Ocasio-Cortez criticizes Biden, refers to Israel as ‘apartheid state’ after latest Gaza strikes

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A man stands on rubble from a building housing AP office and other media in Gaza City that was destroyed after Israeli warplanes demolished it, Saturday, May 15, 2021. The airstrike Saturday came roughly an hour after the Israeli military ordered people to evacuate the building. There was no immediate explanation for why the building was targeted. (AP Photo/Hatem Moussa)

NEW YORK — Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez became the latest New York-area politician to wade into the conflict going on in the Middle East.

This comes after a day in which an Israeli airstrike has destroyed a high-rise building that was home to The Associated Press’ offices in the Gaza Strip. The airstrike came despite hysterical calls from the news agency to halt the impending attack. AP called the strike “shocking and horrifying.”

Although no one was hurt, the airstrike demolished an office that was like a second home for AP journalists. Press-freedom groups condemned the attack and accused the military of trying to censor coverage of its relentless six-day offensive against Hamas militants.

The military claimed that Hamas militants used the building for sophisticated operations, but provided no evidence.

Ocasio-Cortez tweeted about the situation on Saturday, ripping the Biden administration’s blocking of a UN call for a ceasefire.

“I don’t care how any spokesperson tries to spin this,” she said. “If the Biden admin can’t stand up to an ally, who can it stand up to? How can they credibly claim to stand for human rights?”

She then tweeted out “[a]partheid states aren’t democracies” in apparent reference to Israel.

President Joe Biden spoke to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu about the spiraling violence.

“He raised concerns about the safety and security of journalists and reinforced the need to ensure their protection,” the White House said.

The White House also said President Biden spoke to Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas on Saturday.

The Israeli military has long had rocky relations with the foreign media, accusing international journalists of being biased against it.

The attack came a day after the Israeli military had fed vague — and in some cases erroneous — information to the media about a possible ground incursion into Gaza. It turned out that there was no ground invasion, and the statement was part of an elaborate ruse aimed at tricking Hamas militants into defensive underground positions that were then destroyed in Israeli airstrikes.

International journalists have accused the army of duping them and turning them into accessories for a military operation. The army said the error was an honest mistake.

Ocasio-Cortez is the latest area politician to wade into the fighting. Mayoral candidate and fellow Democrat Andrew Yang received backlash for tweeting out in support of Israel earlier in the week. He later apologized, while reiterating his support for the Israelis.

Ritchie Torres, also a Congressman, wrote an op-ed in support of Israel in the New York Post Saturday. Both Ocasio-Cortez and Torres spoke out in Congress earlier in the week about their positions on the matter.

The attacks come as calls for a ceasefire are increasing after five days of mayhem that left at least 145 Palestinians dead in Gaza — including 41 children — and eight dead on the Israeli side, all but one of them civilians, including a 6-year-old child.

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