There is only one political story today, the defeat of Democratic Party stalwart Joseph Crowley by insurgent socialist Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, 28, in a congressional district in the Bronx and Queens. The news has reverberations for our issue, U.S. policy in the Middle East. Ocasio-Cortez has called on the party to end its silence on Palestinian human rights.
Here is Ocasio-Cortez’s tweet from the May 14 massacre on the Gaza border, when Israel killed 62 Palestinian protesters even as the U.S. moved the embassy:
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.
Crowley had supported the move of the embassy to Jerusalem, which detonated the killings, and catered to the Israel lobby group AIPAC. He is the fourth-ranking Democrat in the House, a ten-term congressman, the personification of the old guard. The party establishment has been wed to support for Israel even as the forces that Ocasio-Cortez represents, younger and more diverse, have demanded greater backing for Palestinian human rights.
Haaretz has more of the story:
Asked later why she chose to post the tweet, Ocasio-Cortez compared the Gaza protesters to civil rights activists in the United States.
“I think I was primarily compelled on moral grounds because I could only imagine if 60 people were shot and killed in Ferguson. Or if 60 people were shot and killed in the West Virginia teachers’ strikes. The idea that we are not supposed to talk about people dying when they are engaging in political expression just really moved me,” she said.
She told interviewer Glenn Greenwald that the “silence” around the Palestinian cause “has been a little interesting to me,” adding that her Puerto Rican roots her to relate to the Palestinian protesters.
“Puerto Rico is a colony that is granted no rights, that has no civic representation,” she said. “If 60 of us were shot in protest of the U.S. negligence in FEMA I couldn’t imagine if there were silence on that.”
Increasingly, she said, “People are separating the actions and status of Palestinians from even the greater geopolitics of the area. People are looking at Palestinians through a humanitarian lens.”
Just last week Democratic megadonor Haim Saban accused 13 senators who called for an easing of the siege on Gaza of being childish and uninformed.
Democrat Alan Dershowitz is apparently worried about the same trend. From Bernard Marcus, one of Trump’s biggest pro-Israel donors:
“I was just speaking to Alan Dershowitz who agreed that the Democratic party is turning against itself. We are frightened by so much anti-Israel, anti-Semitic sentiment. Look what’s happening in Germany, England, France…Jews have nowhere to go but Israel. You think Russia and Iran want to sustain Israel? We have to fight the fight!”
We have always predicted this battle inside the Democratic Party. It really seems to be coming at last.