(October 16, 2019 / JNS) Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.), Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.) and Rashida Tlaib (D-Mich.) say they plan on endorsing Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), who is running for the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination.
The three freshmen congresswomen are scheduled to officially make the endorsement at a rally for Sanders on Saturday in New York.
“Bernie is leading a working-class movement to defeat Donald Trump that transcends generation, ethnicity, and geography,” said Omar in a statement to NPR. “That is why he is fighting to cancel all student debt. That is why he is fighting to make all school meals universal. That is why he is fighting for a humane immigration policy that treats immigrants as human beings and not criminals. And it’s why Bernie is fighting to end our forever wars and truly prioritize human rights in our foreign policy—no matter who violates them. And it’s why I believe Bernie Sanders is the best candidate to take on Donald Trump in 2020.”
The congresswomen have been accused of peddling an anti-Israel agenda since being sworn in earlier this year, and in Tlaib’s and Omar’s case, an agenda that also smacks of anti-Semitism.
In February, Omar accused the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, the largest pro-Israel lobbying organization, of paying members of Congress to back Israel, saying it was “all about the Benjamins.”
The following month, she pointed fingers at her “Jewish colleagues” for attacking her Tlaib for labeling their criticisms as anti-Israel because of the Muslim faith of the two congresswomen, in addition to slamming her critics regarding “the political influence in this country that says it is OK to push for allegiance to a foreign country.”
This led to the passing of a resolution in the U.S. House of Representatives condemning anti-Semitism and other forms of hatred that did not call out Omar by name.
Sanders has defended Omar from criticism that she is anti-Israel.
“Ilhan is a leader of strength and courage,” he said. “She will not back down from a fight with billionaires and the world’s most powerful corporations to transform our country so it works for all of us. I’m proud of what we’ve done in Congress, and together we will build a multiracial working class coalition to win the White House.”
‘A generational thing’
Upon taking office in January, Tlaib displayed a map with a note posted over Israel that reads “Palestine.”
Shortly thereafter, she attacked Republican lawmakers and opponents of the anti-Israel BDS movement by saying “they forgot what country they represent.”
Tlaib met with Hezbollah supporter Abbas Hamideh, who has said that Israel is a “terrorist entity,” even though the congresswoman said that “I do not agree with the statements brought to my attention.”
In May, she said that Palestinians enabled a “safe haven” for Jews after the Holocaust, thereby reiterating her support for a one-state solution.
Ocasio-Cortez, in July, agreed with a New York radio host, saying that what’s happening in Israel is “very criminal.”
She even gave a shout-out to an anti-Israel group.
“There are really amazing organizations of young people, like IfNotNow, that they are young Jews organizing for justice because they realize that all of our fates and destinies are intertwined,” she said. “There cannot be justice in Israel without for Palestinians, too.”
“Absolutely, and I think to where we’re at as a country when it comes to Israel-Palestine is very much a generational thing,” said Ocasio-Cortez. “I think that when we start looking at it through that lens, a lot of this stuff starts to make sense. It’s like what you’re talking about—young Jews in Israel are sick of this.”
Ocasio-Cortez, who tweeted last year that Israel was committing “a massacre” in defending itself against Hamas rioters along the Gaza-Israel border, added, “There’s this idea that if you criticize a policy of Israel, the right wants to advance this notion that if you engage in critique of Israeli policy that you are anti-Semitic. But it’s the furthest thing from the truth … criticizing the occupation doesn’t make you anti-Israel, frankly. It doesn’t mean you’re against the existence of a nation.”
Omar and Tlaib were blocked in August from visiting Israel over their support of the anti-Israel BDS movement. Israel granted Tlaib entry solely on humanitarian grounds to see her elderly grandmother only for the congresswoman to back out in the end.
Democratic Majority for Israel slammed the endorsements and suggested that they’re hypocritical for Sanders, “who claims to be 100 percent pro-Israel.”
“It’s deeply disturbing to find a candidate who claims to be ‘100 percent pro-Israel,’ opposed to BDS and a fighter against anti-Semitism surrounding himself with a number of surrogates and endorsers who hate Israel, support BDS and have repeatedly made anti-Semitic statements,” its president, Mark Mellman, told JNS.
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