Ocasio-Cortez says ‘progressive movement is undermined’ by antisemitism

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) said Monday that the “progressive movement is undermined” by the antisemitism that is on the rise in the U.S.

Ocasio-Cortez hosted a discussion with Jewish Council for Public Affairs CEO Amy Spitalnick and Stacy Burdett, a former staffer at the Anti-Defamation League, on Monday to discuss antisemitism and the “fight for democracy.”

In her opening remarks, Ocasio-Cortez condemned antisemitism as “dangerous” and explained why it threatens numerous communities.

“Antisemitism is an assault on our values as Americans, and especially as progressives,” she said. “Antisemitism is also a threat to a community that is a vital partner in our struggles against injustice. So when the Jewish community is threatened, the progressive movement is undermined.”

Ocasio-Cortez has been critical of Israel’s actions in war-torn Gaza, where millions of Palestinians have been displaced and many are at risk of starvation. She emphasized on Monday that “criticism of the Israeli government is not inherently antisemitic, and criticism of Zionism is not automatically antisemitism.”

“That being true, does not mean that we should not recognize when criticism and when that criticism crosses a line into real harms against our Jewish community,” Ocasio-Cortez added. 

She noted that antisemitism is on the rise in the U.S., saying that more people should be equipped with the necessary resources to recognize when antisemitism is “clear and present.” She also said that there are sometimes false accusations of antisemitism, especially against people of color.  

“At the same time, it is also true that accusations and false accusations of antisemitism are wielded against people of color and women of color by bad faith political actors,” she said.

“And weaponizing antisemitism is used to divide us and create a false choice between the fight for Jewish safety and the cause for Palestinian self determination. Defending and standing for the rights of Palestinians is not antisemitic,” she added.

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