Pro-Israel Progressive Congressman-Elect Ritchie Torres Says He Won’t Join Anti-Zionist ‘Squad’
An outspoken pro-Israel incoming progressive congressman will not be joining the left-wing “Squad” in the US Congress, partly due to their anti-Israel stances, he announced over the weekend.
Ritchie Torres, who won his race in the South Bronx in the November elections, and is set to become the first openly gay Black or Latino man to serve in Congress, has been noted for combining strong progressive politics with support for Israel and Zionism.
In an interview published Saturday with the New York Post he 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’ connection to Israel dates back to two visits he made in 2015 and 2017, of which he said, “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 pledged.
Amanda Berman, head of the progressive Zionist group Zioness, told The Algemeiner following Torres’ election that he 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.”
The “Squad” currently includes Representatives Ilhan Omar and Rashida Tlaib, both of whom have made antisemitic statements, support the anti-Israel BDS movement, and encourage the elimination of Israel at the nation state of the Jewish people. The group’s de facto leader, Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, has regularly defended Omar and Tlaib in the wake of their offensive statements.