To the editor:
(re: “AOC and how she works with Jews: It’s personal,” Nov. 19)
In his recent op-ed, Rabbi Elchanan Poupko shares concerns about anti-Jewish attitudes in government.
My parents taught me those same valid concerns, but they don’t make U.S. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s failure to meet with him anti-Jewish.
Rabbi Poupko writes that “the Jewish community feels excluded from American life” by AOC’s attitude. But what evidence does he give?
“When in January,” he says, “we marched on the Brooklyn Bridge in response to rising levels if anti-Semitism, it was not clear that AOC would appear.” OK, but she did appear, and brought more attention to the march.
Rabbi Poupko writes that “AOC’s treatment of the Jewish community is not all related to Israel,” but the examples he gives are all related to Israel. Despite what some Jews and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo say, criticizing Israel is not anti-Jewish. Millions — including my organization, Jewish Voice for Peace — support Palestinian rights, and know that AOC is not against Jews.
Ocasio-Cortez should meet with all constituents. But when their concerns are about the welfare of a foreign state — one that is oppressing others in her district — it’s hard to balance competing concerns.
I admire the way AOC handles the Israel issue, and encourage her to stand more strongly on the side of Palestinian rights in the future.