Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez Claims Jewish Ancestry at Hanukkah Party

alexandria-ocasio-cortez
Mario Tama/Getty Images/AFP

Representative-elect Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) claimed Sunday night at a Hanukkah party in New York that she has Jewish ancestry.

“A very, very long time ago, generations and generations ago, my family consisted of Sephardic Jews … During the Spanish Inquisition, so many people were forced to convert on the exterior to Catholicism, but on the interior continued to practice their faith … some of those people landed in Puerto Rico,” she told a left-wing group, Jews For Racial And Economic Justice.

During the Inquisition, Spanish Jews were expelled or forced to convert to Christianity, on pain of death. Some converted but quietly maintained their Jewish faith, often seeking refuge in the New World, where they were less likely to be exposed and punished.

The Jewish Virtual Library notes (original links):

Though officially forbidden from settling in Puerto Rico through much of its history, Jews managed to settle on the Island as secret Jews, also called marranos, conversos, or Crypto-Jews.  Jewish immigration to Puerto Rico began in the 15th century, though the community could not flourish as Judaism was prohibited by the Spanish Inquisition and the first synagogue was not established until a few hundred years later.

In recent years, many people in the former Spanish New World — including the American Southwest — have discovered that they have Jewish ancestry. Often, their families maintained Jewish customs across the centuries, such as lighting candles on Friday night, which marks the start of the Jewish Sabbath.

Ocasio-Cortez did not mention that her family had practiced such traditions, nor did she describe her family history with any degree of specificity.

Later, on Twitter, she appeared to suggest that she may simply have shared Jewish ancestry with other Puerto Ricans in general, whom she described as a mix of cultures.

 

Unlike Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), whose dubious claims of Native American ancestry were subject to DNA testing, Ocasio-Cortez’s Jewish claims would be difficult to prove, or to disprove, without a detailed family history.

Oddly, the “democratic socialist” from New York had never mentioned her Jewish ancestry before — at least not in public — even though it might have been politically helpful for her to do so.

(Another self-proclaimed “democratic socialist” from New York City, Julia Salazar, allegedly lied about her Jewish ancestry in running for a New York State Senate seat; she won anyway).

Ocasio-Cortez has expressed anti-Israel views, supporting protests on the Gaza border in May that were organized by the Palestinian terror group Hamas, and calling for an end to the “occupation of Palestine” without specifying what she meant.

She is also closely aligned with the “Women’s March,” which has been accused of antisemitism for its links with Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan.

Joel B. Pollak is Senior Editor-at-Large at Breitbart News. He is a winner of the 2018 Robert Novak Journalism Alumni Fellowship. He is also the co-author of How Trump Won: The Inside Story of a Revolution, which is available from Regnery. Follow him on Twitter at @joelpollak.

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