Democrat Who Upset NY Incumbent Called Violence At Gaza Border A ‘Massacre’

(JTA) — A progressive Democrat in New York who called Israel’s killing of violent Palestinian protesters on the Gaza border a “massacre” scored a major upset over incumbent Rep. Joe Crowley in a contentious party primary.

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, 28, defeated Crowley, 56, by a margin of 58-42 percent in Tuesday’s election, toppling a lawmaker who was viewed as the successor to Rep. Nancy Pelosi as speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives.

Ocasio-Cortez belongs to the Democratic Socialists of America and is a supporter of Sen. Bernie Sanders, a Vermont Independent who ran as a Democrat in the 2016 presidential primaries. New York’s 14th District, which comprises parts of Queens and the Bronx, is overwhelmingly Democrat.

She tweeted on May 14, the day more than 60 Palestinian protesters participating in the “March of Return” were killed on the border with Gaza: “This is a massacre. I hope my peers have the moral courage to call it such. No state or entity is absolved of mass shootings of protesters. There is no justification. Palestinian people deserve basic human dignity, as anyone else. Democrats can’t be silent about this anymore.”

She later said in an interview that her Puerto Rican roots helped her relate to the Palestinian protesters.

Alyssa Fisher is a news writer at the Forward. Email her at fisher@forward.com, or follow her on Twitter at @alyssalfisher

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Democrat Who Upset NY Incumbent Called Violence At Gaza Border A ‘Massacre’

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