Progressive Democrats lose another member over anti-Israel comments

 February 23, 2024

The Democratic Party's progressive wing is experiencing deepening divisions in the aftermath of the Oct. 7 attacks by Hamas in Israel, leading to the departure of some pro-Israel Democrats from significant caucuses.

Rep. Ritchie Torres of New York made headlines when he left the House Congressional Progressive Caucus, following Rep. Lois Frankel of Florida's departure in November of last year.

The decision

Torres's decision to exit the caucus underscores the rift within the Democratic Party, particularly concerning support for Israel.

His stance has put him at odds with certain Democratic colleagues, notably members of the far-left "Squad."

One notable clash occurred between Torres and Rep. Ilhan Omar of Minnesota in December. Omar suggested that Torres was indifferent to Palestinian casualties resulting from Israel's response to the Hamas attacks.

"Every casualty is a tragedy, every war is a humanitarian crisis, but we have to keep in mind the causes of the war," he told CNN host Dana Bash in an interview. "Israel did not start the war, the war was imposed upon Israel by the barbaric terrorism of Hamas, which butchered 1,400 Israelis, including babies," he said.

His past

Torres refuted these claims during an interview with CNN's Dana Bash, emphasizing the complexities of the conflict and condemning Hamas' terrorist actions, including the Oct. 7 attack in southern Israel.

Moreover, Torres has been vocal about what he perceives as a double standard against Israel, particularly in addressing Hamas' sexual violence against Israeli women.

He expressed dismay at the delayed response from organizations like U.N. Women in condemning such atrocities unequivocally.

Other problems

In addition to his departure from the Congressional Progressive Caucus, Torres drew attention for his vote to censure Rep. Rashida Tlaib of Michigan for her anti-Israel remarks, further highlighting the ideological rift within the Democratic Party.

These developments reflect broader tensions within the party regarding its stance on Israel and the Middle East conflict. While some Democrats advocate for a more critical approach towards Israel, others, like Torres, emphasize the need for unwavering support and condemnation of terrorist actions.

The departure of pro-Israel Democrats from influential caucuses underscores the challenges facing the party in navigating its foreign policy agenda and maintaining unity on key issues.

As divisions persist, the Democratic Party grapples with finding common ground on international matters while addressing concerns over Israel as it fights back after attacks by Hamas.

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