Congresswoman-elect Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez has claimed that she is descended from Sephardic Jews who were forcibly converted to Catholicism.
Ocasio-Cortez, who was elected last month to the US House of Representatives for New York State’s 14th congressional district, told supporters at a Hannukah party organized by the left-wing Jews for Racial and Economic Justice that she has Jewish heritage.
“A very, very long time ago – generations and generations ago – my family consisted of Sephardic Jews,” Ocasio-Cortez said.
“The story goes, during the Spanish Inquisition, so many people were forced to convert on the exterior to Catholicism, but on the interior continued to practice their faith and continued to be who they were, even though they were pressured to not be that on the outside world.”
Her family later fled to Puerto Rico to escape persecution, Ocasio-Cortez said.
Last Month, Ocasio-Cortez drew criticism after she compared Jewish Holocaust refugees to members of the so-called ‘migrant caravan’ from Central America seeking to enter the United States.
“Asking to be considered a refugee & applying for status isn’t a crime,” tweeted Ocasio-Cortez.
“It wasn’t for Jewish families fleeing Germany. It wasn’t for targeted families fleeing Rwanda.
It wasn’t for communities fleeing war-torn Syria. And it isn’t for those fleeing violence in Central America.”