Freshman Democratic Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez has raised eyebrows among Republicans and supporters of Israel after hinting that the US should contemplate reevaluating its aid policy to the Middle Eastern country.
"I think it's certainly on the table," the New York congresswoman said, when asked by Yahoo News if she would support a possible cut in US military or economic aid to Tel Aviv.
Rep. @AOC thinks "Netanyahu is a Trump-like figure" and says the reelection of the Israeli prime minister is part of “the ascent of authoritarianism across the world" https://t.co/YerdSu30jF via @isikoff, @dklaidman, @skullduggerypod pic.twitter.com/TrpjYRQHUX— Yahoo News (@YahooNews) 15 апреля 2019 г.
"I hope to play a facilitating role in this conversation and a supportive role in this conversation. But I also know there have been people leading on this for a long time, like Congresswoman [Betty] McCollum," Ocasio-Cortez said, referring to a 2017 bill sponsored by McCollum on putting conditions on US aid to Israel.
The congresswoman's remarks did not escape the attention of her many detractors, who pounced on her "ignorance," and gave her a lesson on why US aid to Israel was "an investment in America's own security."
Her ignorance is beyond comprehension. The perfect example of a generation that has gained the minimal wisdom they possess from a six inch screen and the blurbs that flash across it! She knows nothing about Netanyahu and Less about Israel! pic.twitter.com/wbM4Ri0vBt— Frank (@GonzonSkull) 15 апреля 2019 г.
Repeat after me:— Arsen Ostrovsky (@Ostrov_A) 16 апреля 2019 г.
1️⃣ US aid to #Israel is *not* charity
2️⃣ It is an investment in America's own security because a strong & safe 🇮🇱 is in 🇺🇸 national interest
3️⃣ It serves as a subsidy that creates jobs in America (Israel has to purchase US arms)
cc. @AOC @jstreetdotorg pic.twitter.com/s8yGnHFsNb
Cortez should spend a week in Shderot. She will experience the violent nature of Gaza Arabs and understand why Prime Minister of Israel needs to be strong. The Arabs are not the underdogs. Israelis are the underdogs.— ArieH (@lionarie) 15 апреля 2019 г.
AOC's defenders went the other way, agreeing with the idea that US taxpayers should stop forking over $3.8 billion a year to "wealthy Israel." Supporters of the so-called 'Boycott, Divestment Sanctions' (BDS) movement also chimed in with their support, warning the congresswoman that she might face political attacks and charges of anti-Semitism over her stance.
Finally Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez concedes reducing military aid 2 Israel is on the table. $3.8 billion sent 2 wealthy Israel each year courtesy of the US taxpayer needs to cease w/immediate effect. Will AOC now become public enemy no.2 after Ilhan Omar 4 daring 2 criticise Israel https://t.co/ZytpxSiyow— Suzy S (@PalestinePR) 16 апреля 2019 г.
Yes, @AOC, it is long past time to stop sending weapons to Israel which it is using to deny the rights of Palestinians. We give them nearly $4 billion a year. This map shows what we could be doing with the money instead:https://t.co/3HPYPsSppL— (((YousefMunayyer))) (@YousefMunayyer) 16 апреля 2019 г.
Thank you @AOC. This needs to said & done. Our massive aid to Israel makes us complicit in their human rights violations in the occupied Palestinian lands. It’s an old story, but at last we have voices courageous enough to speak the truth. https://t.co/zFdR5DWJzr— James J. Zogby (@jjz1600) 15 апреля 2019 г.
Others argued that Ocasio-Cortez actually had a "nuanced position" on the issue comparable to that of past US presidents, including Republican ones.
Nuanced position from @AOC in wake of Netanyahu annexation pledge: open up discussion of US-Israel relations. J Street view: US can assure Israeli security w/o funding activities that run counter to US values, interests such as annexation, demolitions. https://t.co/TiaKIutdvT— Jeremy Ben-Ami (@JeremyBenAmi) 15 апреля 2019 г.
Remember when George HW Bush's delayed loan guarantees to Israel over settlements? And when Reagan condemned Israel for Golan annexation? Repubs will hit @AOC for saying aid to Israel should be "on the table," forgetting times when they had courage, too. https://t.co/hbdB588jOB— Debra Shushan🔸דבורה שושן🔸دبرا شوشان (@ShushanAPN) 15 апреля 2019 г.
Former President Barack Obama signed onto a ten-year Memorandum of Understanding with Israel on security assistance for the years 2019-2028 in 2016, committing the US to providing $3.8 billion in aid to the country each year. That's up from the $3 billion committed under the previous agreement.
Late last year, President Trump said he was not concerned about Israel's security in the wake of the upcoming US Syria withdrawal, saying the US provided Israel with "a lot more" than $4.5 billion in assistance a year, allowing them to do "a very good job for themselves." The president did not clarify where he got the $4.5 billion figure.