Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, the upset winner of the Democratic primary in NY-14, called Israel “occupiers” in an interview, and then stated she didn’t have the credentials to talk geopolitics.
While on PBS’s Firing Line, the host Margaret Hoover asked Ocasio-Cortez her thoughts on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. As a newcomer to politics, most of Ocasio-Cortez’s platform handles economic and domestic issues. Hoover asked her about her foreign policy positions.
Socialist Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez attacks Israel, calls them the occupiers of Palestine.
When pressed on what she meant she struggled to give an answer and then admitted she does not know what she is talking about. pic.twitter.com/e3Uq1eupD3
— Ryan Saavedra (@RealSaavedra) July 16, 2018
Here’s the exchange.
Hoover: “You have not needed to take many foreign policy positions, because you were unseating a Democratic incumbent. But now you are very likely going to be going to Washington, and you have to sort of build out some of those foreign policy positions. You, in the campaign, made uh one tweet or one statement that referred to a killing by Israeli soldiers of civilians in Gaza and called it a massacre which became a little controversial. But I haven’t seen anywhere, what is your position on Israel?”
Ocasio-Cortez: “Well I believe absolutely in Israel’s right to exist. I am a proponent of the two-state solution. And for me this is not a referendum of the state of Israel. I think that for me the lens through which I saw this incident, as an activist, as an organizer. Sixty people were killed in Ferguson, Missouri. Sixty people were killed in the South Bronx, unarmed. Sixty people were killed in Puerto Rico. I just look at at that incident, just as an incident. To me that would be completely unacceptable if that had happened on our shores. But-”
Hoover then pointed out the very different contexts of protests in America versus in the Middle East.
Hoover: “Of course the dynamic there with the geopolitics, the war in the Middle East is very different than people expressing their First Amendment right to protest.”
Ocasio-Cortez: “Of course. Well, [pause] yes. But I also think that what people are starting to see, at least in the occupation of Palestine, is just an increasing crisis of humanitarian conditions, and that to me is where I tend to come from on this issue.”
When asked to clarify what she meant by “occupation of Palestine,” Ocasio-Cortez struggled to give a clear response.
Hoover: “You used the term ‘the occupation of Palestine.’ What did you mean by that?”
Ocasio-Cortez: “Oh, um. [pause] I think what I meant is like the settlements that are increasing in some of these areas in places where um, where Palestinians are facing difficulty in access to their housing and homes.”
Hoover pressed back on Ocasio-Cortez’s explanation. After which, Ocasio-Cortez retreated from her earlier statements and claimed not to be an expert.
Hoover: “Do you think you can expand on that?”
Ocasio-Cortez: “Yeah, I think I’d also just say that I am not the expert in geopolitics on this issue. You know for me, I’m a firm believer in finding a two-state solution for this issue.”
You can watch the full interview here.