New York Democrat leaves Congressional Progressive Caucus after splitting with members over Israel

New York Congressman Ritchie Torres (D-N.Y.) has left the Congressional Progressive Caucus (CPC) after splitting with members over their stance on the Israel-Hamas war. 

Torres, a staunch supporter of Israel, has left the CPC, a source familiar with the matter confirmed to The Hill on Tuesday. The New York congressman is not listed on the caucus’s website. 

Torres has abstained from calling for a cease-fire in the war, a policy that some of the caucus’s members support. His departure is another shakeup in the caucus after Rep. Lois Frankel (D-Fla.) left the CPC in November, her office confirmed to The Hill. 

The Israel-Hamas conflict has caused some divisions in the Democratic Party. The war, now in its fourth month, has put some members of the Democratic Party at odds with President Biden and other pro-Israel Congress members of the party. Some of the more progressive members of the party, on Capitol Hill, have been frustrated with the Biden administration’s stance on the war.  

Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D-Mich.), a Squad member and one of the vice-chairs of the caucus, has been critical of Biden and his administration’s approach to the Israel-Hamas war. Tlaib, the only Palestinian-American in Congress, was censured in November by the lower chamber over her criticism of Israel. On Saturday, she told Michigan residents to vote “uncommitted” in the upcoming Feb. 27 primary instead of supporting Biden. 

Some members of the Squad, who are also in CPC, are facing primary challenges over their vocal criticism of the way Israel is waging war in Gaza following the Oct. 7 terrorist attack by the Palestinian militant group Hamas.

Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D-Wash.), the caucus’s chair, has also been scrutinized over her comments about Israel. In July, she called Israel a “racist state,” but later apologized for her remarks. 

Torres’s office and CPC’s spokesperson did not respond to requests for comment.

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