Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez has pulled out of event honoring Yitzhak Rabin, Americans for Peace Now president and chief executive officer, Hadar Susskind, confirmed to the Forward Saturday.
Anti-Israel and pro-Palestinian advocates reacted with outrage on social media to the New York congresswoman’s planned appearance at a the event marking the 25th anniversary of the slain Israeli prime minister.
“We are sorry to hear that Rep. Ocasio-Cortez will no longer be speaking at our Oct. 20th Yitzhak Rabin memorial. Her participation would have added to the event. We are certain that the event will be a success and invite the public to register and attend,” Susskind said in a statement to the Forward.
The cancellation of her attendance comes one day after Ocasio-Cortez hinted on Twitter that she was reconsidering her participation.
Ocasio-Cortez had agreed to join the virtual event honoring former Prime Minister of Israel, Yitzak Rabin, on the 25th anniversary of his assassination. It is sponsored by Americans for Peace Now, a left-wing group that supports a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
But the announcement, circulated on Twitter by Susskind, sparked immediate criticism directed toward Ocasio-Cortez, who has been a strong opponent to Israeli annexation of West Bank territory and critic of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
Most of the criticism cited Rabin’s controversial legacy.
Rabin, a former general, signed the Oslo Accords in 1993. He later received the 1994 Nobel Peace Prize for his efforts to create peace in the Middle East.
But Palestinians and pro-Palestinian activists view Rabin as a war criminal, citing his role in suppressing the 1992 Palestinian uprising, or intifada, and other policies.
“So @AOC is doing a memorial event for Yitzhak Rabin,” journalist Alex Kane said in a tweet that went viral on Friday afternoon. “In the US Rabin is viewed as a liberal peacemaker but Palestinians remember him for his brutal rule suppressing Palestinian protest during the First Intifada, as someone who reportedly ordered the breaking of Palestinian bones.”
As backlash on Twitter continued to grow, Ocasio-Cortez replied to Kane’s tweet two hours later. “This event and my involvement was presented to my team differently from how it’s now being promoted. Thanks for pointing it out. Taking a look into this now,” she wrote.
The congresswoman’s Twitter reply sparked more debate. Pro-Palestinian advocates continued to disparage Rabin’s legacy and call Ocasio-Cortez’s participation “reprehensible” and “disturbing,” and pro-Israel advocates continued to shame them for “twisting the past.”
Others addressed Ocasio-Cortez’s attendance by offering a Jewish perspective. Eve Barlow, a journalist who identifies as a Zionist, tweeted, “@AOC it’s about time you listened to Jews who are stressed about your decisions.”
“We invited her because we believe she has an important voice to add to most discussions,” Susskind said. “I’m sorry it didn’t work out.” The Forward has reached out to Rep. Ocasio-Cortez’s office, but has not yet received a response.