‘Truth,’ as Well as Israel, Is ‘Under Siege’ From Hamas, Declares NY Democratic Rep. Ritchie Torres in Solidarity Speech
Progressive Democratic Rep. Ritchie Torres of New York has delivered an impassioned defense of the State of Israel in the face of the escalating military threat from Hamas.
Speaking to a virtual UJA event on Wednesday night, the 33-year-old East Bronx native — whose 15th district includes the South Bronx and borders that of fellow Democrat and frequent Israel critic Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez — restated his “unwavering commitment to both the sovereignty and security of Israel as a Jewish State.”
Torres remarked that “what is under siege is not only Israel.”
He continued: “What is under siege is the truth itself. Circulating on social media is a vicious lie — a lie that deceptively reframes the terrorism of Hamas as self-defense and deceptively reframes the self-defense of Israel as terrorism. Increasingly, we seem to live in an Orwellian universe where the truth no longer matters.”
Torres — who has at times faced criticism from colleagues on the left of the Democratic Party because of his stalwart backing for Israel — then noted that “support for Israel, especially in moments like these, is not for the faint-hearted.”
“The moment I sent out a statement denouncing the terrorism of Hamas, I was swiftly demonized by extremists as a white supremacist, as a supporter of apartheid/ethnic cleansing/genocide,” Torres — the son of African-American and Puerto Rican parents — reported. “Although these comments cause great pain to my loved ones, I remain as determined as ever to speak out. And if I can speak out, then anyone can. And everyone must.”
Torres stressed: “We cannot allow ourselves to be silenced by an overbearing Twitter mob, dominated by the extremes of American politics. If we, in elected office, are not willing to say and do what is right, then we are unworthy of the office we hold.”