(JTA) — Rep. Louie Gohmert 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 Thursday 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.
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.”