Ocasio-Cortez Compares Hamas Rioters in Gaza to West Virginia Teachers on Strike

Dem candidate describes Hamas-led riots targeting Israel as 'political expression'

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Democratic congressional nominee Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez compared Hamas rioters at the Israel-Gaza Strip border last month to teachers on strike in West Virginia during an interview published earlier this month.

Ocasio-Cortez, 28, won a massive primary upset on Tuesday over 10-term incumbent New York Rep. Joe Crowley, a Democratic heavyweight in Congress who many commentators viewed as a possible future speaker of the House.

In an interview with left-wing journalist Glenn Greenwald of The Intercept published June 12, Ocasio-Cortez called the riots orchestrated by Hamas—the U.S-designated terrorist organization in control of Gaza—"political expression."

Greenwald claimed Israel had shot "more than 1,000 peaceful, unarmed protesters in Gaza" as he formulated his question—MSNBC acknowledged numerous Palestinians at the border fence were armed and attempting to breach the security barrier—and read out a tweet quoting Ocasio-Cortez calling the violence a "massacre" perpetrated by the Israelis.

Greenwald glowingly said he rarely saw politicians speak out so strongly against the "Israeli government's aggression and militarism," and he asked the New York Democrat if she spoke out on the issue as a moral imperative and saw parallels with U.S. domestic problems.

"I think I was primarily compelled on moral grounds, because I could only imagine if 60 people were shot and killed in Ferguson or if 60 people were shot and killed in the West Virginia teacher strikes," Ocasio-Cortez said. "The idea that we're not supposed to talk about people dying when they are engaging in political expression just really moved me, and running for office, seeing like the silence around this issue, has been a little interesting to me."

Ocasio-Cortez went on to say Jews and Muslims in her district praised her for her views. She did not mention Hamas in her answer; the terror group, which has been criticized for using Palestinian civilians as human shields when confronting Israeli forces, organized the riots and later said 50 of the 62 killed in the demonstrations' bloodiest day were members of the organization. A senior Hamas official said last month that the demonstrations were not "peaceful resistance."

"This is not peaceful resistance," said Mahmoud al-Zahhar. "Has the option [of armed struggle] diminished? No. On the contrary, it is growing and developing. That's clear."

Given the heavy Democratic lean of New York's 14th district, which encompasses parts of the Bronx and Queens, Ocasio-Cortez, a member of the Democratic Socialists of America, is a virtual shoo-in to become the youngest woman ever elected to Congress in November.

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