Bronx/Queens Congress Member Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez caused a firestorm on social media this week when she blasted the pro-Israel lobbying group AIPAC — calling them “no friend to American democracy.”
The dust up began in response to a public relations campaign by AIPAC (the American Israel Public Affairs Committee) against Kentucky Congress Member Thomas Massie, a far-right Republican, after he voted against a House resolution symbolically supporting Israel in their ongoing war against Hamas.
Massie was the only Republican to vote against the resolution, aligning himself with Ocasio-Cortez and other far-left members of the House — which prompted AIPAC to single out Massie on X (formerly known as Twitter).
Ocasio-Cortez then called out the powerful advocacy organization for its support of legislators who participated in the attempts to overturn the 2020 presidential election, and for allegedly targeting lawmakers of color.
“AIPAC endorsed scores of Jan. 6th insurrectionists. They are no friend to American democracy,” the Bronx/Queens representative said on X. “They are one of the more racist and bigoted PACs in Congress as well, who disproportionately target members of color. They are an extremist organization that destabilizes US democracy.”
AIPAC endorsed scores of Jan 6th insurrectionists. They are no friend to American democracy.
They are one of the more racist and bigoted PACs in Congress as well, who disproportionately target members of color.
They are an extremist organization that destabilizes US democracy. https://t.co/I7KeLBHttJ
— Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (@AOC) November 1, 2023
Ocasio-Cortez’s accusation that AIPAC supports insurrectionists stems from the organization’s endorsement of 109 Republican members of Congress who previously voted to overturn President Joe Biden’s 2020 victory, including the Speaker of the House, Louisiana Republican Mike Johnson.
AIPAC responded to Ocasio-Cortez’s pointed criticism, criticizing the lawmaker and her “Squad” of left-wing colleagues for the characterization, and saying they simply support pro-Israel legislators of all kinds.
“More of the same tired lies & spin,” the group wrote on social media. “@AOC and the Squad summed up: People who disagree with us are racist. AIPAC stands with pro-Israel Democrats and Republicans of all races, genders, and backgrounds who support the US-Israel alliance. And we oppose those who don’t, like you.”
During the 2022 election cycle, AIPAC spent $13,428,152 on campaign contributions, along with $2,723,081 on lobby efforts.
At the heart of the issue seems to be AIPAC’s opposition to the idea of a “ceasefire” in the Middle East.
After Hamas’ attacks in Israel on Oct. 7, which killed over 1,000 people, and Israel’s attacks in Gaza in response, many progressive politicians have called for a ceasefire to spare innocent people from being killed in the conflict — which AIPAC and their allies have rejected, saying Israel’s militaristic response is both necessary and justified.
The Democratic Socialists of America, which counts Ocasio-Cortez as a member, has been among the most vocal organizations in favor of a ceasefire — drawing the ire of both Republicans and mainstream Democrats.
President Joe Biden has rejected the notion of a ceasefire, and the Republican-led House recently released a $14.3 billion aid package for Israel — though they attached to that plan deep spending cuts in other areas, such as IRS funding, which is likely a non-starter for the Democratic-controlled Senate.
For his part, Massie doubled down on his criticism, saying he was simply “putting America first.”
“AIPAC always gets mad when I put America first,” the lawmaker said. “I won’t be voting for their $14+ billion shakedown of American taxpayers either. … They are intentionally misrepresenting my intent and the resolution I voted against.”