Incoming Congresswoman Alexandra Ocasio-Cortez, who recently revealed that she has Jewish ancestry, will not join other freshman members of congress on an AIPAC-affiliated trip to Israel later this year, Jewish Insider reported on Wednesday.
A spokesperson for the New York Democrat did not respond to Jewish Insider requests for comment on whether Ocasio-Cortez will join a J Street-sponsored trip or an alternative delegation to the West Bank, organized by fellow Democratic Congresswoman Rashida Tlaib.
After lighting Hanukkah candles in an event hosted by a left-wing Jewish group in her home borough of Queens on Sunday, Ocasio-Cortez surprised the crowd by saying members of her family were descendants of Jews who were forced to convert and flee Spain during the Inquisition in the 15th century.
First reported by Haaretz, Ocasio-Cortez said, "[My family has] been doing a lot of family trees in the last couple of years. And one of the things a lot of people don’t know about Puerto Rico, and something we discovered ourselves, is that a long time ago, many generations ago, my family consisted of Sephardic Jews."
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She later told Haaretz this was the first time she has spoken publicly about her family's Jewish history. The revelation sparked a social media storm.
During her primary campaign, Ocasio-Cortez spoke out strongly against the Israeli army’s actions on the Gaza border on May 14, tweeting, “This is a massacre. I hope my peers have the moral courage to call it such. No state or entity is absolved of mass shootings of protesters. There is no justification. Palestinian people deserve basic human dignity, as anyone else. Democrats can’t be silent about this anymore.”
After surprisingly defeating a longtime incumbent in a Democratic primary, Ocasio-Cortez became the youngest woman elected to Congress. She is among a number of young progressive women recently elected to the U.S Congress and considered part of a new generation in the Democratic Party. She will represent New York's 14th Congressional District, which covers Queens and parts of the Bronx.