Republican congressman says George Soros ‘turned on fellow Jews’

Louie Gohmert doubles down on claim in letter to Soros’s Open Society Foundations; Anti-Defamation League calls on lawmaker to retract his statements

Rep. Louie Gohmert of Texas speaks at an event on Capitol Hill honoring EFRAT, a group that discourages abortion, June 15, 2017. (Shmuel Lenchevsky)
Rep. Louie Gohmert of Texas speaks at an event on Capitol Hill honoring EFRAT, a group that discourages abortion, June 15, 2017. (Shmuel Lenchevsky)

Rep. Louie Gohmert on Thursday spouted off against George Soros, questioning whether the liberal financier is Jewish and suggesting that he betrayed Jews during the Holocaust.

Gohmert, a Texas Republican who is not Jewish, brought up Soros during an unrelated segment on the Fox Business Network. He and host Stuart Varney were discussing Google and George Orwell.

“It also reminds me of another George, George Soros, because Google is born in a free country and then they go over and oppress others, help oppress, in other countries,” Gohmert said. “George Soros is supposed to be Jewish, but you wouldn’t know it from the damage he’s inflicted on Israel and the fact that he turned on fellow Jews and helped take the property that they owned.”

Soros, a major supporter of liberal causes, has become a popular villain on the far right. Gohmert’s statements echo accusations from Soros’ critics of his funding for left-wing and human rights groups in Israel, and unfounded allegations that he collaborated with Nazis as a Jewish teen in Hungary during the Holocaust.

Soros, who was 13 in 1944, survived the Holocaust in the care of a Hungarian official whose job included taking inventory of confiscated Jewish-owned property.

Soros also served two days as a courier for the Judenrat until his father learned that his job was to deliver deportation notices to Jews. That account comes from a book written by Soros’ father, who also noted that Soros warned the recipients not to turn up to the designated address.

Much of the conspiracists’ case against Soros is based on an interview with “60 Minutes” in which the billionaire said he didn’t feel guilty for the sometimes cold-blooded passivity demanded of a child who hoped to survive genocide.

“To hold a young boy responsible for what was going on around him during the Holocaust as part of a larger effort to denigrate the man is repugnant,” Abraham Foxman, then the national director of the Anti-Defamation League, said in 2010, when it was talk show host Glenn Beck who was peddling the lie.

George Soros, founder and chairman of the Open Society Foundations, attends the annual meeting of the European Council On Foreign Relations, in Paris, France, May 29, 2018. (Francois Mori/AP)

The Anti-Defamation League called on Gohmert to retract his statement.

“Abhorrent that a sitting Congressman propagated debunked Soros conspiracies,” the group tweeted. “Rep. Gohmert should retract his remarks immediately. This rhetoric is common in extreme far-right circles & perpetuates anti-Semitism.”

Gohmert doubled down on his statement in a letter Thursday to Soros’ Open Society Foundations, writing “Any person with any sense of empathy for his fellow human beings would regret the part they played in assisting the Nazis.”

Varney did not challenge Gohmert on-air, but later issued a statement harshly criticizing the congressman, NBC reported.

“In the last hour, one of our guests, Congressman Louie Gohmert, for some reason, went out of his way to bring up George Soros and made unsubstantiated and false allegations against him,” Varney said. “I want to make clear those views are not shared by me, this program or anyone at Fox Business.”

Times of Israel staff contributed to this report.

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