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AOC: ‘Antisemitism is an assault on our values’

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, the progressive congresswoman, hosted a conversation about the rise in antisemitism with Jewish experts on her social media platforms

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, a Democrat from New York, said in a livestream on Monday that the rise in antisemitism is an assault on American and progressive values, and acknowledged that there had been instances where criticism of Israel has crossed the line into the spectrum of antisemitism.

“Antisemitism is an assault on our values as Americans and especially as progressives,” Ocasio-Cortez said at the start of a 30-minute conversation with leading experts on antisemitism. “When the Jewish community is threatened, the progressive movement is undermined.”

The discussion with Amy Spitalnick, chief executive of the Jewish Council for Public Affairs, and Stacy Burdett, a former senior executive at the Anti-Defamation League, was streamed live on the congresswoman’s YouTube and Instagram accounts, as well as on X, the platform formerly known as Twitter. 

Ocasio-Cortez, who has accused Israel of committing “genocide” in Gaza, said that while criticism of the Israeli government or Zionism is not inherently antisemitic, it’s crucial to recognize when such criticism crosses into harmful territory.

“It’s also important to educate ourselves about the line past which criticism of the Israeli government can slip into antisemitism,” she said. “Doing so protects our Jewish neighbors and protects the broader movement for a lasting piece from being discredited.”

Ocasio-Cortez added that it is mutually important to recognize Jewish pain and fear in the wake of the Oct. 7 attacks and the subsequent war in Gaza while also advocating for Palestinian rights. “Acknowledging that fact does not take away from fights for liberation, it actually advances them,” she said. “It is possible for us to hold very different perspectives about these issues that often cut to the core of our beliefs, without turning our backs on each other.”

At the same time, Ocasio-Cortez lambasted “bad-faith actors” for weaponizing the issue and “falsely” accusing progressives and “women of color” of engaging in antisemitism.  

Spitalnick called Ocasio-Cortez’s statements condemning antisemitism on the left “remarkable” and important. She said the conversation served as a unique opportunity to explain the dire threat of antisemitism to thousands of her followers and progressives across the country. “We need to be engaging wherever we can to help people understand antisemitism,” Spitalnick said. 

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