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Eli Lake

The Pro-Israel Progressive Movement Notches a Win

Ritchie Torres will join Congress next year as a new kind of left-leaning Democrat.

A charter member of the anti-anti-Israel caucus.

A charter member of the anti-anti-Israel caucus.

Photographer: Richard Drew/AP Photo

Ritchie Torres, a gay Afro-Latino Democrat from the Bronx, will join Congress next year as a charter member of what might be called the anti-anti-Israel caucus.

Not only did Torres win without the help of the police union or the institutional left, but he also won despite opponents who tried to paint him as a pawn of the Jewish state. Whereas many progressive Democrats are wary of bucking their party’s left flank on Israel, Torres is not. “The progressive position is to promote a Jewish state and a Palestinian state, not to end the existence of Israel as a Jewish state,” he told me.