Jewish groups have hit out at Donald Trump’s personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani after the former New York mayor claimed he was “more of a Jew” than financier and Holocaust survivor George Soros.
Mr Giuliani, who is of Italian descent and was raised Catholic, told New York Magazine Mr Soros had employed FBI agents and instated ambassadors – playing into conspiracy theories about the level of the philanthropist’s control.
He said: “Don’t tell me I’m antisemitic if I oppose him. Soros is hardly a Jew.
“I’m more of a Jew than Soros is. I probably know more about – he doesn’t go to church…
“He doesn’t belong to a synagogue, he doesn’t support Israel, he’s an enemy of Israel.
“He’s elected eight anarchist district attorneys in the United States. He’s a horrible human being.”
After the holocaust Mr Soros went on to work in financial institutions and set up his own hedge funds, using his wealth towards human rights goals across the globe.
However his charitable work has left him open to antisemitic conspiracy theories about his role in international affairs – in particular claiming he controls media and governmental organisations.
Spokesperson for Mr Soros’ Open Society Foundation Laura Silber called the claims “contemptible” and claimed Mr Giuliani’s comments “reflect his toxic campaign of misinformation and falsehoods – aimed at distracting from the gravity of the charges facing the President”.
Meanwhile Jonathan Greenblatt of the Anti-defamation League wrote on the platform: “Opposing Soros isn’t what’s antisemitic. Saying that he controls ambassadors, employs FBI agents and isn’t ‘Jewish enough’ to be demonised is.”
In a statement issued to the Daily Beast, he added: “Mr. Giuliani’s assertion that George Soros controls US Ambassadors, employs FBI agents and is ‘hardly a Jew’ is baffling and offensive. Let’s be crystal clear: Mr. Giuliani is not the arbiter of who is Jewish and who is not, or what is anti-Semitic and what is not.
“For decades, George Soros’ philanthropy has been used as fodder for outsized antisemitic conspiracy theories insisting there exists Jewish control and manipulation of countries and global events. Mr Giuliani should apologise and retract his comments immediately, unless he seeks to dog whistle to hardcore antisemites and white supremacists who believe this garbage.”
However Mr Giuliani appeared to double down on his comments in a tweet as opposition began to swell – referencing the Boycott, Divestment and Sanction (BDS) movement that seeks to pressure Israel into withdrawing from territories captured in the 1967 war, including Gaza and the West Bank, which it now illegally occupies.
Mr Giuliani wrote: “Soros has funded many enemies to the state of Israel, including groups that support BDS, whose ultimate goal is to destroy the Jewish homeland.
“Those who oppose these groups are not only better Jews, but better people than him. Most certainly not antisemitic.”