Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) sidestepped NBC’s Kristen Welker’s over whether calling Israel’s military action a “genocide” has gone overboard.
The progressive firebrand has been a harsh critic of Israel’s military strategy, recently saying “gross violations of human rights” are being committed in Gaza, which she has likened to “war crimes.”
Left-wing lawmakers such as fellow “Squad” member Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D-MI) have also accused the Biden administration of supporting genocide by backing Israel’s military operation in Gaza.
Meanwhile, other progressive activists have protested on college campuses, calling Israel’s actions “genocide” and demanding the US stop sending aid to the Jewish state, which was the victim of a gruesome terror attack on civilians launched by Hamas from Gaza on Oct. 7.
“Some of your colleagues have accused the president of supporting genocide, including Rashida Tlaib. Do you agree with that word, genocide, that the president’s been supporting a genocide, or does that go too far?” Welker asked AOC during an interview on “Meet the Press” on Sunday.
“I think what we are seeing right now throughout the country is that young people are appalled at the violence and the indiscriminate loss of life,” the congresswoman said, sidestepping the direct question.
Instead, she cited the recent decision by the United Nation’s International Court of Justice that Israel has a responsibility to prevent genocide.
“They are still determining whether it’s a genocide. Do you think that term is responsible given it’s still under investigation?” Welker pressed, noting that President Biden has been dubbed “Genocide Joe” by some pro-Palestinian activists.
“I believe that they are. They’re still determining it. But in the interim ruling, the fact that they said there’s a responsibility to prevent it, the fact that this word is even in play, the fact that this word is even in our discourse, I think, demonstrates the mass inhumanity that Gazans are facing,” AOC said.
Despite the questionable nature of using the word “genocide,” AOC cited polling, in which “large amounts of Americans” are concerned about that word, as a reasonable justification to permit such rhetoric.
“I don’t think that [using the word] it is something to completely, toss someone out of our public discourse for using,” she added before concluding.
“I think what we are seeing here is that the Netanyahu government has lost public support and that we have a responsibility to protect the human rights and the humanity of Gazans and hostages alike in the area.”
The White House pushed back in November, saying that pro-Palestinian protesters are wrong to chant “Genocide Joe” at President Biden over his support of Israel because the Jewish state is not trying to “wipe the Palestinian people off the map” with its invasion of the Gaza Strip.
Currently, Biden is trying to broker a deal for a prolonged pause in fighting for the release of the hostages held by Hamas in Gaza, while hoping to win re-election in November.
AOC’s comments were first reported by Mediaite.