AOC Touts Support from Anti-Semitic Groups for Israel Letter

BDS leaders endorse anti-Israel letter from the 'Squad'

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June 30, 2020

A congressional letter organized by Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D., N.Y.) and a delegation of progressive Democrats in Congress was endorsed by organizations that call for Israel’s destruction, promote boycotts of the Jewish state, endorse terrorism, and traffic in anti-Semitic rhetoric.

The letter, sent Monday to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, threatens to withhold U.S. security assistance to Israel if Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu moves forward with a plan to annex parts of the disputed West Bank, an act that "would lay the groundwork for Israel becoming an apartheid state." In addition to Ocasio-Cortez, the letter was backed by Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D., Mich.) and Sen. Bernie Sanders (I., Vt.).

In an internal email circulated to House Democrats and obtained by the Washington Free Beacon, Ocasio-Cortez lists 10 organizations that support her letter to Pompeo. Most of these groups are prominent leaders of the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions movement (BDS), which seeks to wage economic warfare on Israel. One such organization—Defense for Children International - Palestine—has been linked to the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, a U.S.- and European Union-designated terrorist organization.

Ocasio-Cortez’s collaboration with groups that have traditionally been seen among Democrats as extremist and outside the bounds of collaboration suggests an escalating fight within the party over not just criticism of Israel, but the acceptability among Democrats of supporting the Jewish state’s destruction through BDS and terrorism.

Almost all the "supporting organizations" listed on Ocasio-Cortez’s letter are vocal supporters of the BDS movement, including the American Friends Service Committee, American Muslims for Palestine, the U.S. Campaign for Palestinian Rights, and Churches for Middle East Peace. Each of these advocacy groups has a lengthy history of Israel criticism.

American Muslims for Palestine (AMP), for instance, is a prominent leader of the BDS movement and helps run the leading campus BDS group, Students for Justice in Palestine. Both organizations have promoted conspiracy theories about Israel and endorsed violent Palestinian resistance groups. AMP’s chairman, Hatem Bazian, once called for an "intifada" in the United States. Several AMP officials were involved with charities the U.S. government shut down for acting as fundraising fronts for Hamas, including the Holy Land Foundation and the Islamic Association for Palestine. AMP’s national policy director, Osama Abuirshaid, is a vocal Hamas supporter on social media and reportedly worked for two Hamas-linked groups in the United States.

Another backer of Ocasio-Cortez’s letter is the U.S. Campaign for Palestinian Rights, an umbrella and coordinating body for the BDS movement in the United States. Among the group’s activities, as revealed by Tablet magazine in 2018, is "help[ing] facilitate tax-exempt donations to a Palestinian coalition that includes Hamas, Palestinian Islamic Jihad, the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, and other groups the U.S. State Department designates as terrorist organizations."

Churches for Middle East Peace, another backer, is a signatory to the Kairos Palestine Document, which casts the Israeli-Palestinian conflict in religious terms and declares Israel’s existence "a sin against God and humanity."