Socialist Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez claimed for the first time publicly on Sunday that she has Jewish ancestry while speaking during a Hanukkah event in her home borough of Queens.
After lighting Hanukkah candles in an event hosted by a left-wing Jewish group in her home borough of Queens, Ocasio-Cortez surprised the crowd by saying that members of her family were descendants of Jews who were forced to convert and flee Spain.
"[My family has] been doing a lot of family trees in the last couple of years," Ocasio-Cortez said. "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."
"The story goes that during the Spanish Inquisition, Jews were forced, on the exterior, to convert to Catholicism, but on the interior, they continued to be who they were, continued to practice their faith," Ocasio-Cortez said. "A strong group of people, who wanted to continue living life the way they wanted to live it, decided to get on a boat and leave Spain. Some of these people ended up in Puerto Rico."
"I think it all goes to show that our destinies are tied beyond our understanding, beyond even what we know," Ocasio-Cortez continued. "And as we learn more and more about the histories of others, our friends and neighbors, we start to uncover what we already know to be true: Your destiny is mine, and my destiny is yours."