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New York City progressive politician Ritchie Torres is not joining up with the Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez-led Squad when he gets to Congress next month because, he says, he supports the state of Israel.
Torres is the Democrat congressman-elect from the 15th congressional district in the south Bronx who has visited the country to see for himself rather than accept propaganda. “The notion that you cannot be both progressive and pro-Israel is a vicious lie, because I am the embodiment of a pro-Israel progressive,” he asserted last year in an interview.
“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 [the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement] has done is the definition of discrimination,” Torres, 32, a former York City Councilmember, told the New York Post.
Soon-to-be U.S. Rep. Torres is no fan of the defund the police movement here at home either
Ritchie Torres defeated a Bernie Sanders-AOC-endorsed Democratic Socialist and three others in the primary in the deep blue, poverty-stricken district, which was tantamount to a win in the general election, which he later won overwhelmingly. Despite some of their differences, AOC congratulated Torres on his victory and harbors no hard feelings toward him as they are about to become colleagues.
“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,” Torres recalled about his eye-opening experience in Israel. “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.”
Many Democrats, particularly AOC plus three and those far-left activists who support their socialist ideology, have increasingly become hostile to the Jewish state, opposition which often appears to some to be a proxy for anti-Semitism. This despite that the facts on the ground indicate that Israel — the home of many high-tech startups among other facets of its diverse economy — is the only functioning multi-cultural democracy in the Middle East.
Regardless of background or faith, including those who are secular, its citizens enjoy a full panoply of civil rights protections. Torres has described himself as “instinctive pro-Israel–because it has democratic values and institutions.”
The congressman-elect has criticized the defund-the-police movement as “arbitrary and irresponsible.” Having grown up in the projects, Torres says his legislative priority is to obtain more federal funding for public housing in America.
Separately in the Post, Op-Ed editor Sohrab Ahmari explained that with Trump-brokered peace deals — known as the Abraham Accords — between Israel and the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, and Sudan have shown that the attempt by the BDS movement — which unfortunately has gained currency at the United Nations and in the European Union — to isolate Israel in terms of international commerce has generally failed.
“To be clear, I’m not suggesting BDS will disappear tomorrow. The wider Arab world is making peace with Israel, but Palestinian leaders aren’t about to give up what is admittedly a very nice grift: billions of dollars in international aid in exchange for refusing to accept reality. BDS helps lend a veneer of global credibility to their rejectionism…
“But the fact remains that the Abraham Accords have revealed a silly side to the BDS movement…BDS looks like a boutique cause for gentry leftists, the kind who put their pronouns in their Twitter bios. The real world — and the Middle East — have just moved on.”
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