“This town deserves a better class of criminal,” asserts Heath Ledger’s legendary Joker in The Dark Knight. I had similar feelings watching the current congressional class of anti-Semites freak out about AIPAC in the silliest ways possible. Don’t we deserve better?

First prize, as always, goes to Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, the leading light of the empty box of crayons calling themselves the Squad. AOC’s friend and fellow New York incitement specialist Jamaal Bowman is facing a tough Democratic primary. AIPAC-affiliated groups have spent $14 million to back Westchester County Executive George Latimer against Bowman. Ocasio-Cortez’s response to this statistic yesterday was to tweet this: “An unspoken secret in Congress is that much of the reflexive, blind, unconditional vote support for nearly any Israeli gov action isn’t from actual agreement. It’s from fear.”

Members of Congress, she said, “are terrified of this [spending]. Of AIPAC. So they don’t vote their conscience. They vote their fear.”

It’s true that AOC is a young person, but she is not young enough to explain away this level of ignorance. AIPAC only began donating to candidates in the 2022 cycle. Ocasio-Cortez was elected in 2018. She’d won twice before AIPAC’s political action committee even existed.

I don’t know how to pretend Ocasio-Cortez’s outburst is remotely intelligent discourse, so I won’t. I’ll just note that it’s important to remember that the highest-profile congressional criticism of the Jewish state is coming from unadorned bigots who cannot fake their way through a conversation on the issues.

AOC and her fellow travelers aren’t afraid; they’re entitled. They are throwing a fit because Jews are displaying the audacity to vote against, and make contributions to stymie, people who hate them. The Squad simply wants American Jews to pipe down and know their place.

This isn’t surprising. Since Zionism is essentially the expression of equal rights for Jews, anti-Zionists don’t believe the Jewish people have the same privileges to participate in the democratic process as others. Just yesterday I noted that Bowman referred to AIPAC as “the Zionist regime,” the words of someone expressing not fear but outgroup identification—there they are, he is saying, the others.

In response to AOC’s preposterously bratty shot at AIPAC, the organization responded, correctly, that polling definitively shows American voters to be pro-Israel and therefore members of Congress are responding to their constituents, not fear of Jewish money.

To that, Ocasio-Cortez shot back: “If AIPAC positions were so popular, they’d be free. Instead, they’re bought.” Ocasio-Cortez posted that last night, but I am writing this now because I have only just stopped laughing at her attempt at wit. Not with. At.

In fact, AIPAC’s positions are unquestionably popular on the whole—even AOC is capable of seeing that. But the overall point that campaign donations represent only unpopular opinions is ironic given that, as others pointed out to her, AOC is no fundraising lightweight. If her position is that she is bought and paid for, and therefore she assumes that to be true of others—well, that is quite the projection, but please leave the American Jewish community out of it.

At this point, Ocasio-Cortez essentially exists to live-tweet a 2024 adaptation of The Protocols of the Elders of Zion. It’s Henry Ford-ism for the TikTok generation. Her comments earned her unqualified praise from white nationalists such as Nick Fuentes, because anti-Semitism is less an ideology than it is a mind-virus. The similarities between Ocasio-Cortez and Fuentes are far more pronounced than are their differences. The political coalition the two share is not terribly popular on a national level. But its amplification by likeminded media and loudmouthed activists is degrading to American politics and society.

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