A staff member for New York Democratic Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is under criticism over remarks he made against the state of Israel on Instagram, calling it a “racist European ethnostate.”
Hussain Altamimi began serving in Ocasio-Cortez’s office in November as a legislative assistant. “This reveals the principle underpinning Israeli apartheid: It’s not about where you’re born,” the shared post read. “It’s about whether you’re Jewish or non-Jewish. Your ethnicity determines your rights [and] level in the racial hierarchy.”
“Israel is an exclusive ethnostate, established to serve one ethnic group at the expense of another,” the post added.
The Ocasio-Cortez staff member has also spoken out against Israel in the past, as have other Squad members. In March, Texas Republican Sen. Ted Cruz blasted Ocasio-Cortez over antisemitic actions on Twitter in January.
“You & your anti-Israel pals blocked a resolution condemning antisemitism—which I passed unanimously in the Senate,” he wrote. “Unless they are genocidal, calling your political opponents Nazis is atrocious.”
The conservative think tank Heritage Center also condemned the staffer’s comments. “AOC’s staffer sounds just like what we documented diversity, equity, and inclusion staff to be saying on Twitter. Radical activists seem remarkably willing to expose hateful thoughts on social media. And they staff Congress and universities,” the Heritage Center wrote on Twitter.
The recent comment is concerning, but not surprising, as Ocasio-Cortez has continued to surround herself with people who oppose Israel. In the current situation, the congresswoman’s office has yet to respond with a statement regarding whether she will condemn the actions.
Despite widespread US support for the State of Israel, a small contingent of Democrats continues to make both comments and policies in opposition of America’s closest ally in the Middle East. The concern will certainly not help Democrats as they face midterm election in 2022 that could shift the power of Congress back to Republicans.