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Zioness Open Letter to Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez Pulling out of event honoring the late Yitzhak Rabin

Dear Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez,

There is so much about you that inspires, activates, and empowers so many American Jews, who overwhelmingly share your passion in the fight for social, racial, economic, gender and environmental justice. Your leadership means so much to young women, especially women of color, who could previously never see themselves as national icons. We desperately want to see you succeed, to inspire more female leadership, and to save our planet, for our children and for their children.

But your success as a legislator, as a leader, and as an activist for truth and justice, depends on your ability to see and treat every American as a human being. Many Jews have reached out to you to try to express our commitment to Zionism as an inalienable human right, but you have seemed unwilling to truly hear and appreciate our humanity.

We are deeply troubled that you have decided to pull out of an event honoring the life and legacy of former Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin, a Nobel Peace Prize laureate who paid the ultimate price for his commitment to peace and justice, assassinated by a right-wing extremist for trying to advance the cause of Palestinian statehood.

This makes us genuinely feel that your commitment to progressive values, equity and equality for all excludes the Jewish people. Yitzhak Rabin is a hero to Jews around the globe, including across America and in your own district. While we are frequently inspired by your bold and trailblazing female leadership, and we emphatically praised your powerful recent speech on the House floor about the history of institutional misogyny and sexism in this country, we cannot overlook the positions you have taken that marginalize American Jews.

Individuals who call for anti-normalization––who refuse to acknowledge the actual existence of the Jewish state or the humanity of its diverse inhabitants and supporters––are not helping Palestinians, they are demonizing Jews and Jewish collective liberation. Israel’s existence is a fact––a fact which will not change––and refusing to engage with Jews, a literal necessity if peace is ever to be achieved, is therefore both anti-Palestinian and antisemitic.

Your decision is painful to us for so many reasons. It will not advance Palestinians. It will not advance peace. It will, however, advance the forces of white supremacy that alienate and target Jews and aim to divide us from our natural allies and coalitions in the fight for the soul of America. It will advance the feeling of despair held by so many progressive American Jews who feel abandoned by our fellow justice-seekers. And it will dehumanize Israelis, signaling to the millions who admire you that there are no Israelis worthy of celebration––not even a Nobel prize winner who literally sacrificed his life for the dream of peace.

We would, as always, welcome the opportunity to dialogue with you about these, and other issues affecting the Jewish community in a country and at a time where violent antisemitism is rising at unprecedented rates. The outcome vis-a-vis this event is incredibly unfortunate, but if you genuinely want to do better, we could work together to avoid another similar situation in the future.

Sincerely,

Zioness Movement

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