Posted on November 8, 2023

Many Puerto Ricans See Historic Parallels With Palestinians

Mariah Espada and Russell Contreras, Axios, November 7, 2023

Many of the Puerto Ricans organizing or marching in support of Palestinians and calling on Israel to stop military action in Gaza are doing it because of what they see as a familiar fight against “colonialism.”

Why it matters: The support illustrates the strong feelings many Puerto Ricans have about the island’s status as a U.S. territory, sources tell Axios. Some Puerto Ricans have long fought for independence from the U.S.

Details: Hundreds of Puerto Ricans on and off the island have organized and demonstrated in support of Palestinians since the war began after the Oct. 7 Hamas terrorist attack in Israel.

  • During a vigil for Palestinians at Puerto Rico’s Capitol on Saturday, protesters replaced the U.S. flag with a Palestinian one.
  • Puerto Rican flags have been seen during recent pro-Palestinian marches in Washington D.C. and New York.

Yes, but: There are Puerto Ricans who are throwing their full support behind Israel.

  • Rep. Ritchie Torres (D-N.Y.), who is of Puerto Rican descent, is a vocal supporter of Israel and calls himself a Zionist.
  • “Israel has every right to do to Hamas what the United States did to ISIS and al Qaeda,” Torres told Politico last month.

What they’re saying: A supporter of the Palestinians, the New York-raised Puerto Rican painter and photographer Danielle DeJesus, tells Axios, “We are colonized people and they are colonized people.”


  • Yanira Arias, a San Juan-based volunteer with the community group Jornada: Se Acabaron Las Promesas, says that, like Palestinians in Israel-occupied territories, Puerto Ricans “are also trying to continue to fight to be recognized as a nation and to protect their land.”