AOC Defends Calling Israel’s Actions in Gaza an ‘Unfolding Genocide’


Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) on Sunday defended her use of the term “genocide” to describe the humanitarian crisis in Gaza, where hundreds of thousands of Palestineans could soon face famine, according to a recent U.N.-backed report.

Ocasio-Cortez was asked by CNN’s Jake Tapper about her comments made on the House floor Friday, in which she urged the U.S. to deny additional aid to Israel. Tapper noted the word genocide comes with specific connotations, highlighting that it is distinguished by an “intent to destroy” a group of people. 

“I believe we have crossed the threshold of intent,” Ocasio-Cortez said, mentioning that she knows using the word genocide is “extremely serious.”

The New York representative justified her use of the term by saying foreign governments, NGOs, and U.S. State Department officials who have also described it as such, and that the “forced famine” facing residents in Northern Gaza due to Israel’s blockade is evidence.

“If you want to know what an unfolding genocide looks like, open your eyes,” Ocasio-Cortez said Friday during her House floor speech. “It looks like the forced famine of 1.1 million innocents.”

Tapper pushed back, offering feedback he’d received from Israeli officials about the claim of genocide, who told him that there are hundreds of aid trucks entering Gaza every day, and that Israel would end its attack in Gaza if Hamas released the hostages and laid down their weapons.

“When we are talking about famine, the actions of Hamas should not be tied to whether a three-year-old can eat,” she responded.

Ocasio-Cortez had previously come under fire for declining to use the term “genocide” while describing the situation in Gaza, culminating with a group of activists heckling her while she was out and about with her partner. 

The use of the term “genocide” to describe Israel’s actions in Gaza has generated heated debate. The Anti-Defamation League (ADL), which has consistently supported pro-Israel perspectives, criticized Ocasio-Cortez’ use of the word Sunday.


“Genocide requires intent. And Israel has been patently clear with its objectives: To cripple Hamas terrorists & release the hostages,” the organization said on X, formerly Twitter. “@AOC’s accusation lacks proper factual or legal foundation. Such statements merely perpetuate false claims & foster hate.”

AOC quoted the ADL on the same platform and responded: “There is no defense for forced famine.”

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