Skip To Content
JEWISH. INDEPENDENT. NONPROFIT.
Fast Forward

Fringe extremists attacked Rep. Torres for supporting Israel. Rep. Santos mocked him for it.

The New York Republican’s Twitter post was surprising given that Santos expressed the same views as Torres during the campaign

Rep. George Santos, the freshman Republican from New York who is under investigation over a web of lies about his background, promoted a protester tied to a political movement started by an antisemitic conspiracy theorist to get back at one of his chief rivals in Congress. 

“Rough reception at home buddy!” Santos tweeted Thursday at Rep. Ritchie Torres, a Democrat from New York, highlighting a video of activists attacking Torres for supporting military aid to Israel. 

“I understand that you’re also an Israeli lobby plant,” Jose Vega, affiliated with the LaRouche movement, founded by Lyndon LaRouche,  a prominent conspiracy theorist who ran for U.S. president eight times, said in a confrontation with Torres during a town hall meeting in the Bronx on Tuesday evening. “How can you deny what’s happening to the Palestinians, but you can defend what’s going on in Ukraine?” 

Torres, a two-term progressive congressman, has been taken to task by the left and faced social media harassment for his strong defense of Israel in recent years. He touted his pro-Israel credentials as a theme of his congressional run in 2020.

Santos has admitted he forged his professional biography and lied about his education and work experience, but he has not come clean on his false claim about having Jewish grandparents. He is also under investigation over misconduct and alleged campaign finance violations.  

Torres recently co-sponsored a House resolution to expel Santos from Congress and has been one of the most vocal critics of Santos. Earlier this month, Torres accused Santos of invoking a trope about Jews and money in a Twitter exchange.

That Santos would deride Torres for speaking out in defense of Israel is surprising given that Santos expressed the same views during the campaign. 

In a two-page document that the Santos campaign shared last year with the American Israel Public Affairs Committee and other Jewish groups, Santos wrote that the U.S. “should continue investing in security assistance programs that maintain Israel’s qualitative military edge” and “continue funding annual security assistance to our ally Israel.” He also echoed Torres’ line of defense at the town hall that the Iron Dome “has saved countless civilian lives from relentless rocket attacks by Hamas and Islamic Jihad.” 

Santos and Torres did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

I hope you appreciated this article. Before you go, I’d like to ask you to please support the Forward’s award-winning, nonprofit journalism during this critical time.

Now more than ever, American Jews need independent news they can trust, with reporting driven by truth, not ideology. We serve you, not any ideological agenda.

At a time when other newsrooms are closing or cutting back, the Forward has removed its paywall and invested additional resources to report on the ground from Israel and around the U.S. on the impact of the war, rising antisemitism and the protests on college campuses.

Readers like you make it all possible. Support our work by becoming a Forward Member and connect with our journalism and your community.

Make a gift of any size and become a Forward member today. You’ll support our mission to tell the American Jewish story fully and fairly. 

— Rachel Fishman Feddersen, Publisher and CEO

Join our mission to tell the Jewish story fully and fairly.

Republish This Story

Please read before republishing

We’re happy to make this story available to republish for free, unless it originated with JTA, Haaretz or another publication (as indicated on the article) and as long as you follow our guidelines. You must credit the Forward, retain our pixel and preserve our canonical link in Google search.  See our full guidelines for more information, and this guide for detail about canonical URLs.

To republish, copy the HTML by clicking on the yellow button to the right; it includes our tracking pixel, all paragraph styles and hyperlinks, the author byline and credit to the Forward. It does not include images; to avoid copyright violations, you must add them manually, following our guidelines. Please email us at [email protected], subject line “republish,” with any questions or to let us know what stories you’re picking up.

We don't support Internet Explorer

Please use Chrome, Safari, Firefox, or Edge to view this site.