(USNewsMag.com) – Democratic Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York slammed President Joe Biden this week, accusing him of enabling and perpetuating “gross human rights violations” in the Palestinian territories amidst Israel’s military siege by providing the Jewish state with funding.
On Monday, during a virtual town hall, the congresswoman took questions about the conflict in the Middle East, which escalated in October after the militant Palestinian group Hamas launched a massive coordinated attack on Israel that killed an estimated 1,400. After the attack on Oct. 7, Israel launched a military siege of the Gaza Strip, attempting to weed out Hamas and secure the rescue of hostages taken by the group during their attack. Over 13,000 Palestinians have died since the escalation.
During her tele-town hall, one of Ocasio-Cortez’s constituents suggested that the US “defund Israel” and instead “send funding and aid to Gaza.” The New York representative also encouraged activists supporting Palestinians to continue to pressure her fellow Democratic lawmakers for their support of a cease-fire. Another caller asked the congresswoman what pro-Palestinian activists should do in order to keep the pressure on lawmakers regarding a cease-fire, to which she said “constituent engagement” is “powerful.”
Ocasio-Cortez said it’s “not just progressives” supporting a cease-fire, but “representatives from swing states” as well, who are also “starting to come out in favor” of the proposal. She credited activism with making that position more “tenable” and “normalized.”
According to Ocasio-Cortez, any “forces” receiving military aid from the US “cannot be engaging in gross human rights violations.” To defend her point, she cited the Leahy law, which prohibits the State and Defense departments from giving military aid to any foreign forces violating human rights. She said that if the Biden administration “is engaged” in such violations, then sending aid to Israel should either stop or at least be “reconsidered.”
Ocasio-Cortez said she doesn’t think “the American people want to see” their “public resources” financing the situation.
Congress voted on two resolutions this week regarding the Middle Eastern conflict, one of which reaffirms Israel’s right to exist and defend itself, while the other officially condemned the Oct. 7 attack by Hamas.
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