Ocasio-Cortez: AIPAC ‘Coming After’ Freshman Dems, Compares Israel Supporters to Iraq War Supporters

Reps. Omar, Pressley, Tlaib and Ocasio-Cortez / Instagram

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D., N.Y.) sent a fundraising email Thursday claiming the pro-Israel lobbying group AIPAC is "coming after" her and some of her progressive colleagues, comparing the consensus around the U.S.-Israel relationship to that around the Iraq War a decade ago.

Quoting a New York Times article where AIPAC activist predicted Ocasio-Cortez and fellow freshman anti-Israel Reps. Ilhan Omar (D., Minn.) and Rashida Tlaib (D., Mich.) "will not be around in several years," the email said, "it's official—AIPAC is coming after Alexandria, Ilhan, and Rashida.

"Rashida, Ilhan, and Alexandria have at times dared to question our foreign policy, and the influence of money in our political system. And now, lobbying groups across the board are working to punish them for it," the email said.

"Some members of Congress have even gone so far as to claim that ‘questioning support for the US-Israel relationship is unacceptable.’ But that’s not how our legislative process is supposed to work," the email went on. "Just a decade ago, it was ‘unquestionable’ to not support the war in Iraq. And we all saw what resulted from that lack of discussion and negotiation."

Ocasio-Cortez's memory may be fuzzy with that timeline. A decade ago, President Barack Obama and Democratic majorities had just been swept into office after campaigning in fierce opposition to the Iraq War and the George W. Bush administration's conducting of it.

It added condemnations of anti-Semitism and other forms of bigotry and said there "should be no special relationship or status."

Ocasio-Cortez has backed Omar over her latest anti-Semitic controversy. She claims Omar changed the conversation around the U.S.-Israel relationship after she questioned the political influence pushing "allegiance to a foreign country."

The left flank of the party represented by Omar and Ocasio-Cortez increasingly sympathizes with anti-Israel positions, exposing a divide this week as Democratic leaders struggled to control their caucus's response to Omar. Democrats ultimately put forward a resolution condemning bigotry of various forms that omitted mention of Omar.

Omar was forced to apologize last month by Democratic leadership for saying AIPAC paid off pro-Israel politicians, at one point saying, "It's all about the Benjamins, baby." She claimed she would learn from using the anti-Semitic trope, but less than a month later, she made her remark conflating support for Israel to allegiance for the Jewish state.

Ocasio-Cortez, shortly after her upset primary win last year, drew criticism after accusing Israelis of perpetrating a "massacre" of Palestinians and muddling facts about the so-called "occupation." She admitted she was "not the expert on geopolitics on this issue" and endorsed a two-state solution.

A few days later, she backed off that support when asked about the two-state solution, saying she was "engaging with activists right now."