Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez withdraws from event commemorating 'bone crusher' Israeli PM Yitzhak Rabin

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez withdraws from event commemorating 'bone crusher' Israeli PM Yitzhak Rabin
Conflicting reports have emerged over whether the withdrawal is final, with Democratic insiders saying the decision could harm Joe Biden's presidential bid.
3 min read
26 September, 2020
Alexandra Ocasio-Cortez's office confirmed that she will not attend the event [Getty]
US Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez withdrew on Friday from an event commemorating the Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin following a backlash against her planned participation.

A spokesperson confirmed in an email to Aljazeera that the New York lawmaker will not be attending the October 20 commemoration organised by Americans for Peace Now.

The email gave no further details of why Ocasio-Cortez would not be attending, but highlight a tweet posted by the congresswoman earlier on Friday, which said: "This event and my involvement was presented to my team differently from how it’s now being promoted."

The tweet was in response to a post by journalist Alex Kane, who highlighted that Rabin's legacy for Palestinians.

"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," Kane tweeted.

Ocasio-Cortez, who is widely known AOC, was also criticised by Palestinians and Palestinian advocacy groups for her initial decision to attend the event.

Rabin served as Israeli prime minister between 1974-1977 and in 1992 until his 1995 assassination. Among liberal Israelis, Rabin is celebrated for having pushed for the Oslo Accords between the Jewish state and the Palestine Liberation Organization [PLO].

Israeli hardliners, meanwhile, opposed Rabin, who ultimately died at the hands of a Jewish extremist opposed to peace deals with the Palestinians.

Among Palestinians, however, Rabin's legacy remains his harsh crackdown on Palestinian resistance, particularly during the First Intifada of the 1980s.

As Israeli defence minister during the Palestinian uprising, Rabin exhorted Israeli troops to “break the bones” of Palestinian protesters, earning him the reputation as the  "bone crusher".

Following the news of AOC's withdrawal from the October event, Palestinians took to social media to thank the congresswoman.

"Thank you for listening to our lived experiences as Palestinians, understanding the pain of our diaspora and struggling — with us— in our fight for freedom and liberation," wrote one Twitter user.

Read also: Yitzhak Rabin's legacy is his missed opportunity for peace

"It's been our life experience to be erased as Palestinians and have our stories and narratives minimized and distorted, so having @aoc listen to us today was truly moving and emotional. Thank you, Congresswoman, for doing something so simple, yet radical by listening to us," read a tweet from the the Adalah Justic Project.

Late on Friday, however, a report from the Jewish Telegraphic Agency cast doubt on whether AOC's withdrawal was final, citing sources close to the situation. According to the JTA, a person close to the presidential campaign of Joe Biden said AOC's withdrawal would be "problematic" and would be "creating problems for her own party".

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