Pressley, Ocasio-Cortez, and Tlaib listen outside U.S. Capitol building at night.

U.S. Reps. Ayanna Pressley (D-Mass.), Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.), and Rashida Tlaib (D-Mich.) listen during a news conference calling for a cease-fire in Gaza outside the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C. on November 13, 2023.

(Photo: Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images)

AOC Blasts AIPAC as 'The NRA of Foreign Policy'

The New York Democrat was among lawmakers and others calling out the pro-Israel lobby group as it advocated against a cease-fire in the Gaza Strip.

As the American Israel Public Affairs Committee took aim at Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and other progressive lawmakers critical of U.S. support for Israel's war on the Gaza Strip, the New York Democrat compared the lobby group to the National Rifle Association.

After a CNN journalist noted on social media that an Israeli group submitted to the International Court of Justice (ICJ) a report on sexual violence allegedly committed during the Hamas-led October 7 attack on Israel, AIPAC claimed that "a cease-fire now keeps these rapist monsters armed and in power in Gaza," and mentioned multiple members of Congress, including Ocasio-Cortez.

The New York Democrat responded that "it is appalling that AIPAC is targeting women members of Congress who have survived sexual assault with this horrific rhetoric. Each and every day, their role in U.S. politics becomes a greater scandal. They are the NRA of foreign policy. Of course they don't want a cease-fire."

The other lawmakers targeted by AIPAC were Democratic Reps. Jamaal Bowman (N.Y.), Cori Bush (Mo.), Pramila Jayapal (Wash.), Summer Lee (D-Pa.), Ilhan Omar (Minn.), Mark Pocan (Wis.), Ayanna Pressley (Mass.), and Rashida Tlaib (Mich.), the only Palestinian American in Congress.

"I'm starting to think that AIPAC isn't just a puppet of [Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin] Netanyahu, but a partner," said Pocan. "They cover for his murdering of innocents in the course of supposedly going after Hamas and those actions aren't getting hostages released. They seem fine with that and don't mind the killing of kids."

In less than five months, Israel's blockade and bombardment of Gaza have killed at least 29,313 Palestinians and devastated civilian infrastructure, displacing the vast majority of the Hamas-governed enclave's 2.3 million residents.

Before October 7, the United States already gave Israel nearly $4 billion in annual military aid. The Biden administration has responded to the war by seeking a package worth over $14 billion, bypassing federal lawmakers to arm Israeli forces, and defending Israel's occupation of Palestinian territories at the ICJ on Wednesday.

AIPAC, meanwhile, has worked to oust progressive members of Congress in the November election. The group is also fighting growing global allegations that Israel is committing genocide in Gaza and demands for a cease-fire deal that would free hostages taken on October 7 as well as Palestinians imprisoned in Israel.

"A cease-fire means Palestinians will not be slaughtered by Israel every day. A cease-fire means medicine and food. A cease-fire means hostages come home," Jewish Voice for Peace political director Beth Miller said of the group's social media post. "AIPAC wants a total genocide of Palestinians, with full funding from the U.S. AIPAC wants death and destruction. That's it."

Organizer Melissa Byrne accused AIPAC of "exploiting sexual violence to keep a war going," adding that the group "prefers war to freeing the hostages and security for Israel and Palestine."

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