Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) claimed on Thursday that she was “actively excited to pursue” a trip to Israel until the country blocked her two far-left colleagues from entering over their avowed support for an anti-Israel movement.
“Absolutely,” Ocasio-Cortez responded to a Haaretz reporter who questioned if the New York congresswoman would be interested in visiting Israel herself.
“I think that that’s absolutely something that I look forward to and it’s something that I was actively excited to pursue before the Prime Minister Netanyahu decided to ban Rashida Tlaib, congresswoman Tlaib and Omar from office,” she continued. “I think it’s a critically important experience to go visit and see firsthand a lot of what’s happening. There’s no way, I think that one can really dig deep without being able to have that experience. It’s one that I think that’s extremely important to have and I hope to have in the near future.”
Ocasio-Cortez’s remarks come nearly two weeks after the Israeli government barred progressive Reps. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) and Rashida Tlaib (D-MI) from visiting the Jewish state over their advocacy of the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement, which seeks to economically and politically starve the country.
The Israeli Knesset enacted anti-BDS legislation in 2017, which blocks foreign activists from gaining entry to the country. Netanyahu cited the law when he confirmed Israel’s decision.
Ocasio-Cortez, however, accused Israel of discriminating against women of color for banning her fellow “Squad” members.
“[Members of Congress] are frequently asked to visit Israel to ‘see things for ourselves.’ But Netanyahu choosing to ban the only 2 Muslim women in Congress from entering tells the US that only some Americans are welcome to Israel, not all,” she said in August. “[President Donald] Trump is exporting his bigotry [and] making matters worse.”
She later followed up her statement declaring that she would not visit Israel until the country reverses its decision and allows both Omar and Tlaib to enter.
“Netanyahu’s discriminatory decision to ban members of Congress from Israel harms [international] diplomacy. Visiting Israel [and] Palestine are key experiences towards a path to peace,” Ocasio-Cortez said. “Sadly, I cannot move forward [with] scheduling any visits to Israel until all members of Congress are allowed.”
Ocasio-Cortez had declined to travel to the region with her Democratic delegation earlier in the month, as well as with Omar and Tlaib’s planned trip. It is unclear if she previously had any plans to visit Israel, but she confirmed to Haaretz that she doesn’t intend to plan any trips in the future.
While the freshman congresswoman has previously claimed to have Sephardic Jewish ancestry, she has also made some eyebrow-raising statements downplaying the plight of the Jewish people.
Ocasio-Cortez has compared migrants illegally trying to enter the United States to Jews fleeing the Holocaust, the effects of Democratic President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s New Deal to the Holocaust, and illegal immigrant detainment centers to Nazi concentration camps.
She also is a member and staunch supporter of the Democratic Socialists of America (DSA). The Daily Wire uncovered a video of the DSA voting in favor of BDS while chanting “from the river to the sea, Palestine will be free,” an infamous Hamas rallying cry.
Like Omar and Tlaib, Ocasio-Cortez has repeatedly praised the anti-Israel BDS movement.