Freshman Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) has come under fire after she said in an interview on Sunday that Congress should consider cutting military and economic aid to Israel.
“I think it’s something that can be discussed,” Ocasio-Cortez asserted on Yahoo’s Skullduggery podcast, adding that a shift in policy should “certainly” be on the table.
Asked whether U.S. policy toward Israel should change following Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s re-election and his promise to annex West Bank settlements, the Congresswoman replied: “I think these are part of conversations we are having in our caucus, but I think what we are really seeing is an ascent of authoritarianism across the world.
“I think that Netanyahu is a Trump-like figure.”
Ocasio-Cortez continued: “I hope to play a facilitating role in this conversation and a supportive role in this conversation. But I also know that there have been people leading on this for a long time, like Congresswoman [Betty] McCollum.”
The United States supplies Israel with $3.8 billion annually in military aid. In January, the Rubio-Coons bill, “reaffirm[ed] bipartisan support for the unshakable U.S.-Israel relationship by authorizing foreign military financing for Israel over 10 years” based on the 2016 Memorandum of Understanding signed by the two nations.
The Jewish Democratic Council of America (JDCA) on Monday strongly criticized Ocasio-Cortez for her comments.
“We are pleased Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez recognizes she is NOT a leader on Israel in Congress,” the group said in a statement. “We recommend she engage with Dem leaders Eliot Engel, Nita Lowey, & Ted Deutch before contemplating the future of US military aid to Israel.”
The JDCA stressed that U.S.-Israel ties “must supersede politics.”
In his speech at the AIPAC conference in March, House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-Md) praised the bipartisan nature of the U.S.-Israel relationship. Hoyer rejected the assertion that calls to boycott Israel from certain individuals – including freshmen Ilhan Omar (D-Minn) and her ideological allies Rashida Tlaib (D-MI) and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez – were representative of the Democratic Party.
[Photo: TheDC Shorts / YouTube]