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Ocasio-Cortez Tweets About Jewish Roots ‘Before Everyone Jumps On Me’

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez fired off a few tweets Monday morning about her statements at a Hanukkah party that her family has Jewish heritage.

She noted that many in Puerto Rico are descended from a mix of different ethnicities, including Spanish colonizers, African slaves and indigenous peoples.

“We are all of these things and something else all at once – we are Boricua,” Ocasio-Cortez wrote, using the designation for Puerto Rican popular among people who hail from the country.

At a menorah lighting hosted by Jews For Racial and Economic Justice in New York Sunday evening, Ocasio-Cortez said that she descends from crypto-Jews, or conversos — Jews who were forced to convert to Catholicism by the Spanish monarchy, but continued to practice Jewish customs in private.

“Generations and generations ago, my family consisted of Sephardic Jews,” Ocasio-Cortez said Sunday. “So many people practiced Catholism on the exterior but on the interior they continued to practice (Judaism).”

Ari Feldman is a staff writer at the Forward. Contact him at [email protected] or follow him on Twitter @aefeldman

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