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Is Dem/Socialist Candidate Anti-Israel?


Paul Berman reflects thoughtfully, in Tablet, on the surprise Democratic primary election victory of Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, a 28 year-old Bernie Sanders ally and member of the Democratic Socialists of America (DSA), over a local and national Democratic party titan, Joe Crowley, representing a Queens and Bronx Congressional district.  Crowley’s the Queens County Democratic party chair and a ten-term veteran of the US House of Representatives, who was also a strong contender to succeed Nancy Pelosi as House Democratic leader and as such, a likely new Speaker of the House.  This abridged sampling of Berman’s article reflects on what powered Ms. Ocasio-Cortez to victory and the little we know so far of her critical view of Israel:

. . .  In her now-famous campaign video, Ocasio-Cortez’s voice rises to a real anger as she denounces the unfortunate man [Joe Crowley] for wanting to live with his family near Washington, D.C., instead of maintaining two homes and an extravagant commuter’s budget. 

And yet, that portion of the video is the sign of her talent. Barack Obama’s worst flaw as a political leader was the inability to express anger, or even to look like he feels it. Hillary Clinton’s entire career in politics was staked on being able to master any anger she may have felt. Anger was and is Trump’s trump, though—a repulsive anger, in his case.  

At one point during the campaign [Ocasio-Cortez] sent a tweet denouncing Israel for having committed a massacre in Gaza, and she followed up by talking about Israel with Glenn Greenwald in an interview for The Intercept. She compared the Gaza protesters to the civil-rights protesters in Ferguson, Missouri, and to protesting schoolteachers in West Virginia, and to any protests on behalf of Puerto Ricans after the hurricane—and those several comparisons lead me to hope that, in the months to come, she will have the chance to do a little reading about Hamas. I recommend the Hamas charter.  She is plainly angry about the situation in Gaza, but her anger does not appear to be directed at Israel’s existence. The anger appears to be directed, instead, at the humanitarian situation confronted by the Palestinians—and, on this point, she is right, even if she could be still more right by acknowledging the complexities.  . . .

Click here for Berman’s entire post. 

Postscript: This links to a NY Jewish Week article that does a nice job of surveying a range of “expert” Jewish opinion on what Ocasio-Cortez’s emergence means for American Jews, the Democratic party and support for Israel.

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