Congressman Ritchie Torres at the International Summit for a Future Beyond UNRWA

Congressman Ritchie Torres, US Congressman


Hello, I’m Congressman Ritchie Torres from NY-15 in the Bronx. 

Associate Justice Robert Jackson served as the chief prosecutor in the Nuremberg trials. In his opening statement he said, “the wrongs which we seek to condemn and punish are so calculated, so malignant, so devastating, that we cannot tolerate their being ignored because we cannot survive their being repeated.” 

Those same words should be said about October 7th. Israel cannot tolerate October 7th being ignored, because the Jewish state cannot survive it being repeated. For me, October 7th was a crime against humanity so barbaric that it cannot be ignored, it cannot go unpunished.

Hamas must be removed from power, and the perpetrators of October 7th must be brought to justice. 

Israel has a right to defend itself against Hamas in the aftermath of October 7th for the same reason the United States had a right to defend itself against Al Qaeda in the aftermath of 9/11. Self-defense is the right, and responsibility, and raison d’être of every nation-state, including the Jewish nation-state.

I want to commend Hillel Neuer for turning the light of truth upon the systemic antisemitism of UNRWA, and the larger Palestinian refugee industrial complex. Not only did your reporting and Israeli intelligence implicate several UNRWA employees in October 7th, but UNRWA itself has long been indoctrinating its students with anti-Israel and anti-Jewish hate. 

Let me be clear, hate will never bring peace, it will only bring more violence and more senseless suffering. We must stop perpetuating the ideologies and institutions that perpetuate hate. Pure and simple. We must be clear-eyed about the incestuous relationship between Hamas and UNRWA.

Hamas exists not to govern Palestinians in Gaza, but to murder Jews in Israel. UNRWA, long-funded by Western tax dollars, has long been governing Gaza at the behest of Hamas, so that Hamas–which sees governing as a mere distraction– could dedicate itself to the murder of Jews in Israel, the construction of terror tunnels in Gaza, and the militarization of its own civilian population and civilian infrastructure. 

That the international community would cut a deal with the devil is so scandalous and shocking in its stupidity that it leaves one speechless. But that deal with the devil, which has persisted for far too long, is finally collapsing under the weight of its own corruption, and rightly so.

Hamas must be removed from power, the perpetrators of October 7th must be brought to justice, and UNRWA, long a purveyor of anti-Israel, and anti-Jewish hate, must be replaced. 

It should be possible for the international community to provide urgently needed humanitarian aid to Palestinians in distress without inciting hate and violence against Israelis and Jews. 

A sustainable peace will require a demilitarization and de-hamasification of the Gaza Strip. It will require a deradicalization of Gazan civil society which for far too long has been miseducated by UNRWA and manipulated by its lies. 

A wise person once said, you do the same thing over and over again and expect a different of result. That is the definition of insanity. The time has come to end the insanity of an ideology that does not celebrate the life of Palestinians but instead celebrates the death of Jews. 

We must end the hate, and we must end the insanity.

UN Watch