'Apartheid states' aren’t democracies, US congresswoman AOC says

'Apartheid states' aren’t democracies, US congresswoman AOC says
As Israel continued to inflict violence on Palestinians, New York progressive Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez tapped in with her own comments.
3 min read
AOC made the comments on Twitter [Getty]
US Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez has appeared to take aim at Israel after days of violence that left more than 145 Palestinians dead.

In a tweet, Ocasio-Cortez said “apartheid states aren’t democracies”, though fell short of naming Israel in the post.

However, the comment comes amid several tweets and retweets on the popular social media app, in which she references the ongoing Israeli aggression against Palestinians in the occupied territories and besieged Gaza Strip.

In a tweet responding to a Saturday Israeli strike that decimated a building housing media outlets such as the Qatar-based Al Jazeera and the US’ The Associated Press, the congresswoman said: “This is happening with the support of the United States.

“I don’t care how any spokesperson tries to spin this. The US vetoed the UN call for ceasefire. If the Biden admin can’t stand up to an ally, who can it stand up to? How can they credibly claim to stand for human rights?,” she added.

On Friday, Ocasio-Cortez’s colleague Rashida Tlaib urged US lawmakers to condition aid to Israel as Palestinians are "being killed as the world watches”.

The Palestinian-American congresswoman said she was "a reminder to Congress that Palestinians do indeed exist, and we are human", during a speech on the House floor.

"And colleagues," she continued, "Palestinians aren’t going anywhere no matter how much money you send to Israel’s apartheid government".

Israel is the recipient of over $3billion in annual US military aid.

Minnesota Democrat Betty McCollum is one of several congress members also pushing for conditions on aid to Tel Aviv, arguing that the current setup is contributing to Israel’s oppression of Palestinians.

"It is our duty to end the apartheid system that for decades has subjected Palestinians to inhumane treatment and racism," Tlaib said.

Palestinians are "still suffering, still being dispossessed, still being killed as the world watches and does nothing," she added.

'How many must die?'

Tlaib also took shot at US President Joe Biden, who has faced  increased criticism after saying that Israel has "a right to defend itself" against rockets from Hamas, without mentioning Palestinian suffering.

"To read the statements... you’d hardly know Palestinians existed at all," Tlaib said, adding that "there has been no recognition" of the forced expulsions of Palestinians in Sheikh Jarrah or of "Al-Aqsa being surrounded by violence, tear gas, smoke while people pray".

"No child, Palestinian or Israeli, whoever they are, should ever have to worry that death will rain from the sky. How many of my colleagues are willing to say the same, to stand for Palestinian human rights as they do for Israeli?" Tlaib said.

"How many Palestinians have to die for their lives to matter?" she added.

Several fellow Democrats also spoke out to highlight the brutality faced by Palestinians.

Congresswoman Ayanna Pressley said that "as a Black woman in America, I am no stranger to police brutality and state-sanctioned violence", and pointed to the "grave asymmetry of power" between Israel and the Palestinians.

Similarly, Ocasio-Cortez called on the US to "acknowledge its role in the injustice and human rights violations of Palestinians…[it is] not about both sides; this is about balance of power", while Congresswoman Ilhan Omar accused the White House of "siding with an oppressive occupation".

Fellow Democrat lawmaker Cori Bush also weighed in, saying that if Congress "is looking for something productive to do" with billions in aid money, it should spend funds on Americans in need.

"I have some communities in St. Louis County where that money can go" Bush said.

Agencies contributed to this report.

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