It was a pretty limp-wristed defense of one of the United States’ strongest allies, but it was too heavy-handed for Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.
When President Joe Biden finally commented publicly Wednesday on the violence that has wracked Israel since last week, it amounted to a statement of the blindingly obvious: Israel has the “legitimate right to defend itself and its people.”
But even that was too much for the “squad” leader and congresswoman from New York, who lost no time making a public response that did little more than illustrate her well-known ignorance about one of the world’s most enduring conflicts.
By only stepping in to name Hamas’ actions – which are condemnable – & refusing to acknowledge the rights of Palestinians, Biden reinforces the false idea that Palestinians instigated this cycle of violence.
This is not neutral language. It takes a side – the side of occupation.
— Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (@AOC) May 12, 2021
“Blanket statements like these w/ little context or acknowledgment of what precipitated this cycle of violence – namely, the expulsions of Palestinians and attacks on Al Aqsa – dehumanize Palestinians & imply the US will look the other way at human rights violations. It’s wrong,” Ocasio Cortez tweeted.
“By only stepping in to name Hamas’ actions – which are condemnable – & refusing to acknowledge the rights of Palestinians, Biden reinforces the false idea that Palestinians instigated this cycle of violence.
“This is not neutral language. It takes a side – the side of occupation.”
Well, it was actually taking the side of a United States ally, the only true democracy in the Middle East, and a country with a strong tradition of the rule of law — unlike virtually every other country in the area that the leftists of the West so adore.
It was also a pretty weak-tea statement, as a White House readout of Wednesday’s conversation between Biden and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu showed.
Biden “condemned the rocket attacks by Hamas and other terrorist groups.” He also “conveyed his unwavering support for Israel’s security and for Israel’s legitimate right to defend itself and its people, while protecting civilians.”
It’s boilerplate language. The Barack Obama White House where Biden served for eight years was more or less openly antagonistic to Netanyahu’s government, but would almost certainly have said much the same.
Basically, Biden merely affirmed the United States stands against terrorists shooting rockets in an attempt to murder civilians. Not exactly a “here we stand we can do no other” kind of commitment, but it’s a plus. He also “conveyed unwavering support” for the security of the Jewish state, which has been stated policy of the United States for the more than seven decades since Israel was founded.
It was all pretty pro forma. Does anyone think for a second President Donald Trump — a full-throated supporter of Israel — would have delivered such a thin gruel of rhetoric when it came to Israel grappling with yet another savage attack from terrorists bent on its destruction? (On Tuesday, Trump published a statement slamming Biden for his “weakness” on the issue.)
But even that was too much for AOC.
First of all, as anyone knows who remembers AOC’s embarrassing 2018 interview on the PBS show “Firing Line,” the radical Democrat is not exactly an expert on geopolitics on this issue.
In fact, when she was asked to explain what she meant by using the term “the occupation of Palestine,” Ocasio-Cortez herself told interviewer Margaret Hoover that “I’d also just – I am not the expert on geopolitics on this issue.”
Socialist Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez attacks Israel, calls them the occupiers of Palestine.
When pressed on what she meant she struggled to give an answer and then admitted she does not know what she is talking about. pic.twitter.com/e3Uq1eupD3
— Ryan Saavedra (@RealSaavedra) July 16, 2018
Clearly, she still isn’t.
Every periodic outbreak of violence between Israel and the Palestinians seems to come clothed in a miasma of misinformation — often aided considerably by the anti-Israel biases of the American mainstream media — but the facts in the latest case are unusually clear.
As Elliott Abrams, a former national security adviser in the George W. Bush White House explained at National Review on Tuesday, the current cause of fighting is basically a landlord-tenant dispute, or landlord-squatter dispute, in which Palestinians living on properties in East Jerusalem legally owned by Jews are refusing to leave, though their leases have expired or there were no leases at all.
For Ocasio-Cortez, however, the legal issues in the case are clearly secondary to basic facts: Palestinians are in a dispute with Israelis, therefore, the Israelis are in the wrong.
American presidents, of course, even a Democratic president increasingly hostage to his party’s aggressive left wing, have a duty to stand by American allies, if only nominally. Hence Biden’s weak-as-dishwater statement about Israel having a “right to defend itself” while more than 1,000 rockets have been fired indiscriminately by terrorist groups.
Since Monday, seven Israelis and more than 100 Palestinians have been killed in the fighting, according to Fox News. The Palestinian dead included commanders of the terrorist group Hamas who based their operation in a high-rise in the Gaza Strip, almost guaranteeing civilian deaths in the event of an Israeli strike.
As to AOC’s claim about Israeli “attacks on Al Aqsa” — the Jerusalem mosque considered Islam’s third holiest site — the Israeli ambassador to the United States, Gilad Erdan, shed some light on the situation in a tweet Monday directed at Ocasio-Cortez’s “squad” mate in Congress, Michigan Rep. Rashida Tlaib.
The mosque, Erdan wrote, was being used to store weapons to attack police and Jewish worshippers on Temple Mount — the holiest site in Judaism.
Congresswoman @RashidaTlaib maybe you should open your eyes to the whole picture? Islam’s 3rd holiest site is being used to stockpile Molotov cocktails and rocks that are being lobbed at the police and at Jewish worshippers praying at the Western Wall, below the Temple Mount. 1/4 https://t.co/gsdiXL6BSY pic.twitter.com/5OtcBKgUle
— Ambassador Gilad Erdan גלעד ארדן (@giladerdan1) May 10, 2021
What it boils down to is this:
For leftists like Ocasio-Cortez and her cohort in the “squad,” any eruption of conflict between Israel and Palestinian terrorists is to be treated as another excuse to attack Israel.
It doesn’t matter about the legal question involved. It doesn’t matter that terrorist groups are using what are supposed to be houses of worship to store weaponry.
All that matters is the Jewish state is defeated on every front.
But for the sane parts of the United States — and the world — what really matters is an American president who demonstrates firmly, forcefully and consistently that its ally, Israel, has the full support of the world’s most powerful nation in its fight for survival against savagery.
No one who has watched Biden since the presidential campaign can believe he has the physical or mental strength to deliver the necessary message.
And with his left wing baying at him for even an oatmeal statement like the one on Wednesday, it’s an open question whether he has the political capital.
It’s almost trite to say it now, but Israel’s struggle for existence against savage enemies really is a kind of proxy for the United States fight for a global order that isn’t dominated by state sponsors of terror (see: Iran, Islamic Republic of).
If limp-wristed, pro forma defenses from the White House are the best Israel can expect, and if even those are subject to attacks from prominent left-wing Democrats, it’s going to be a long, dangerous four years for every resident of the Middle East.
And the United States.
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