Rep. Mike Lawler second NY lawmaker to have office vandalized for pro-Israel views

December 28, 2023

New York Post
By Josh Christenson

Hudson Valley GOP Rep. Mike Lawler became the second New York lawmaker this week to have his district office defaced in response to his support of Israel after Democratic South Bronx Rep. Ritchie Torres suffered a vandalism incident involving a “bloody” baby Jesus doll.

“Yesterday the front entrance of our district office building was defaced with messages attacking me for my support for Israel,” Lawler, 37, posted Thursday on X, sharing images of stickers on which were scrawled epithets including “CHILD MURDERER.”


“I will not be intimidated & I will not waver from supporting our greatest ally as they fight to stop Hamas’ terror once & for all & rescue their people,” the freshman congressman added.

A spokesman for the New York Republican said the vandals defaced his Pearl River office, one of two he maintains in the 17th Congressional District.

Lawler also told The Post that his office “continues to get emails, social media messages, voicemails that certainly take issue with my position on Israel” but he’s “not at the moment concerned about it escalating into physical violence.”

“But I think there’s no question you see a clear escalation in the tactics used by these pro-Hamas supporters and really just a vile antisemitism that has gone on across the country,” he added.

“You can see within — the Democratic Party is splintering, and especially younger people, people on college campuses, engaged in, you know, pro-Hamas tendencies.”

Polls show Democratic support for Israel has dwindled as the war between the Jewish state and Hamas nears the three-month anniversary of the Oct. 7 terror attacks that killed more than 1,200 people, mostly civilians, including at least 33 US citizens.

“As I’ve said repeatedly, I want the Palestinian people to be free. I want them to be free from their oppressors, which is Hamas, a terrorist organization that has been the governing body in Gaza for nearly two decades and has used the Palestinian people as human shields,” Lawler emphasized. “That many of these folks are not bothered by that is startling.”

The Israel Defense Forces have killed more than 21,000 Palestinians through bombings and a ground assault on the Gaza Strip, a densely populated urban region.

That death toll, which is reported by the Hamas-controlled Gaza Ministry of Health, does not differentiate between civilian and terrorist deaths, but a senior Israeli military official previously confirmed that roughly two civilians have been killed for every Hamas terrorist killed.

Reports have shown that Hamas operates and stocks weapons inside civilian infrastructure such as mosqueshospitals and schools — the last of which receives US funding through the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA).

“I’ve been pushing for new hearings on UNRWA, as well as to strip them of all US tax money,” Lawler said. “I do not believe UNRWA should receive one penny from the United States. There is no question that they have been misappropriating funds and that they have, in many respects, had a working relationship with Hamas.”

The House Foreign Affairs Committee is expected to launch an investigation into the UN organization in the coming weeks, The Post reported, as the lower chamber must also negotiate with the Senate on further military aid to Israel.

The House passed a standalone $14.3 billion assistance bill for Israel in November, but talks broke down between Senate Republicans and Democrats as they sought to include the aid in a larger $110 billion package with funding for Ukraine, Taiwan and US border security.

Lawler stressed that Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) shouldn’t delay the military aid funding any longer and that “the threat from Hamas must be eliminated.”

“Over the last 15 years, there have been eight cease-fires — each time violated by Hamas,” Lawler said. “Obviously, long term, I would like to see a two-state solution, but that can only happen if the Palestinians recognize Israel’s right to exist, and if they recognize the threat posed by Hamas.”

The congressman added that “pro-Hamas activists” had also “targeted and tried to interrupt” him and Torres during a recent event held at the 92nd Street Y, demanding both advocate for an immediate cease-fire from Israel.

“But as I said there and as I’ve said repeatedly, if we want a cease-fire, there’s a very simple way for a cease-fire to occur: Hamas must surrender,” Lawler noted. “The fact that none of these folks call for Hamas to surrender speaks volumes to where their sympathies lie.”

Torres, 35, said “anti-Israel extremists” had also vandalized his Bronx district office on Christmas Day, using blood-red paint to smear a doll representing Jesus Christ.

“Covered in ‘blood’ is a doll meant to symbolize Jesus, whom the vandals describe as a ‘Palestinian child messiah,’” Torres posted on X, sharing an image of the defacement.“

The escalation in intimidation and incitement against Members of Congress feels like it is heading in a dangerous direction. I, for one, will not be intimidated.”