Ocasio-Cortez Under Fire For Anti-Israel Christmas Message

By Victor Winston, updated on December 25, 2023

Amidst the ongoing conflict between Israel and Hamas, U.S. Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez has sparked significant controversy with her recent social media post. Her comments have drawn both criticism and support, highlighting the complexities of the Israel-Palestine issue.

In a social media post, Rep. Ocasio-Cortez likened the plight of the Palestinian people to the story of Jesus, igniting a wave of backlash for her omission of Hamas's role and the recent hostage situation.

Rep. Ocasio-Cortez's post drew parallels between the birth of Jesus in what is now modern-day Palestine and the current situation faced by Palestinians. She emphasized the narrative of Jesus being born under the threat of a government committing atrocities, a comparison she extended to the present-day Palestinians living under Israeli occupation.

Bethlehem's Christmas Cancellation Amidst Tensions

In an unprecedented move, the city of Bethlehem, revered as the birthplace of Jesus Christ, canceled its Christmas Eve celebrations. This decision, deeply symbolic and reflective of the current tensions, was made in solidarity with Gaza, highlighting the far-reaching impact of the Israel-Hamas conflict.

The cancellation was not just a matter of safety concerns; it was also a gesture of respect for those suffering in Gaza. The Bethlehem city council went further, removing festive decorations in honor of those who have lost their lives in the ongoing violence.

These developments have brought to the forefront the devastating human cost of the conflict. Reports indicate that over 11,000 Palestinians, including a significant number of children, have been casualties of the Israeli military response, according to figures cited by Hamas.

Ocasio-Cortez's Criticism of Israel and Hamas

It is noteworthy that Rep. Ocasio-Cortez has previously condemned Hamas attacks, including the significant attack on October 7, which resulted in over 1,200 Israeli fatalities and led to more than 200 people being taken hostage in Gaza. However, her recent statements have focused more on the Israeli response, which she and other Democrats have expressed concerns about.

In November, Ocasio-Cortez and 23 other Democrats penned a letter to President Biden, expressing their worries over Israel's actions following the Hamas attacks. This letter acknowledges the violence on both sides and calls for a more measured response.

Her recent post, however, did not mention Hamas, which has been a point of contention among critics. They argue that her narrative omits crucial aspects of the conflict, particularly the role of Hamas in the ongoing violence and the broader context of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

International Reactions to Ocasio-Cortez's Post

Theologian Jonathan Morris expressed his views on the matter to Fox News, criticizing the political nature of the Bethlehem city council's decision to cancel Christmas celebrations. He emphasized the sacredness of Christmas to Christians, especially those in Bethlehem, and lamented the overshadowing of religious significance by political statements.

A spokesperson for the Bethlehem city council told the Telegraph that the decision to forego celebrations was made in light of the serious situation in Gaza and the West Bank. They stated that celebrating while such grave events unfolded in these regions did not seem appropriate.

Ocasio-Cortez said:

"The entire story of Christmas and Christ himself is about standing with the poor and powerless, the marginalized and maligned, the refugees and immigrants, the outcast and misunderstood without exception."

Summarizing the ethos of her message, Rep. Ocasio-Cortez highlighted the core themes of the Christmas story, emphasizing empathy and support for the disadvantaged and oppressed. This perspective, while resonating with many, has also been the source of considerable controversy given the complex dynamics of the Israel-Palestine conflict.

Reflection on the Deepening Conflict

The ongoing conflict between Israel and Hamas has seen escalating violence and a mounting death toll. The situation has been further complicated by political and religious undertones, making it a highly sensitive and polarizing topic on the global stage.

The recent events, including the cancellation of Christmas celebrations in Bethlehem and the social media post by Rep. Ocasio-Cortez, have highlighted not only the conflict's human cost but also the varied perspectives on its causes and potential solutions.

  • Rep. Ocasio-Cortez likened the Palestinian situation to the story of Jesus in a controversial post.
  • Bethlehem canceled Christmas celebrations in solidarity with Gaza amidst Israel-Hamas violence.
  • Ocasio-Cortez was criticized for not mentioning Hamas in her post amid a broader context of the conflict.
  • Over 11,000 Palestinians, half of children, were reported killed in Israeli response, per Hamas cited numbers.
  • Theological and political figures have weighed in, reflecting the region's complex interplay of religion and politics.

About Victor Winston

Victor is a freelance writer and researcher who focuses on national politics, geopolitics, and economics.

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