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Ocasio-Cortez at the memorial service of Yitzhak Rabin!

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Ocasio-Cortez at the memorial service of Yitzhak Rabin!

Hugh Fitzgerald

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez first accepted, and then reconsidered, and then turned down, an invitation to attend a memorial service for Yitzhak Rabin, the Israeli prime minister who was killed by a far-right Israeli incensed at Rabin for being, in his view, much too accommodating to the demands of the Palestinians.

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is the popular progressive New York congresswoman, is withdrawing from an Americans for Peace Now event memorializing Yitzhak Rabin, the Israeli prime minister a Jewish extremist murdered in 1995 for his efforts to achieve peace with the Palestinians, a spokeswoman said.

A person close to the talks between Ocasio-Cortez and the pro-two states group told the Jewish Telegraphic Agency that the decision was not yet final. A person associated with the presidential campaign of Joe Biden the Democratic nominee, told JTA that should Ocasio-Cortez withdraw, it would be “problematic.”

She could have rejected the invitation for any number of reasons,” the Biden campaign associate said. “But if she agrees and then pulls out, she’s creating problems for her own party.”

Ocasio-Cortez on Friday told Alex Kane, a writer with Jewish Currents that she was reconsidering the invitation to appear at the event. “Hey there — this event and my involvement was presented to my team differently from how it’s now being promoted,” she told Kane. “Thanks for pointing it out. Taking a look into this now.”

Kane later quoted a source as saying that that the invitation to Ocasio-Cortez was not framed as a memorial, but as a review of the Oslo peace process launched by Rabin and Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat in 1993. Americans for Peace Now has since Aug. 29 framed the Oct. 20 event as a Rabin memorial. It falls close to the 25th anniversary of Rabin’s assassination as he left a peace rally in Tel Aviv, on Nov. 4, 1995.”…

A number of pro-Palestinian groups and figures had lacerated Ocasio-Cortez for agreeing to attend, describing Rabin, who was an officer in the 1948 Independence War, as a war criminal for his order to expel Arabs from their hometowns in that war, and for calling for brutal measures to repress the First Intifada, or Palestinian uprising, when he was defense minister from 1987-1990.

“His legacy is one of violence and dispossession for Palestinians,” Adalah Justice Project, a pro-Palestinian advocacy group said on Twitter in announcing that Ocasio-Cortez had pulled out of the event. “Thank you AOC for listening to the lived experience of the Palestinian people.”…

Apparently, Rabin is to be not honored but condemned for fighting for his country, the just-born state of Israel, which immediately after it had declared its independence on May 14, 1948, was attacked by the armies of five Arab states. Does Ocasio-Cortez know the role Rabin played in June 1948, in directing members of the regular army, the Haganah, to fire at members of the rightist Irgun who were attempting to bring ashore from the ship Altalena large supplies of weaponry for their own use? Rabin was responsible for an expulsion order for Arabs in Lydda, which was related to his main task. That task was to keep the road open from Jerusalem to the sea; from Lydda Arabs could launch attacks on that road; removing the Arabs while hostilities were going on was part of Rabin’s effort to secure safe passage to Jerusalem. Once that had been accomplished, and Jewish convoys could travel safely to and from Jerusalem, Rabin turned his attention to halting the advance of Egyptian troops in the Negev.

Rabin was always to the left in Israel’s political spectrum. He was eager to make peace with the Palestinians, was willing to give up a great deal of the West Bank to achieve it,but died before he could accomplish this. In 1995, the same year as the Oslo II Accords were signed, he was killed by a far-right Israeli who objected to the agreements that the left-wing Rabin had negotiated with Arafat. If AOC refuses to speak at a meeting devoted to considering Rabin’s life and legacy, it’s hard to imagine what Israeli leader would meet her standards of moral purity.

Labor Minister Amir Peretz stated:

“Our friends in the international community should know that being a Zionist, patriotic Israeli who supports peace is not an oxymoron, those are whole, complementary values.”

Rabin, elected prime minister in 1992, was the first Israeli prime minister to recognize the Palestine Liberation Organization as the legitimate representative of the Palestinians and formed a bond with Arafat, who publicly mourned his passing, and who made a rare and risky visit into Israel to relay condolences to Rabin’s widow, Leah.

Rabin was long criticized for his naïve negotiating, and his unwarranted trust in Arafat, as demonstrated in his signing the disastrous (for Israel) Oslo Accords, which demonstrated his willingness to surrender to Palestinian territorial demands. In 1995, Rabin agreed to Oslo II, which divided the West Bank, previously entirely under Israel’s control, into Areas A, B, and C. Area A was put completely under Palestinian sovereignty; in Area B Palestinians had civilian control and Israelis kept control of security; in Area C the Israelis continued to exercise complete control. Rabin’s agreement was just barely passed by the Knesset; he was roundly criticized, from the Right, for having given away far too much. And indeed, it was for his peace-making that he was murdered later that same year by a far-right Israeli. Yet here is AOC, by retracting her previous agreement to speak at the commemoration on October 20 for Yitzhak Rabin — someone who was famously on the left, and “in the peace camp” for his entire political life, and who was killed for making too many concessions to the Palestinians — showing herself easily manipulated by a handful of pro-Palestinian bloggers.

Those blogs and tweets that caused AOC to withdraw from the Rabin commemoration uniformly describe the Israeli leader Rabin as a brutal suppressor of Palestinians. Alex Kane, for example, wrote that “So @AOC is doing a memorial event for Yitzhak Rabin. 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.”

Rabin flatly denied the accusation that he had ever “ordered the breaking of Palestinian bones.” He ordered his troops not to use deadly force in breaking up riots by menacing Palestinians, but only their fists and small batons, adopting the methods of the police. Yet here is Alex Kane resurrecting the canard about Rabin ordering “the breaking of bones.” And AOC , without any apparent investigation of her own, believed him.

She also believed Diana Buttu, who tweeted a message criticizing AOC for accepting an invitation to speak, as one of three speakers, at the commemoration for Rabin. Buttu is a Palestinian-Canadian lawyer and former negotiator for the PLO, well-known for its record of terrorism. In describing the putative sins of Yitzhak Rabin, she claimed he was determined to prevent a Palestinian state, though many believe that Oslo II was meant by Rabin to be part of an effort to prepare the Palestinians, and the Israelis too, for a “two-state solution.” Buttu is best remembered for her 2014 defense of Hamas, denying to CNN newsman Jake Tapper that the terror group ever used human shields, only to then be shown a video of two Hamas leaders calling for civilians to act as human shields to protect buildings from Israeli attacks. Confronted with this evidence, Buttu remained shamed into silence. In a debate with Hillel Neuer the same year, Buttu insisted that Israel was “anti-woman, anti-free speech, anti-gay, anti-everything.” To which Neuer replied “Diana, what you are saying is preposterous. In Tel Aviv there’s a gay parade every year.” At that point, an aghast Buttu again had no reply. Judging by the information available on-line, Buttu has chosen to appear on very few American television shows since those two appearances in 2014, for understandable reasons. Yet for AOC Buttu is a trusted authority on Yitzhak Rabin and his grievous sins.

It’s actually a useful thing that AOC first accepted, and then chose to turn down, the invitation from the left-wing Americans for Peace Now to speak at the Rabin commemoration. She has managed to insult the group, essentially suggesting that its members are choosing to celebrate an Israeli war criminal. Perhaps others, too, who were previously willing to give her the benefit of the doubt, will have the scales fall from their eyes and see AOC as she is: someone almost completely ignorant of the Arab-Israeli conflict.

Ask yourself: Do you think AOC has ever heard of the Palestine Mandate, much less read it? How likely is it that she knows what territories were assigned by the League of Nations for inclusion in the future Jewish state? Is she even dimly aware of what’s in U.N. Resolution 242, and what the key phrase in the Resolution, about Israel’s right to “secure [i.e. defensible] and recognized boundaries,” means? Has AOC read the Palestinian National Covenant, or the Hamas Charter? Do you think AOC has any idea when the “West Bank” started to be used as a toponym, or when, and why, the “Palestinian people” were invented? Does she understand that the armistice lines of 1949 were never meant to be a permanent border between Israel and its neighbors? Do you think she’s heard about the Treaty of Hudaibiyya, that Muhammad made with the Meccans in 628 A.D., and why that matters? Has she any idea of what the Qur’an says about Jews or other Infidels? Could she have run across just the verse describing her, and all other Infidels, as “the most vile of created beings”?

No, not a jot or tittle of it. And there’s a great deal more one would have to know in order to fully comprehend the Arab war on Israel, and Israel’s attempts to defend itself. Her shallow views on the Israeli-Arab conflict, so recently acquired – the subject never came up when she was working as a bartender, her previous job before becoming a Congresswoman — now echo those of two other members of “The Squad,” to which AOC belongs: the Somali-American Ilhan Omar, and the Palestinian-American Rashida Tlaib, both virulently and malevolently anti-Israel. They’ve taught her everything she thinks she needs to know about Arabs and Israelis. And that’s not just her problem. It’s ours.

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