NEW YORK — Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez raised eyebrows for saying in an interview that cutting U.S. military aid to Israel is “certainly on the table” following the reelection of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
Speaking to Yahoo’s Skullduggery podcast, the controversial lawmaker called Netanyahu a “Trump-like figure” who is part of “the ascent of authoritarianism across the world.”
Ocasio-Cortez took issue with Netanyahu’s election pledge to apply Israeli sovereignty to Jewish settlements in the strategic West Bank.
Asked about the prospect of reducing military aid to Israel, Ocasio-Cortez responded:
I think it’s certainly on the table….I hope to play a facilitating role in this conversation and a supportive role in this conversation. But I also know that there have been people leading on this for a long time, like Congresswoman [Betty] McCollum.
Ocasio-Cortez was referring to an anti-Israel bill introduced by McCollum claiming that U.S. military aid was being used by Israel to illegally detain Palestinian children. McCollum also slammed Israel’s Nation-State Law, which defines Israel as a Jewish state, as “apartheid.” The National-State Law simply defines Israel as what it always has been and does not change the country’s Basic Law providing equal rights to all citizens.
Ocasio-Cortez is not the only socialist-leaning progressive Democrat to make comments about possibly cutting military aid to Israel. Bernie Sanders, a 2020 presidential candidate, previously said the U.S. should “rethink” military aid to the Jewish state.
Speaking to The Intercept in September 2017, Sanders was asked whether he would, as the publication phrased the question, ever “consider voting to reduce U.S. aid to Israel — worth at least $3bn per annum — or U.S. arms sales to the Israeli military.” Sanders gave a response that ended with, “So the answer is yes.”
He explained he would rework U.S. military aid to ensure that Israel, one of the most energy efficient and environmentally-conscious countries in the world, would “work with other countries on environmental issues.” And he said that he would help rebuild Gaza, which is controlled by Hamas.
The U.S. funding plays a very important role, and I would love to see people in the Middle East sit down with the United States government and figure out how U.S. aid can bring people together, not just result in an arms war in that area. So I think there is extraordinary potential for the United States to help the Palestinian people rebuild Gaza and other areas. At the same time, demand that Israel, in their own interests in a way, work with other countries on environmental issues.
“So the answer is yes,” Sanders concluded with regard to the question about reducing U.S. aid to Israel.
Aaron Klein is Breitbart’s Jerusalem bureau chief and senior investigative reporter. He is a New York Times bestselling author and hosts the popular weekend talk radio program, “Aaron Klein Investigative Radio.” Follow him on Twitter @AaronKleinShow. Follow him on Facebook.