AOC slams NYC rally backing Palestine: ‘Bigotry and callousness’

‘It should not be hard to shut down hatred and antisemitism where we see it,’ congresswoman says

Gustaf Kilander
Washington, DC
Tuesday 10 October 2023 13:35 EDT

Related video: Pro-Israel, pro-Palestinian protesters rally outside Israeli consulate in NYC

Rep Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) criticised the Times Square rally organised in support of Palestine following the attack on Isreal by Hamas, which has killed more than 1,000 people in Israel.

The Sunday rally led to a mountain of criticism against the New York City chapter of the Democratic Socialists of America (DSA), which promoted the pro-Palestine rally. Chapter leadership said on Monday that the DSA didn’t organise the rally and now several lawmakers connected to the DSA are criticising what was said at the event.

Ms Ocasio-Cortez is one of six DSA members in Congress. She said in a statement shared with The Independent that “it should not be hard to shut down hatred and antisemitism where we see it. That is a core tenet of solidarity”.

“The bigotry and callousness expressed in Times Square on Sunday were unacceptable and harmful in this devastating moment,” she added. “It also did not speak for the thousands of New Yorkers who are capable of rejecting both Hamas’ horrifying attacks against innocent civilians as well as the grave injustices and violence Palestinians face under occupation.”

Nadia Tykulsker, a member of the Steering Committee for the New York City DSA, told Politico’s New York Playbook that the DSA promoted the rally “at the request of a coalition partner because we believe in equality and justice for all Palestinians and Israelis, and we know that war will take more lives”.

Ms Tykulsker noted that the group is against targeting civilians.

“It is shameful that politicians in our state are exploiting this moment to target a socialist organization and divide the vibrant left in New York — whose sole aim in politics is to grow the power of working people for freedom against exploitation and oppression — instead of focusing our attention where it should be: on the atrocities and tragic loss of life in the region,” she said.

Backing Israel is at the core of politics in the Empire State, which has the largest number of Jews outside of Israel in the world. Political leaders in the state often travel to Israel as part of their work to forge connections with Jewish voters at home, Playbook noted.

But the DSA asked candidates for City Council in 2020 to commit to not travel to Israel, which prompted criticism. None of the elected officials connected to the DSA attended the rally.

Queens Democrat Zohran Mamdani, a member of the New York Assembly and of DSA, told Playbook in a statement that “my support for Palestinian liberation should never be confused for a celebration of the loss of civilian life”.

“I condemn the killing of civilians and rhetoric at a rally [on Sunday] seeking to make light of such deaths,” he added.

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