The Rabbinical Alliance of America — Igud HaRabbonim, representing over 950 American rabbis — calls on Speaker Nancy Pelosi to demand clarification of violent remarks made by Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.
On Tuesday, July 30, 2019, during a radio interview, Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez said that “injustice is a threat to the safety of all people” such as Palestinians and that they have no other option than to “riot” because they are “marginalized” by Israel, as reported in the New York Post (“AOC says Palestinians have ‘no choice but to riot’ — and Americans could do the same”, July 31, 2019). Rep. Ocasio-Cortez said, “Once someone doesn’t have access to clean water, they have no choice but to riot, right? But it doesn’t have to be that way. I’m not even just talking about Palestinians, I’m talking about communities in poverty in the United States, I’m talking about Latin America, I’m talking about all over the world.”
Rabbi Mendy Mirocznik, executive vice-president of the Rabbinical Alliance of America, expresses the RAA’s “deep concerns with the irresponsible statements advocating violence made by Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. The American public looks up to our elected representatives and members of Congress for guidance. A call for rioting, rather than rule of law, is a call for death and destruction in the streets of this country and around the world. As proud Americans, we are concerned for the safety of US citizens during Rep. Ocasio-Cortez’s proposed rioting. As supporters of Israel, we worry over increased terror attacks in Israel and globally.
“With the alarming increase in hate crimes, bigotry and anti-Semitic violence against Jews in the United States, this call for violence in the streets risks the lives of innocent Jews in this country. A call for anti-Israel violence often leads to anti-Jewish violence around the world. As a congressional representative in New York City, a city with a large Jewish population, Rep. Ocasio-Cortez bears special responsibility to protect the citizens of her city. Instead of receiving a message of sympathy and hope, Jews in New York are receiving a message encouraging violence against them in order to solve the world’s problems.
“The world is in desperate need for diplomacy and dialogue in order to reduce tensions. A call for violence undermines the safety of innocent civilians and citizens. ”
The Rabbinical Alliance of America calls upon Speaker Pelosi to investigate this serious matter. We are certain that the Democratic Party does not condone violence in the streets of this country or elsewhere, particularly against innocent civilians. As Jews are attacked in the streets, synagogues and stores of America, our representatives need to calm tensions, not increase them. We further ask Speaker Pelosi to obtain an appropriate apology and clarification from Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and, if not forthcoming, to take all remedial action against Representative Ocasio-Cortez to make it clear to the public that irresponsible behavior endangering US citizens will not be tolerated by members of Congress. This is not a partisan issue and should not be treated as such.
The Rabbinical Alliance of America awaits Speaker Pelosi’s response.