Newly elected congressman and self-proclaimed “pro-Israel progressive” Ritchie Torres, a South Bronx Democrat, said he will not be joining the radical left-wing “Squad,” comprised of Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Ilhan Omar, Ayanna Pressley and Rashida Tlaib, citing the group’s anti-Israel views.
The first openly gay Black or Latino man to serve in Congress, Afro-Latino Torres, 32, wields an unusual combination of robust progressive views with strong support for Israel and Zionism.
Members of the so-called “Squad” have frequently singled out Israel for harsh criticisms and are vocal supporters of the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement.
In an interview published in the New York Post Saturday Torres said, “I came to observe that there are activists who have a visceral hatred for Israel as though it were the root of all evil.”
“The act of singling out Israel as BDS has done is the definition of discrimination,” he added.
Torres highlighted two visits to Israel in 2015 and 2017. “I remember meeting a family in Sderot. And I had no concept of what it was like to live in a city that lives under the fear of rocket fire.”
“I’m going to make the case that the progressive position is a two-state solution and promoting dignity for both the Israelis and the Palestinians,” he said.
In the city of New York, Torres also laid into the Democratic Socialists of America (DSA), the influential group that backed Ocasio-Cortez, for not affirming Israel’s right to exist, calling it “insane.”
The leadership of the DSA declines to affirm that the state of Israel should exist. 'Insane' is the word that comes to mind. https://t.co/P8bYRI49A8
— Ritchie Torres (@RitchieTorres) August 6, 2020
Shortly after Torres’ election, head of the progressive Zionist group Zioness Amanda Berman told The Algemeiner that Torres is “an unapologetic ally of the Jewish community, with a visceral and personal understanding of what Zionism means to us, why ‘anti-Zionism’ is so nefarious, and what makes it, on almost every occasion, antisemitic.”
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