AOC: Israeli forces killed Shireen Abu Akleh with US funding

"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," said Ocasio-Cortez.

 US REPRESENTATIVE Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) at a news conference in Washington this week. (photo credit: REUTERS/ELIZABETH FRANTZ)
US REPRESENTATIVE Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) at a news conference in Washington this week.
(photo credit: REUTERS/ELIZABETH FRANTZ)

The Israeli military killed Al Jazeera journalist Shireen Abu Akleh with US funding, US Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez said in an early Friday morning Instagram video.

Abu Akleh killed by IDF

"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 — A venerated journalist, a US citizen," said Ocasio-Cortez. "We 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 US, and we're funding this," she continued. "There has to be some sort of line that we draw."

She also noted that "an entire media building bombed last year — That can't be happening without our consent," referring to the al-Jalaa building that housed Associated Press, Al Jazeera and Hamas intelligence offices, and that the Israel Air Force bombed during May 2021's Operation Guardian of the Walls.

The congresswoman rejected the common refrains of critics that the discussion of Israel was subject to double standards and undue focus, saying that US funding made such criticism relevant. 

REP. ALEXANDRIA Ocasio-Cortez speaks during a ‘No Climate, No Deal’ demonstration outside the White House last month. (credit: EVELYN HOCKSTEIN/REUTERS)REP. ALEXANDRIA Ocasio-Cortez speaks during a ‘No Climate, No Deal’ demonstration outside the White House last month. (credit: EVELYN HOCKSTEIN/REUTERS)

Ocasio-Cortez said that believing Palestinians are "human beings with human rights" is being called antisemitic, which she said was an affront to actual antisemitism such as the recent wave of hate crimes against Jews in New York. Ocasio-Cortez said that discussing the topic had become forbidden, and that "Some people's basic human rights are too politically controversial."

"That doesn't mean that you don't believe in Israeli people being safe, but I mean we can't believe in Palestinians being safe too?" said Ocasio-Cortez.

In the hour-long video, the congresswoman announced that she was engaged, and discussed abortion and the Buffalo shooting.

The Squad blame Israel

Ocasio-Cortez is part of an unofficial group of Democrat politicians that is referred to as "The Squad." The group includes Rep. Cori Bush, Rep. Ilhan Omar, and Rep. Rashida Tlaib, who responded to the incident just after the news broke, also asserting that the IDF had murdered Abu Akleh last week, though investigations are ongoing and thus far inconclusive. The Al Jazeera journalist was struck by a bullet during a firefight between IDF troops and Palestinian gunmen.

"Shireen Abu Akleh was murdered by a government that receives unconditional funding by our country with zero accountability," said Tlaib. "Whether you're Palestinian, American, or not, being killed with US funding must stop."

Omar said that Abu Akleh "was killed by the Israeli military, after making her presence as a journalist clearly known. We provide Israel with $3.8 billion in military aid annually with no restrictions. What will it take for accountability for these human rights violations?"

"The Israeli military killing of Shireen Abu Akleh is devastating and infuriating," said Bush. "I condemn this unacceptable attack on her, on Palestinians and the freedom and safety of journalists everywhere. There must be accountability, and we must demand an end to Israeli apartheid."

Ongoing investigation

In a press briefing on Thursday, Pentagon Press Secretary John F. Kirby said that Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin had spoken with his Israeli counterpart Benny Gantz on the issue in a meeting in the US. 

Kirby said that Israel had "stated a clear intent to investigate, and the Secretary welcomed that investigation. And obviously, we look forward to seeing what the investigation finds out. But I'm not going to get ahead of it or speculate about what the outcomes might be one way or the other."

The Pentagon press secretary also that he doesn't think it "serves anybody's purpose to get ahead of it when it's ongoing, and it hasn't concluded."

The Squad touched on the Arab-Israeli conflict earlier in the week when they introduced on Tuesday to the House Committee on Foreign Affairs a resolution proposing to officially commemorate the “Nakba” in the United States.