Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez Vows to 'Learn and Evolve' on Israeli-Palestinian Conflict

'I come from the South Bronx, I come from a Puerto Rican background. And Middle Eastern politics is not exactly at my kitchen table every night,' Democrat Ocasio-Cortez says

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez takes a moment between interviews in New York, Wednesday, June 27, 2018
Seth Wenig/AP

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, the Democratic candidate from New York City, is standing by her promise to “learn and evolve” regarding Middle East affairs, choosing on Sunday not to comment on a position until speaking to activists. Some, however, are accusing her of backpedaling now three times.

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Ocasio-Cortez took a neutral stance on a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict in a live conversation hosted by left-wing American news program “Democracy Now!”.

When asked if she still advocated for a two-state solution, she replied: “Well, you know I think this is a conversation that I am engaging in with activists right now because this is huge.”

Without specifying the activists, Ocasio-Cortez added, “You know, especially over this weekend - and this is a conversation that I’m sitting down with lots of activists in this movement on and I’m looking forward to engaging this conversation.”

>> EXPLAINED Democrats now contend with wave of progressives who criticize Israel and threaten to split the party >>

This differs from the firm statements she made during an appearance on the PBS show “Firing Line” Friday, where she explained that she believes in Israel’s right to exist and a two-state solution.

She said that her tweet condemning the violence on the Gaza border as a “massacre” was written “as an activist,” admitting that she is not an expert on Middle East affairs.

“I come from the South Bronx, I come from a Puerto Rican background. And Middle Eastern politics is not exactly at my kitchen table every night,” she said. “But I also recognize that this is an intensely-important issue for people in my district, for Americans across the country. And I think at least what is important to communicate is that I am willing to listen.”

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