New York Democrat Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (AOC) on Friday pulled out of an event commemorating the former Israeli prime minister Yitzhak Rabin, who was assassinated in 1995 at a Tel Aviv rally.
A spokesperson for AOC told The Times of Israel (TOI) the popular congresswoman, 30, would not attend the event, organised by Americans for Peace Now (APN), and scheduled to take place next month.
The spokesperson did not explicitly outline to the TOI why AOC, considered a rising star in the Democratic party, cancelled her appearance. The Independent has contacted AOC's representatives for additional comment.
Earlier on Friday AOC, representative for New York's 14th district, had said in a tweet that her team was "taking a look" at the event, due to be held close to 25th anniversary of Rabin's death.
"Hey there - this event and my involvement was presented to my team differently from how it’s now being promoted," AOC tweeted on Friday afternoon. "Thanks for pointing it out. Taking a look into this now."
She had been responding to a comment from the journalist Alex Kane - a contributor to the Jewish currents magazine - who said that, for many Palestinians, Rabin would be "remembered his brutal rule suppressing Palestinian protest during the First Intifada, as someone who reportedly ordered the breaking of Palestinian bones".
Mr Kane said in a follow-up tweet a source told him the event was sold to AOC as focusing on Oslo and Rabin, and APN wanted her to speak on her congressional work on the issue. "It wasn't framed to her as a Rabin memorial. That's why she canceled," he added.
Palestinian activists heavily criticised AOC after her attendance at the event was announced.
Hey there - this event and my involvement was presented to my team differently from how it’s now being promoted.— Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (@AOC) September 25, 2020
Thanks for pointing it out. Taking a look into this now.
Ali Abunimah, a leading BDS activist and co-founder of The Electronic Intifada, a website covering Palestinian issues, said AOC's attendance was “just disgusting” and called Rabin an “unrepentant war criminal.”
“His legacy is one of violence and dispossession for Palestinians,” Adalah Justice Project, a Palestinian advocacy group wrote on Twitter, after news of AOC's withdrawal filtered through. “Thank you AOC for listening to the lived experience of the Palestinian people.”
Rabin, the 5th prime minister of Israel, was elected to office in 1992. He was the first PM to recognise the Palestine Liberation Organisation (PLO) as legitimate representative for the Palestinian people.
He formed a strong relationship with former PLO chairman Yasser Arafat, who died in 2004. Rabin was assassinated by Yigal Amir, an Israeli ultra-nationalist opposed to the Oslo Accords.