AOC’s withdrawal from Rabin memorial is shocking blow to liberal Zionism


Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez

Philip Weiss reports in Mondoweiss, September 26, 2020

As you may know, a landmark event in the politics of Palestine took place yesterday: Congressional star Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York withdrew from participation in an October memorial to Yitzhak Rabin, the Israeli Prime Minister who was slain in 1995 by a rightwing extremist, after critics pointed out Rabin’s human rights record.

Rabin is a liberal Zionist hero, maybe the greatest hero of liberal Zionism; and AOC’s withdrawal from an Americans for Peace Now virtual event to honor the 25th anniversary of Rabin’s assassination, hosted by actor Mandy Patinkin– “We would have peace today had he been with us all this time, I am absolutely certain of that,” Patinkin says– is a true shocker.

Al Jazeera says that AOC’s office confirmed her withdrawal in an email.

AOC’s sole comment on the event was a response yesterday to journalist Alex Kane of Jewish Currents, who had written: “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.”

AOC wrote: 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.

Many Palestinians had assailed the appearance. Adalah Justice Project announced the withdrawal yesterday.

It’s official. @AOC has withdrawn her participation from an event memorializing Yitzhak Rabin. His legacy is one of violence and dispossession for Palestinians. Thank you AOC for listening to the lived experience of the Palestinian people.

The Electronic Intifada published an article by Ali Abunimah asking, “Why is AOC honoring a war criminal?” Abunimah wrote, “AOC shows total contempt for Palestinian lives by honoring Yitzhak Rabin, the unrepentent war criminal who personally oversaw the Lydda Death March [ethnic cleansing operation during the Nakba in 1948] and ordered soldiers to break the bones of Palestinian kids demanding freedom from occupation. Just disgusting!”

Diana Buttu describes Rabin as an architect of apartheid:

Amount of whitewashing Rabin’s crimes is incredible. While he was purportedly “seeking peace” he continued to build Israeli settlements and when a settler massacred Palestinians in Hebron in 1994 instead of removing settlers he fortified them. He had choices: he chose apartheid.

Noura Erakat also describes the trap of the two-state solution:

Thank you @AOC for modeling humility and principle. The fact that the liberal Zionist camp in the US is trying to resist Trump’s Israeli apartheid by advocating for putting Palestinians back into the Oslo trap- liberals’ Apartheid- at least makes the fault lines clear for all.

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