from an event honoring Rabin, at no little cost, I’m sure. This is true leadership and consistent principles. Thank you!”