Home News New York’s pro-Israel Dems bullied into silence by AOC, Jewish activists say

New York’s pro-Israel Dems bullied into silence by AOC, Jewish activists say

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Jewish activists accused powerful Democrats in the New York congressional delegation of cowering to Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and other leftist House members of the “Squad” by failing to forcefully stand up for Israel during its fight with Hamas in the Gaza strip.

“Chuck Schumer? Who?,” a frustrated Michael Nussbaum, president of the Queens Council of Jewish Organizations, said sarcastically of the powerful Senate majority leader who represents New York.

“I’m surprised and disappointed. Members of the New York congressional delegation who have a lot of sway have not spoken out forcefully to defend Israel, and they have not denounced AOC or corrected her,” said Nussbaum.

Ocasio-Cortez and other Squad members including Reps. Rashida Tlaib (D-Mich.) and Ilham Omar (D-Minn.) and Ayanna Pressley (D-Mass.) introduced a resolution Wednesday to halt the President Biden-approved sale of $735 million in weapons to Israel.

“At a time when so many, including President Biden, support a ceasefire, we should not be sending ‘direct attack’ weaponry to Prime Minister Netanyahu to prolong this violence,” AOC said of Israel’s prime minister in a statement.

Rabbi Joseph Potasnik said he hasn't heard much from Israeli supporters because of how vocal critics have been.
Rabbi Joseph Potasnik said he hasn’t heard much from Israeli supporters because of how vocal critics have been.
Paul Martinka

Israel has come under attack by a barrage of rockets launched by Hamas from the Gaza Strip over the last week, sending residents fleeing for shelter as air raid sirens blare across Israel’s cities.

The Iron Dome defense system has been intercepting many of the rockets, with the streaks of multiple interceptor missiles lighting up the sky over Israel.

In return, Israel’s military jets have dropped a rain of bombs in the Gaza strip to destroy 7.5 miles of Hamas tunnels while targeting other terror sites to stop the attacks on the Jewish State.

Amid the destruction and lives killed, Ocasio-Cortez, in a tweet clearly aimed at Israel, said, “Apartheid states are not democracies.”

Queens Council of Jewish Organizations has been disappointed in the New York delegation's response.
Queens Council of Jewish Organizations President Michael Nussbaum has been disappointed in the New York delegation’s response.

Nussbaum and other activists are seething that the New York pols who claim to be pro-Israel have been quiet and meek, giving Israel critics like AOC a leg up in the war of public opinion.

He argued they’re afraid of repercussions from AOC and the left if they speak up.

“A lot of Democrats are afraid of the AOC contingent. They’re sacrificing their principles to avoid primaries,” Nussbaum said.

Rabbi Joseph Potasnik, executive vice president of the New York Board of Rabbis, echoed the frustration that Israel’s loud critics are drowning out supporters.

“I want to see them and hear them. I don’t see them,” Potasnik said of pro-Israel Democratic lawmakers “The other side has no problem in voicing their opinion.”

New York congressional members pushed back against the criticism, saying they have spoken up.

Schumer signed onto a statement calling for a cease-fire that said Israel has the “right to defend itself,” a spokesman for the senator said.

Schumer, who is Jewish, has been a staunch defender of Israel and was one of the few Democrats to vote against the Iran nuclear deal in 2015, earning him the wrath of then-President Barack Obama.

Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., prepares to speak at the 2019 American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) policy conference, at Washington Convention Center, in Washington, Monday, March 25, 2019.
Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer has been a supporter of Israel.
Jose Luis Magana/AP

Manhattan Rep. Caroline Maloney also took issue with being accused of low-keying her support for Israel, with a spokesperson forwarding three tweets she issued over the past week.

“This is terrorism. Rocket fire is never the answer,” Maloney said on May 10.

On May 13, she tweeted, “Israel has the right to defend itself. Now, we must work to stop the violence.”

Maloney also said Tuesday that Hamas “has been exploiting this situation and endangering lives” while calling for a ceasefire.



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