AOC Accuses Pro-Israel Lobbying Group of 'Funneling Dark Money' to ‘Undermine Democracy’

NY Dem blasted for using ‘antisemitic tropes’ in fundraising email

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez
Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez / Getty Images
August 9, 2023

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez accused pro-Israel lobbying group AIPAC of "funneling dark money" to target "progressive, working-class candidates of color," drawing accusations from Jewish activists that she is using "antisemitic tropes."

The New York Democrat sent out a fundraising email last week for Rep. Jamaal Bowman (D., N.Y.), warning that AIPAC was trying to "undermine democracy" and "abuse campaign finance laws to spend millions of dollars on misleading attack ads."

"We just got word: AIPAC is at it again. They’re trying to recruit an establishment executive to run against my brother in The Bronx, Jamaal Bowman," wrote Ocasio-Cortez. "We know what comes next. AIPAC won’t wait much longer to start funneling dark money against Jamaal and ramping up attacks against our movement."

Ocasio-Cortez’s broadside against AIPAC comes as the Democratic Party has been grappling with growing anti-Israel sentiment among far-left lawmakers. Ocasio-Cortez’s fellow "squad" members have ramped up their attacks on Israel in recent weeks, calling it a "racist state" and boycotting Israeli president Isaac Herzog’s address to Congress.

Ocasio-Cortez did not respond to a request for comment. Marshall Wittmann, a spokesman for AIPAC, pushed back against Ocasio-Cortez's comments and said the group would "not be deterred" by such attacks.

"We proudly support candidates who will advance the US-Israel relationship—including the majority of the Congressional Black Caucus and Hispanic Caucus and almost half of the Progressive Caucus," Wittmann told the Washington Free Beacon. "We will not be deterred in fully engaging in the democratic process by either fringe organizations or anti-Israel individuals."

Jewish activists slammed the congresswoman’s comments on social media.

"Truly stomach churning how many antisemitic tropes AOC managed to fit into this memo bashing @AIPAC and defending Jamaal Bowman," wrote, a watchdog group that fights anti-Jewish bigotry, on Twitter.

The group said Ocasio-Cortez’s letter implied that "Jews use dark money to buy political power & influence" and that they are "wealthy white racists trying to suppress progressive working class people of color."

Arsen Ostrovsky, a pro-Israel and human rights activist, also accused Ocasio-Cortez of "invoking age-old antisemitic tropes."

"So, let me get this straight … In 2018, @AOC unseated an incumbent Democrat to get elected. And that was fine?" he wrote on Twitter. "But now someone challenges her Squad bestie @RepBowman and all of a sudden it’s outrageous and she resorts to invoking age-old antisemitic tropes against @AIPAC?"

Bowman’s anti-Israel positions have drawn criticism from Jewish leaders in his district, who are looking to recruit a primary challenger. He participated in the boycott of Herzog last month and objected to a House resolution defending Israel against accusations of racism.