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Andrew Yang has come out in support of Israel's right to "defend" itself. Photo: Getty Images

Andrew Yang’s Israel-Palestine comments draw ire from AOC, other members of the Squad

The New York City Mayoral candidate recently came out in support of Israel, which has systematically colonized more and more Palestinian land over generations.

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In voicing his support for Israel, New York City mayoral candidate Andrew Yang has found himself caught in a political battle.

His comments, which he posted on Twitter on Monday, May 10, drew praise from several prominent conservatives, such as Sen. Ted Cruz, Meghan McCain, and Donald Trump Jr.

Airstrikes by both sides took the lives of at least 26 Palestinians and two Israelis in the past 48 hours. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said late Tuesday, May 11 that Hamas and the Islamic jihad will “pay a heavy price” for their actions towards Israeli citizens.

There are several misconceptions about what is truly going on, and the most common is that Palestine and Israel are in “conflict.”

The word conflict implies that there is equal footing, but what is happening in Palestine is a result of colonialism, land theft and ethnic cleansing.

As the nonprofit climate and social justice group, Slow Factory Foundation, outlined in a series of Instagram posts, Israel has been gradually stealing Palestinian land, destroying and ethnically cleansing entire villages, and violently displacing families to build illegal settlements on top, since 1948.

Instead of addressing the root causes of the violence, Yang proudly tweeted that New York City “will always stand with our brothers and sisters in Israel who face down terrorism and persevere.”

Stephen Miller, a former senior advisor to Donald Trump, praised Yang’s comments while taking aim at Rep. Ilhan Omar and other Democrats who have condemned Israel’s strikes.

Along with Omar, other Progressive “Squad” members, Rashida Tlaib and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez have expressed their support for Palestinians.

On Monday, May 10, Omar tweeted that “Israeli air strikes killing civilians in Gaza is an act of terrorism.”

She also commented on many of the statements that emerge from opposing viewpoints, that seek to justify this terrorism by claiming that Isreal has a right to defend itself.

Omar rebuked these arguments, writing that these same voices who assert the rights of Israel to protect itself and its safety, are “silent on whether Palestinians have those rights too.”

“Until we can defend the rights of Palestinians just as we do Israelis, we have no leg to stand on when it comes to justice or peace,” Omar tweeted.

Tlaib wrote of her experience as a young girl praying for the first time at the Al-Aqsa Mosque, one of the holiest sites for both Muslims and Jews, where clashes took place between Palestinian citizens and Israeli police.

“I see some who were silent as Palestinians were ripped from their homes and tear gassed in their holiest mosques now finding their voices - to stand with the Israeli gov as airstrikes leave Palestinian children dead. Where are your voices when Palestinians are under threat?” she wrote in a tweet.

And when Queens-based Muslim organizers asked Yang to refrain from attending a food drive event in honor of Eid, Ocasio-Cortez went directly after him, highlighting the hypocrisy.

“Utterly shameful for Yang to try to show up to an Eid event after sending out a chest-thumping statement of support for a strike killing 9 children, especially after his silence as Al-Aqsa was attacked,” she wrote.

On Saturday, May 9, AOC tweeted in solidarity with Palestinian citizens and the residents of Sheikh Jarrah in East Jerusalem. She condemned the violence and forceful exiling of people from their homes during the holy month of Ramadan.

“It is inhumane and the U.S. must show leadership in safeguarding the human rights of Palestinians,” she wrote.

In addition to the criticism Yang received from fellow Democratic leaders, he drew major backlash from countless Twitter users, resulting in the hashtag #YangSupportsGenocide trending on the social media platform.

“Andrew Yang stands in opposition to the people of Palestine. Don’t let this man become mayor of NYC,” one user wrote.

The star of Crazy Rich Asians, Henry Golding, author and screenwriter, Eddie Huang, and radio host Bishop Talbert Swan, also denounced Yang’s statement. 

“With all due respect, #FREEPALESTINE,” Huang tweeted in reply to Yang. 

The former 2020 presidential candidate has also faced outrage from NYC voters in-person. One woman confronted him, pressing him to defend his words, and Yang only responded with a vague statement on how the entire situation is “heartbreaking,” and that “we all want it to end.”

A second voter, who was filming Yang’s response, interrupted to ask if he would condemn Israel for their unjust actions, and an aide stepped in to attempt to end the exchange. 

The woman who first confronted Yang then said “we got the publicist over here. We got the guy coming in saying, ‘don’t say anything that’s going to f*ck up your campaign.’’ 

“That’s why you don’t have my vote, and I guarantee you, you don’t have the vote of a lot of other New Yorkers,” she said. 

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