Common Dreams - May 13, 2021

U.S. Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez said Wednesday evening that President Joe Biden's "blanket" remarks emphasizing Israel's right to self-defense effectively excuse the country's human rights violations as it continues to assail the occupied Gaza Strip and brutally repress Palestinians in East Jerusalem.

Speaking to reporters, Biden said that "Israel has a right to defend itself" from rocket attacks emanating from Gaza and expressed hope that the latest round of violence—which observers fear could descend into all-out war—will "be closing down sooner than later."

But the president, who mentioned his earlier phone call with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, notably did not denounce Israel's attacks on worshipers at the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound earlier this week, nor did he condemn Israel's killing of civilians and destruction of residential buildings with airstrikes on Gaza—an ongoing bombing campaign that has left more than 80 Palestinians dead.

"Blanket statements like these with little context or acknowledgement of what precipitated this cycle of violence—namely, the expulsions of Palestinians and attacks on Al-Aqsa—dehumanize Palestinians and imply the U.S. will look the other way at human rights violations. It's wrong," said Ocasio-Cortez, echoing other critics' depiction of Biden's comments as a "green light" for Israel to continue its deadly attacks.

"By only stepping in to name Hamas' actions—which are condemnable—and refusing to acknowledge the rights of Palestinians, Biden reinforces the false idea that Palestinians instigated this cycle of violence," the New York Democrat continued. "This is not neutral language. It takes a side—the side of occupation." ...
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