AOC doubles down on claims Israel carrying out ‘genocide’ with ‘mass famine’ in Gaza: ‘Crossed the threshold'

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Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., doubled down Sunday on claiming Israel is carrying out “genocide” in Gaza and implementing a “forced famine” by blocking humanitarian aid to Palestinians. 

Appearing on CNN’s “State of the Union,” Ocasio-Cortez defended her speech on the House floor on Friday in which the progressive “Squad” member called on President Biden to stop U.S. military aid to Israel. 

“If you want to see what an unfolding genocide looks like, open your eyes. It looks like the forced famine of 1.1 million innocents,” she told the House floor. “We must write our story in this moment of what it means and who we are as Americans. And our story must be not that we were good men who did nothing.” 

CNN’s Jake Tapper challenged that “genocide” is a word that has “serious and specific connotations and allegations,” that is defined by “the intent to destroy in whole or in part a national, ethnic, race or religious group.” He asked the congresswoman coined AOC whether she believed that the Israeli government or the Israeli military “are actively trying, or actively intend to destroy the Palestinian people – and not that what’s happening if horrible, but it’s happening because Israel’s going after the terrorists of Hamas who attacked them on October 7, and Hamas imbeds within the civilian population.” 


AOC in front of Capitol building

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., gave a House floor speech decrying the “genocide” in Gaza and calling on President Biden to stop aid to Israel.  (Win McNamee/Getty Images)

“This word is extremely serious, that’s taken with extraordinary gravity. And to me, the threshold of intent is a high one, it is a serious one, and is not one that is made lightly,” Ocasio-Cortez responded.

“However, when we look at the precipice of what is happening with a forced famine of 1.1 million Gazans, where multiple governments, NGOs and even officials within the United States State Department have stated themselves plainly that the Israeli government and leaders within the Israeli government are intentionally denying, blocking and slow-walking this aid – and are precipitating a mass famine – I believe we have crossed the threshold of intent. It is horrific,” she said. 

The congresswoman added that there is a “difference between a people and their governments,” including Israelis from Israeli government and Palestinians from Hamas. “But what we’re seeing here with a forced famine is, I believe, beyond our ability to deny or explain away. There is no targeting of Hamas in precipitating a mass famine of one million people, half of whom are children,” she said.

Gaza water shortage

Palestinian children in Rafah queue with water bottles amid an anticipated shortage due to Israeli attacks on Gaza on March 23, 2024.  (Abed Rahim Khatib/Anadolu via Getty Images)


Tapper noted how Israeli officials say they are allowing hundreds of aid trucks into Gaza per day, which they need to inspect to ensure that the shipments do not include weapons, and claim the war could stop “tomorrow” if Hamas were to release the hostages and put down their weapons. Tapper asked whether AOC disagreed. 

Aid trucks wait to enter Gaza

Egyptian trucks carrying humanitarian aid bound for the Gaza Strip queue outside the Rafah border crossing on the Egyptian side on March 23, 2024.  (KHALED DESOUKI/AFP via Getty Images)

“I do disagree, because when we are talking about famine, the actions of Hamas should not be tied to whether a three-year-old can eat. The actions of Hamas do not justify forcing thousands, hundreds of thousands of people to eat grass as their bodies consume themselves,” she said. “And the Israeli government has a right to go after Hamas, but we are talking about a population of millions of innocent Palestinians. We are talking about collective punishment, which is unjustifiable, and the excuses that the Israeli government is giving about what they are and are not allowing simply do not square with what the U.K. government has stated, with what international aid organizations are stating and even what our own State Department officials are stating, which is that they are not allowing aid to go through.” 


“To operate as allies,” AOC said that the U.S. must operate in good faith to uphold the principles of democracy, which includes respect for human rights and also proving the value of our democracy, which is that we are different than authoritarian, and we are different from other types of regimes with no regard for innocent people.”  

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