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Oh, When The Sqaud Comes Marching In

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Rashida Tlaib, Ilhan Omar, and Ayanna Pressley | INSTAGRAM/AOC

The Israeli-Palestinian conflict is a conflict of cyclical violence. Regardless of who strikes the match, times too many tragedies occur. The most recent tragedy is the murder of Al-Jazeera Journalist Shireen Abu Akleh.  

Shireen Abu Akleh was an on-the-ground reporter for the Qatar-run news source. Her most recent and, in a turn of events, last coverage was on an Israeli army operation in Jenin. 

After times of heightened terror waged against Israel, Israel tends to strengthen its choice of defense, conducting raids in the Palestinian territories. As tensions are almost always a constant in the Israel-Palestine region, the consequences of the cycle of violence are a habitual-like occurrence. On May 11th, news broke, particularly on social media; Palestinian-American Journalist Shireen Abu Akleh was murdered. 

As on-site journalists find themselves caught between the crossfires of a war zone, they are risking their lives to report on the current events in our breathing moment of history. The risk of casualty is very likely. Yet, having one’s life taken on the job is nothing to bear without gravity. 

As the rapid use of weaponry divulges in the warzone. A reporter is in the midst of the action. There is the potential of a brisk and chaotic moment of fatality at an all-time high; one quick shot and a journalist is murdered. Untimely and tragic. 

The Israeli-Palestinian conflict persists and is in shockwaves of opinions and emotions overseas. Immediately after the news broke out about the murder, the finger-pointing began, especially on social media. Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennet expressed how Israel is more than willing to collaborate with the Palestinian Authority on a joint investigation, but the PA refused. 

As the Middle East conflict continually finds itself on Twitter with tremendous misinformation, there has been a shockwave of anti-Israel sentiment, emphasizing antisemitic rhetoric and blame. As we cannot stop antisemites from their choice to blame Israel for Shireen Abu Akleh’s, an issue occurs that is even more profound. The reason it has a higher sense of profoundness? Because elected government Representatives of the United States are solely blaming Israel. 

The United States State Department’s Ned Price and Jen Psaki, both notable United States Government figures known to speak on behalf of President Biden, released statements supporting a thorough investigation. You’d think any nation that wants to uphold the principles of democracy would encourage one.

But oh, when The Squad comes marching in. 

Four out of five of the Progressive-Whip Representatives shared their sentiments. Rep. Omar goes as far as to claim that Abu Akleh was killed “after making her presence as a journalist clearly known” to the Israeli military. At the moment, there is zero truth to this claim. Representative Cori Bush blames Israel and states, “We must demand an end to Israeli apartheid.” Calling Israel’s presence in the Middle East one of apartheid perfectly fits right into the International Holocaust Remembrance Association’s definition of antisemitism. Bush states Israel is an apartheid nation, blatantly equating it to a racist endeavor. 

Tlaib speaks upon the American funding of Israel and how Israel has the luxury of “zero accountability.” Yet, Bennet opened the door to an open joint investigation that Abbas vehemently shut down. The sheer amount of misinformation and ignorance shared is horrifying, as the full blaming of the Jewish people – through Israel.

Pressley contends that the Israel Defense Force shot Ms. Abu Akleh. However, she backtracks to say, “We must condemn it and ensure accountability and an independent investigation.” Her choice to then open a thorough investigation is counter-intuitive, as she already painted Israel to be at culpability.

The glossing over of Israel’s call for a joint investigation by The Squad members and their choice to ignore the US President’s top officials. They are refraining from placing any blame. Also, agreeing with Israel in an open investigation proves to the open eye that this is antisemitism, not mere criticism of the Israeli government. Their extra salt of sentiment adds more cuts to the wounds of antisemitism. 

Twitter is an ever-flowing stream of information and data sharing within seconds, multiplying constantly. Gen-Z populates Twitter and is getting closer to the voting age. 

Many Gen-Zers view the Progressive-Whip as a party that values humanitarian efforts, which some may – and can – argue is true. However, the mainstream Democratic party also esteems humanitarian efforts. Yet, it refrains at best not to foster the same antisemitic tang the Progressive-Whip does. 

So the question then becomes, is a humanitarian effort still a humanitarian effort at the expense of another group of people? Especially as there is no proof but finger-pointing. That is scapegoating, a historical element of prejudice and bias occurring within antisemitism. 

Twitter’s marketing page even highlights the power of Gen-Z, and much of Gen-Z prides itself on humanitarianism. But, as Gen-Zers are moving towards the Progressive bloc, antisemitism, primarily through anti-Zionism, is a part of the future mind, becoming a more worrisome thought for the Jewish Diaspora. Especially troublesome because hatred of Israel so too often overflows into the hatred of the Jewish people. 

It is frankly astounding that Gen-Z cares some much about the state of societies. There is a pretty great stance on rehabilitation and education on prison reform in America. But, in foreign affairs, particularly regarding the conflict, there is significant misguidance. Take a quick look at the anti-Iron Dome vote of the Progressives, choosing to vote and cry against a purely defensive system that saves all lives, not just the Jewish lives. 

As the events following Journalist Shireen Abu Akleh’s death develop, the cycle of violence and fragility of the conflict is high. The tensions will ultimately and woefully continue to rage. Violence is occurrent.

Voices in the Diaspora can aim for peace and mourn the life of Abu Akleh, as her murder is tragic. Still, pointing fingers will only lead to a fire in the Diaspora. The Squad and other Progressives must be wary of establishing a claim of facts where the truth is unknown, especially when one is a well-followed public figure. 

About the Author
Linzee Zalta holds her bachelor's degree in Sociology with a focus on Criminology.
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