New York Democratic Socialist Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez once appeared on a podcast hosted by a progressive Puerto Rican activist who said Jews “should get the f--- out of Palestine.”
Ocasio-Cortez, who rose to prominence after defeating top Democrat Joe Crowley in the party’s U.S. House primary in June, got embroiled in a controversy back in July over her views on the Israel-Palestine conflict.
But before Ocasio-Cortez’s stunning victory against Crowley, which thrust her into the national spotlight, she went on a Spanish-language podcast in May hosted by Rafael Tirado Rivera, a progressive activist in Puerto Rico, who once expressed anti-Semitic views, including that Jewish people should vacate the Middle East, Fox News can reveal.
“I stand behind Helen Thomas' comments on Jews. They should get the f--- out of Palestine,” Rivera wrote in a tweet in 2010.
The activist, who is also a blogger for Puerto Rico’s largest newspaper El Nuevo Día, referred to the disgraced former White House reporter, Helen Thomas, who went on an anti-Semitic rant the same year.
She was caught on camera telling Israelis to “get out of Palestine” and “go home” to Germany, Poland or the United States. Her comments were deemed “outrageous, offensive and inappropriate” by the Anti-Defamation League.
Rivera repeated the point in another tweet, saying that “Nobody in Israel’s politics is going to even suggest that. But [Jews] should leave!” he wrote.
Among his other guests on the podcast was Julia Salazar, a Democratic Socialist who recently won a New York State Senate Democratic primary, but whose campaign was plagued by allegations that she faked her Jewish and immigrant identity. She’s also a supporter of the boycott movement against Israel and was once denied entry into the country.
The Ocasio-Cortez campaign didn’t respond to Fox News’ repeated request for a comment and questions whether she was aware of Rivera’s views.
When asked whether Ocasio-Cortez knew his political views before coming on the podcast, Rivera said, "I'm not sure. Maybe not."
The podcast host said he believes “the same thing that I believed 10 years ago,” but offered a different interpretation of the tweets. “Israel should cease the occupation of Palestine. I believe in a two state solution to the Israeli–Palestinian conflict,” he said.
"Maybe I should have used a different set of words. Instead of the ‘Jews’ I should have said, Israel."
“Maybe I should have used a different set of words,” he added, noting that during his podcasts with Ocasio-Cortez or Salazar the issue of Israel wasn’t discussed. “Instead of the ‘Jews’ I should have said, Israel.”
The appearance on the podcast raises concerns about Ocasio-Cortez views towards Israel and the Jewish people, an issue she tried to avoid talking about and changed her talking points depending on the audience.
She initially raised eyebrows during an appearance on PBS’s "Firing Line" in July after struggling to coherently her explanation her remarks on social media in which she called the Israeli military action confronting protesters trying to breach the Israel-Gaza Strip a “massacre” and that “no state or entity is absolved of mass shootings of protesters.”
She later asserted, though shortly backtracked in an audience of progressives, that she’s a “firm believer in finding a two-state solution on this issue” but noted that she’s “not the expert at geopolitics on this issue.”
“This is a conversation I’m sitting down with lots of activists in this movement on and I’m looking forward to engaging in this conversation,” she responded to the question whether she supports a two-state solution during a town hall-style sit-down with Democracy Now, a far-left website.