Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez
U.S. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) speaks during a July 26, 2023 House Oversight Committee hearing on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C.
(Photo: Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

As AIPAC Boosts Israel Military Aid Package, AOC Says Group Is 'No Friend to American Democracy'

"It is past time for us to recognize how toxic of a presence AIPAC has been in our political system," said Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.

U.S. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez on Tuesday dismissed the latest political attack by the American Israel Public Affairs Committee—the powerful anti-Palestinian rights lobbying group—on a lawmaker who rejected legislation endorsed by the organization.

AIPAC, the New York Democrat suggested, has little credibility when it claims to fight for democracy and security in the U.S. by supporting Israel's violent policies in Palestine.

Ocasio-Cortez responded to a social media post by AIPAC, which backs both Democratic and Republican political candidates as long as they unquestioningly support Israel's policies—including the war it has waged against civilians in Gaza in retaliation for an attack by Hamas last month. The group criticized Rep. Thomas Massie (R-Ky.) for being the only Republican who voted against House Resolution 771, which stated that the U.S. stands "with Israel as it defends itself."

AIPAC also denounced Massie on Tuesday for announcing he would vote against a separate resolution, scheduled to be taken up by the House Rules Committee on Wednesday, to send more than $14 billion in aid, including military funding, to Israel. AIPAC said in support of the proposal that "the U.S. is stronger when Israel is secure."

"AIPAC endorsed scores of January 6th insurrectionists. They are no friend to American democracy," Ocasio-Cortez responded to the group's comments on Massie.

AIPAC in recent U.S. elections has spent millions of dollars to defeat progressive candidates such as Rep. Summer Lee (D-Pa.) and former Ohio state Sen. Nina Turner—both supporters of Palestinian rights as well as pro-democracy reforms in the U.S.—with mixed success.

The group has also backed more than 100 GOP lawmakers who voted against certifying the 2020 presidential election results in support of former Republican President Donald Trump.

Despite its claims that it aims to make the U.S. "stronger," Ocasio-Cortez said, AIPAC is "an extremist organization that destabilizes U.S. democracy."

Massie's objection to H.R. 771 differed from that of Ocasio-Cortez and eight other Democrats who voted against it. He said on social media that he objected to provisions called for in the resolution, including sanctions, foreign aid commitments, and a broad "open-ended promise of military support."

Ocasio-Cortez and several of the other Democrats who opposed the resolution have joined calls for a cease-fire as Israel has bombarded Gaza with airstrikes, killing at least 8,796 Palestinians so far.

Rep. Mark Pocan (D-Wis.), who backed the resolution and has not joined the call for a cease-fire, admitted that Ocasio-Cortez's comments summed up "how many feel about what AIPAC really is about."

"Rep. Mark Pocan is right," said Ocasio-Cortez. "It is past time for us to recognize how toxic of a presence AIPAC has been in our political system. They actively boost candidates who tried to overthrow the U.S. election and run smear campaigns on members of Congress who stand up for human rights. Enough."

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