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November 4, 2020 3:24 pm

Pro-Israel Progressive Ritchie Torres Elected to Congress From District Next to AOC’s

avatar by Benjamin Kerstein

New York Congressman-elect Ritchie Torres. Photo: Reuters / Brendan McDermid.

Strongly pro-Israel progressive Ritchie Torres of the Bronx will be among the new members of Congress this January, following his electoral victory on Tuesday.

The 32-year-old New York City Council member easily won his race in the 15th Congressional District, making him the first openly-gay black or Latino man to be elected to Congress.

Torres’ district is located next to that represented by Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, whose record on Israel-related issues is generally viewed as hostile, but Torres is very much a supporter of the Jewish state.

In an interview with Jewish Insider last year, Torres said he was pro-Israel “not despite my progressive values, but because of my progressive values.”

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Addressing the issue of the BDS movement, Torres said, “The attempt to delegitimize Israel, the attempt to question Israel’s right to exist or right to defend itself, that, to me, crosses the line to destructive criticism.”

“I consider anti-Zionism a form of antisemitism, and I am not going to give consideration to antisemitic voices, voices that are dedicated to delegitimizing Israel as a Jewish state,” he added.

“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,” Torres asserted.

Amanda Berman, head of the progressive Zionist group Zioness, told The Algemeiner on Wednesday that Torres was “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.”

“I hope and truly believe that Representative Torres will be a new face for the progressive movement — one uniquely situated to bring real, tangible progress for all our communities, and one that welcomes and embraces Jews in this critical work,” she said.

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