In an interview on PBS’ relaunch of “Firing Line” with host Margaret Hoover, New York congressional candidate Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez condemned Israeli “occupation of Palestine” before admitting she’s “not the expert” on the Middle East issue.
Socialist Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez attacks Israel, calls them the occupiers of Palestine.
When pressed on what she meant she struggled to give an answer and then admitted she does not know what she is talking about. pic.twitter.com/e3Uq1eupD3
— Ryan Saavedra ?? (@RealSaavedra) July 16, 2018
Ocasio-Cortez is a 28-year-old self-described “democratic socialist” who defeated five-term incumbent Rep. Joe Crowley in the primary, shocking many in the Democratic Party.
Throughout the election, Ocasio-Cortez made multiple disparaging tweets about Israel and supporters of the movement of the U.S. Embassy to the capital city of Jerusalem:
This is a massacre.
I hope my peers have the moral courage to call it such.
No state or entity is absolved of mass shootings of protesters. There is no justification. Palestinian people deserve basic human dignity, as anyone else.
Democrats can’t be silent about this anymore. https://t.co/wJGATOtDsR
— Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (@Ocasio2018) May 14, 2018
In a bizarre twist, Rep. Crowley sent a woman with slight resemblance to me as his official surrogate to last night’s debate.@repjoecrowley’s surrogate said he is in full support of Trump’s embassy change in Israel last month (where 60 people died).
The community was in shock. https://t.co/LvNj0rlhFw
— Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (@Ocasio2018) June 19, 2018
In response to these tweets, Ocasio-Cortez talked about her views on Israel:
“I believe absolutely in Israel’s right to exist. I am a proponent of a two-state solution. For me, it’s not — this is not a referendum on the state of Israel. For me, the lens through which I saw [the killing of the Hamas leaders during the protests in Gaza following the embassy move] was as an activist, as an organizer. Sixty people were killed in Ferguson, Missouri. Sixty people were killed in the South Bronx, unarmed. Sixty people were killed in Puerto Rico. I just look at that incident more through just … as an incident. To me, that would just be completely unacceptable if that happened on our shores.”
While Ocasio-Cortez started out confident in her response, she completely crumbled when Hoover began to push her on her responses.
Hoover: Of course, the dynamic there, in terms of geo-politics and the war in the Middle East, is very different than people expressing their First Amendment right to protest.
Ocasio-Cortez: Well … yes, but I also think that what people are starting to see, at least in the occupation of Palestine, is an increasing crisis of humanitarian conditions. And that, to me, is just where I tend to come from on this issue.
Hoover: You used the term “the occupation of Palestine.” What did you mean by that?
Ocasio-Cortez: Oh, umm … I think what I meant is like the settlements that are increasing in some of these areas and places where Palestinians are experiencing difficutly in access to their housing and homes.
Hoover: Do you think you could expand on that?
Ocasio-Cortez: Yeah. I think I’d also … I am not the expert on geopolitics on this issue. For me, I’m a firm believer in finding a two-state solution.
When it became clear that Ocasio-Cortez did not have a nuanced understanding of the Middle Eastern conflict, she added, “I’m happy to sit down with leaders on both [sides].”
Although Ocasio-Cortez may have come out of the gate too quickly with her passionate opinions on Israel, she does appear willing to learn.
That does not mean Twitter will let this gaffe slide, even comparing it to a failed Miss America speech:
.@Ocasio2018 or Miss South Carolina, who answered it better? pic.twitter.com/hkvWMYV7oB
— David Rutz (@DavidRutz) July 16, 2018
If Ocasio-Cortez wins her November election for New York’s 14th Congressional District, she will be the youngest woman to serve in the United States House of Representatives.