The progressive left is a portion of individuals within politics who enjoy portraying themselves as open-minded. They are a fragment of the population who are accepting of minority groups and advocate for their human rights. There's nothing to really criticize there, except for the hypocrisy that lies within this particular group of political activists. Well, at least the ones who support New York Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, or AOC as she likes to be called.
AOC really enjoyed virtue signaling when a far more respectable woman, also known by her initials, passed away.
When Ruth Bader Ginsburg died in September, she left behind an incredible legacy. She was a real example of someone who represented true progressive, Democratic, liberal values. Everyone, especially on the left, poured out sympathy on social media. AOC was no different.
The problem, however, is that AOC was among the very people RBG had to fight against all her life. RBG was the first Jewish woman on the Supreme Court and a proud Zionist. She embodied so many values AOC considers offensive and wrong. AOC is, in my opinion, a vicious antisemite. Of all the people she would be paying respect to, RBG isn't one that comes to mind.
AOC's respect, therefore, feels disingenuous when you consider her history.
On Friday, news spread that AOC refused to meet with prominent Jewish leaders in New York. Both heads of the Jewish Community Relations Council and the New York Board of Rabbis, to be exact. They claimed to have repeatedly sought to meet with AOC, but never received a response.
AOC has met, however, with Neturei Karta, an organization of Jewish people against Zionism. Herein lies our main issue, AOC and her "criticism" of Israel. AOC repeatedly claims that her views on Israel aren't antisemitic. Yet, when you value the opinion of certain Jewish people and exclude the ones who disagree with you, it is antisemitic. Why? Because you consider one side to be the "good Jews" and the other side "bad Jews."
Rabbi Joseph Potasnik, executive VP of the New York Board of Rabbis, said AOC agreed to meet with him when they met in person, but has yet to follow through with her words. So, in addition to being a vile antisemite, she's also a coward.
AOC recently withdrew participation from an event commemorating Yitzhak Rabin, former prime minister of Israel. Her planned involvement was announced by Americans for Peace Now. However, AOC pulled out after backlash from pro-Palestinian activists. Talk about cowardly.
The move didn't go over well with those involved in the event.
Brian Reeves, spokesperson for APN's Israeli sister organization, Peace Now, spoke out on Twitter. "Are you really going to boycott us and all our work with Palestinians to support human rights and an end to the conflict, just because Rabin wasn't a flawless idle after 5 decades of conflict?"
"Yitzhak Rabin was murdered for trying to make peace with Israelis and Palestinians," Israeli writer and activist Hen Mazzig tweeted. "If you have a problem with him - it's not with Israel - it's with peace."
AOC supports the BDS movement, which also seems to have a problem with peace. BDS stands for "Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions" and is known to be an extremely antisemitic organization. The movement is a Palestinian-led organization that seeks to boycott Israel due to what they view as unfair treatment to Palestinians. The group claims Israel is violating Palestinian human rights.
However, the group has links to known terrorists and intimidates Jewish students on college campuses. They oppose the very existence of Israel as a Jewish state as well as Jewish people's right to universal self-determination. BDS also spreads misinformation regarding Israel's goal for peace, even a two-state solution. They also make the false claim that Israel is an "apartheid state," when there are plenty of Arabs who live there.
Whenever a Zionist or pro-Israel speaker is invited to speak on college campuses, the BDS movement will do whatever it can to disrupt the event. They protest by making noise during the speakers' time at the microphone. The group also calls for these speakers' events to be cancelled. This is the group AOC supports because, ironically, it's "free speech."
She even defended her friend, fellow Representative Ilhan Omar, from backlash due to her support of BDS. But her loyalty to her friend didn't stop there. AOC also defended Omar when she made antisemitic statements on Twitter. The tweets claimed that Jewish people have dual loyalty in Congress. Omar claimed Jewish people bribe the government into supporting Israel.
The fact that people like Omar and AOC still try to pass their "criticism" of Israel off as anything less than antisemitic is just laughable at this point.
But wait, it didn't stop there. No, AOC had more antisemites to support. Jeremy Corbyn is known for his troubling views on Israel. Many have called Corbyn antisemitic. After hearing Corbyn refer to Hamas as his "brothers" and "friends," it's a point that's hard to argue with. Even though Corbyn has since claimed he regrets using those words, it was still infuriating (although, not surprising) when AOC publicly supported him.
The two shared a nice exchange on Twitter following a phone conversation they had. When users were quick to call AOC's attention to Corbyn's antisemitism, she responded in Trump-esque fashion. A phony, PR-filled response that offered no remorse or sincerity. A response that said nothing and everything at the same time. A response that said more in tone than it did in words.
"Thank you for bringing this to me," she wrote. "We cannot and will not move forward without deep fellowship and leadership with the Jewish community. I'll have my team reach out."
It's hard not to view AOC's "reach out" the same way as Trump's "stand back and stand by" when referring to the Proud Boys, a violent, far-right, neo-fascist, male-only organization, at the first 2020 Presidential debate. And it's even more difficult not to get infuriated by the left's hypocrisy when calling Trump out for his bigotry, but not AOC's.
In what seemed like a poor attempt to disguise her antisemitism, AOC claimed Sephardic ancestry at a Hanukkah celebration in Queens. While this might be true, there are many Jewish people who don't believe AOC can call herself Jewish. Their reason being that, not only does she not practice the religion, but AOC didn't experience the oppression that comes with being Jewish.
Isaac de Castro is one of the individuals who offer this take, as well as his view that AOC said this to "validate her criticisms of Israel," which he calls "highly offensive." De Castro is the founder of Jewish on Campus, an organization amplifying Jewish students' voices on college campuses. He also co-hosts the podcast, "Jewish Identity Crisis," with Julia Jassey.
"My family fought hard so that I could retain the Jewish and Sephardic identity I proudly carry today, more than 500 years after the expulsion from Spain," he wrote in a lengthy Twitter thread. "I grew up with the culture, the languages, the music, the trauma, the antisemitism. She did not."
Perhaps to add insult to injury, AOC voted against a bill that would recognize antisemitism as an official form of discrimination, along with her pals Ilhan Omar and Rashida Tlaib. The Equity and Inclusion Enforcement Act authorizes the filing of private civil suits for violations of federal regulations that "prohibit discrimination on the ground of race, color, or national origin in programs or activities receiving federal financial assistance."
Republicans proposed an amendment, which mandates that antisemitism be considered as discrimination. That doesn't sound like an idea a socially liberal Democrat would be opposed to, right? Wrong. There were plenty of them who were opposed, 162 to be exact. And of course, AOC was right there with them.
Many Democrats claimed that Republicans manipulated the bill to use antisemitism for "political purposes." Protecting an oppressed group from discrimination isn't manipulation for political purposes, it's human decency. Yes, AOC voted in favor of the final bill with the antisemitism provision. However, she had no choice as to whether antisemitism was included in the description of discrimination. That provision passed, even with her "nay" vote.
If AOC was in favor of said bill initially, there's no way she would vote against it just because antisemitism was specified as discrimination. That wouldn't have been a good look for her and she knew it. The provision to include antisemitism as discrimination is what she voted against. That says it all.
She's not interested in being a blatant antisemite, she's interested in fooling her army of supporters, so they can make any excuse to the contrary. Her antisemitism is more covert than overt.
AOC never passes up an opportunity to virtue signal in her pathetic fashion. She routinely calls Trump antisemitic, in an attempt to fool her socially liberal followers. Her calling him out, however justified it might be, is nothing more than self-projection. Not only that, but it's a tactic for her to deflect from her own antisemitism. AOC did the same thing when RBG passed away. To all her followers: don't fall for it. Keep your eyes and ears open.
Something else to implore her supporters to do is wonder if their socially liberal beliefs apply to all groups. If so, do they truly know all there is about every issue plaguing these groups? Do they understand why AOC's "criticism" of Israel is antisemitic? Do they understand how criticism of Israel becomes antisemitic in general? Is there an ignorance when it comes to their views on Jewish people and antisemitism?
Or is it a deliberate, hypocritical form of exclusion, only to benefit the "good Jews?" If so, they can not, sincerely, call themselves progressives or liberals. Those aren't liberal values and there should be no place for them in the Democratic party. If they support Jewish people and truly condemn antisemitism, AOC doesn't deserve a seat at their table.
Educate yourselves about antisemitism. Learn the difference between legitimate criticisms of the Israeli government and veiled antisemitism. Call out antisemitism whenever you see it, especially from within your own political party. Until she evolves on these issues, which doesn't seem likely, AOC is in no way a worthy representative of the progressive left.