Miss Ocasio-Cortez regrets she’s unable to PeaceNow today. Evoking Cole Porter’s “Miss Otis Regrets,” Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez just let it be known that she will be a no-show at the event at which Americans for Peace Now will commemorate the martyred Israeli prime minister Yitzhak Rabin.
The progressive avatar faced a small Twitterati chorus castigating her for agreeing to grace the memorial event with her presence. On Twitter — where else? — Ms. Ocasio-Cortez vowed to reexamine the issue, which initially she evidently knew too little about.
On Friday she responded to a Twitter tirade by Alex Kane, a freelance journalist and contributor to the leftist magazine Jewish Currents. Here’s the first tweet:
“So @AOC is doing a memorial event for Yitzhak Rabin. 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.”
And here is AOC’s answer:
“Hey there - 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.”
Wait, so the organizers of an event honoring a former General, who was assassinated because of tireless, though unsuccessful pursuit of ending a century-long war, forgot to mention his “brutal rule”? Well, by all means, let’s take another look.
On Saturday a spokesperson for Ms. Ocasio- Cortez, a member in good standing of the august House of Representatives, heeded a tweet of a self-described observer of “Israel/Palestine” and “civil liberties.” And just like that, Rabin was cancelled.
Now, Ms. Ocasio-Cortez surely considers Mr. Kane, though not an Arab himself, as the best interpreter of what's in Palestinian “memory,” but here’s one Palestinian’s view:
“I would like to congratulate my partners in peace Mr. Yitzhak Rabin, the Prime Minister of Israel, and Mr. Shimon Peres, the Israeli Foreign Minister on being awarded the Nobel Peace Prize.” That was Yasser Arafat, speaking at Oslo in 1994, when academy Swedes recognized him for a process known as the Oslo Accords.
Arafat often referred to Rabin as “my brother.” His successor at the presidency of the Palestinian Aurthority, Mahmoud Abbas, often invokes the 1995 assassination of the Israeli prime minister as the moment the peace process died. Other top Palestinian leaders speak with nostalgia of the Rabin days.
These quotes, albeit not on Twitter, show that Mr. Kane is far from the only authority on Palestinian feelings toward Rabin. These leaders and many others in the West Bank (and, once upon a time, in Gaza as well) often cite Rabin as “the good Israeli.” They cite the former general — right or wrong — as a man who turned away from war to diplomacy and peacemaking.
Unlike fellow “quad” members Congresswoman Rashida Talib, a Palestinian-American, or Congresswoman Ilhan Omar, who are obsessed, Ms. Ocasio-Cortez shows little interest in Mideast issues. She doesn’t know much about it beyond “Palestine good/Israel bad.”
No wonder she turns to Twitter, the platform that made her famous and a Democratic Party rising star, for wisdom. Even a cursory Google search, could have informed her better than one tweet about how most American progressives — and numerous Midesatern Arabs — see Rabin.
It’s tempting to suggest that Ms. Ocasio-Cortez’s snub of a progressive Jewish group (and a slap in the face to quite a few members of her Queens constituency) is but a blip on today’s politics. It may be more prudent, though, to see it as a harbinger of how the Democratic Party is being tugged ever leftward by the wing of the party of which AOC is the head.