(JTA) — A Fox Business Network host apologized after a U.S. congressman questioned whether liberal financier George Soros is Jewish and suggested that he betrayed Jews during the Holocaust.
Rep. Louie Gohmert, R-Texas, who is not Jewish, made the accusations, which were off the topic, during an appearance Thursday on the Fox Business Network with Stuart Varney.
Varney did not challenge the accusations and steered the conversation back to the topic they were supposed to be discussing.
In the following broadcast hour, Varney issued an on-air apology, saying: “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 up unsubstantiated and false allegations against him. I want to make clear those views are not shared by me, this program or anyone at Fox Business.”
Gohmert said during the interview: “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.
In response to the interview, the National Council of Young Israel tweeted: “What @replouiegohmert said was based upon this interview w/ 60 Minutes. Soros in his own words clearly implied he helped confiscate Jewish property during holocaust while posing as a non Jew & saying he felt no guilt doing so.” The tweet included a link to the interview.
In the interview, Soros noted that he was just a child said he had no actual role in taking the property and therefore felt no guilt.
Many replies to the tweet suggested that the organization should be ashamed for smearing a child Holocaust survivor.