Ocasio-Cortez blasts Biden over Israel as tensions escalate among Democrats
New York Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. (Photo: Ståle Grut / NRKbeta.)

America's Democratic Party is facing a growing rift over Israel as fighting intensifies in the Middle East.

"While the Biden administration is handling the growing conflict as a highly sensitive diplomatic challenge involving a longstanding ally, the ascendant left views it as a searing racial justice issue that is deeply intertwined with the politics of the United States," The New York Times reported Saturday. "With President Biden in the White House, traditional U.S. support for Israel is hardly in question from a policy perspective; he has made his support for the country clear throughout his nearly 50 years in public life. Still, the terms of the debate are shifting in Democratic circles."

"On Thursday, a group of leading progressive members of Congress offered a rare break from party unity, giving fiery speeches on the House floor that accused Mr. Biden of ignoring the plight of Palestinians and 'taking the side of the occupation,'" the newspaper reported. "Less than 24 hours later, on Friday, nearly 150 prominent liberal advocacy organizations issued a joint statement calling for 'solidarity with the Palestinian residents' and condemning 'Israeli state violence' and 'supremacy' in Jerusalem. The statement was signed not just by groups focused on Middle Eastern and Jewish issues but by groups dedicated to causes like climate change, immigration, feminism and racial justice — a sign that for the party's liberal faction, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict has moved far beyond the realm of foreign policy."

That dynamic was on full display after Israeli Defense Forces flattened a building housing Al Jazeera and Associated Press journalists.

"If the Biden admin can't stand up to an ally, who can it stand up to?" Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez asked. "How can they credibly claim to stand for human rights?"