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Pro-Israel Progressive Democrat Ritchie Torres, won't join AOC's 'Squad'

i24NEWS

clock 3 min read

Ritchie Torres (D-NY) arrives at the Hyatt Regency hotel on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC, on November 12, 2020.
SARAH SILBIGER / GETTY IMAGES NORTH AMERICA / GETTY IMAGES VIA AFPRitchie Torres (D-NY) arrives at the Hyatt Regency hotel on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC, on November 12, 2020.

“The act of singling out Israel as BDS has done is the definition of discrimination"

Newly elected congressman Ritchie Torres is not your average progressive Democrat. Representing the South Bronx, Torres indicated in a recent interview with the New York Post that he would not be likely to link up with his fellow Bronx representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and the rest of the so-called 'Squad.'

Torres cited his strong support for the State of Israel as one of the key divisions between himself and members of the Squad, at least two of whom - Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.) and Rashida Tlaib (D-Mich.) - openly support the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement and have been criticized for making antisemitic comments in recent past public statements.

“I came to observe that there are activists who have a visceral hatred for Israel as though it were the root of all evil,” Torres, 32, told The Post. “The act of singling out Israel as BDS [the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement] has done is the definition of discrimination.”

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Having served on New York City Council since 2013, Torres remarked that his two trips to Israel in 2015 and 2017 deeply affected him. He met with families from Sderot, which gave him an appreciation of what it was like to live in the Gaza envelope under the constant threat of rocket fire.

He says that he supports a two-state solution with "dignity for Israelis and Palestinians."

Torres has been particularly combative with regard to the Democratic Socialists of America (DSA), which backs candidates such as Ocasio-Cortez.

When DSA co-chair Sumathy Kumar refused to say whether Israel had a right to exist, Torres tweeted that such a non-response was "insane."

Although the freshman congressman backed Bernie Sanders in 2016, the courtesy was not returned after the septuagenarian socialist preferred Torres' Democratic Socialist primary opponent Samelys López; whom AOC also supported.

Torres bristles at mindless DSA-promoted slogans such as "Defund the Police" labeling it "arbitrary and irresponsible." One DSA lawmaker remarked that "we don't like him and he does not like us."

He was duly appointed, as he had hoped, to the powerful House Committee on Financial Services, which has jurisdiction over public housing, an issue which he asserted would be one of his priorities. 

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