Status of DSA National Endorsement for Rep. Ocasio-Cortez

On Sunday, June 23rd, the DSA National Political Committee (NPC) voted to endorse Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (AOC) so long as she fulfills the following conditions: 

  • Publicly opposes all funding to Israel, including the Iron Dome
  • Participates regularly in the DSA Federal Socialists in Office Committee
  • Publicly opposes all criminalization of Anti-Zionism, such as bills advancing the IHRA definition which conflates criticism of Israel with anti-semitism
  • Publicly supports BDS (Boycott, Divest, and Sanction) to end Israeli settler-colonialism

This initial endorsement request was considered upon request of New York City DSA’s Steering Committee (NYC-DSA SC). Earlier this week, the NPC received a request from NYC-DSA SC to withdraw the endorsement because it took place after the New York Democratic Primary and they did not expect a conditional endorsement or feel it was strategic. Because we have not seen evidence of AOC meeting these conditions, and at the request of the NYC-DSA SC, the NPC is withdrawing our conditional endorsement of Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, although she will remain endorsed by our New York City chapter. 

In the last several months, thousands of DSA members provided input about the prospect of a national endorsement through town halls, meetings, and engaging in their chapters’ discussions, and AOC was invited to speak at a member forum. Many members have supported national endorsement while at the same time demanding that AOC demonstrate a higher level of commitment to Palestinian liberation, self-determination, and the immediate end to the heinous genocide in Gaza committed by Israel that aligns with DSA’s positions and expectations of socialists in office. 

We recognize that AOC has taken many courageous positions on Palestine such as co-sponsoring several House Resolutions (3103, 786,  496), naming Israel’s genocide as well as opposing House Resolution 894. However, members have raised their concerns regarding a number of her votes, including a vote in favor of H.Res.888, conflating opposition to Israel’s “right to exist” with antisemitism. AOC also co-signed a press release on April 20, 2024, that “support[s] strengthening the Iron Dome and other defense systems” 

Finally, AOC recently hosted a public panel with leaders from the Jewish Council for Public Affairs, lobbyists for the IHRA definition of antisemitism. On this panel, anti-Zionism and antisemitism were conflated and boycotting Zionist institutions was condemned. This sponsorship is a deep betrayal to all those who’ve risked their welfare to fight Israeli apartheid and genocide through political and direct action in recent months, and in decades past.

A national DSA endorsement comes with a serious commitment to the movement for Palestine and our collective socialist project. We must endorse candidates who enthusiastically seek a relationship with DSA, and the National Political Committee as the highest body of the organization between conventions is responsible for setting the criteria we establish for national endorsements. Chapters have a responsibility to make this clear to their endorsed candidates when applying for a national endorsement.  The NPC is committed to ensuring that all of our elected officials are unabashed in their support for Palestinian freedom. To build a socialist movement that’s capable of defeating capitalism, we must demand more from leaders in our movement. 

Correction: “She conflated anti-Zionism with antisemitism” was edited to read “On this panel, anti-Zionism and antisemitism were conflated” after the statement was posted.