Earlier this month, an Al Jazeera journalist died amid fighting between members of the Israeli military and Palestinian gunmen, and in a meandering Instagram video posted Friday, Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez took it upon herself to announce that Shireen Abu Akleh was slain by the former, with the help of American foreign aid money, as the Washington Examiner reports.
It was on May 11 in the town of Jenin that Abu Akleh as fatally wounded by gunfire while covering the ongoing conflict, as Haaretz noted, in an event that has drawn significant international interest as well as strong condemnation of the actions of the Israeli Defense Forces.
The incident prompted Ocasio-Cortez to weigh in on social media, saying, “I think it’s really important for us to have eyes on what happened with Shireen Abu Akleh in Palestine. She was killed by Israeli forces and, you know, we can’t allow – we just can’t allow this stuff to be happening with our resources.”
“Our tax dollars are a part of this. We can’t even get healthcare in the U.S. and we’re funding this,” the congresswoman added. “There has to be some sort of line that we draw.”
However, as the Examiner notes, amid claims that the journalists death was the result of Israeli sniper fire, Ambassador Asaf Zamir, consul general of Israel in New York, fired back, pointing out that Dr. Rayyan al Ali declared it impossible to know whether she was hit by Israeli or Palestinian gunfire.
Zamir’s criticisms of AOC’s take on the matter continued, with the official writing to her on Twitter, “It’s dangerous to accuse Israel when even the Palestinian coroner has made no determination. This is exactly what leads to more violent antisemitism in NYC. As a new fellow New Yorker, I invite you to meet and discuss.”
Suggesting that public officials should wait for additional evidence before reaching rash conclusions, Zamir said during an appearance on CNN, “In New York City, antisemitic incidents have quadrupled – quadrupled in the last year. And there’s a connection because most of the Jewish people have strong feelings toward Israel and see it as their eternal home.”
“We are asking for people to wait for a second before they say Israel is in charge of the killing of a reporter. Maybe we are, and if we are, we need to investigate that,” Zamir said. “Maybe we’re not, but when you assume automatically that we are, that comes from a totally different place in your heart.”
Allowing sufficient time for the true facts to emerge about a death that has already sparked polarizing sentiments seems a wholly reasonable thing to do, but then again, rationality and common sense have never seemed to be among Ocasio-Cortez’ most prominent attributes.