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Santos says he’ll soon release evidence of his Jewish ancestry with genealogy tests

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George Santos, the scandal-plagued Republican congressman from New York, says DNA proof of his Jewish ancestry is imminent. Santos made the claim on the April 18 episode of the podcast, Macrodosing, which on its YouTube channel says it  “explores conspiracies, conundrums, and the dark corners of the deep web.” Other topics on this episode included secret Chinese police stations and the “Tiger King,” the star of a Netflix reality series who is now serving time in prison.

Santos told the hosts that he’s awaiting an additional test before releasing the results to the public. “I submitted four DNA tests. I got three back,” he said. “I am not sharing the results with you because we are also getting a genealogy trace back. We are waiting on that. I want to package it and just give it to everybody and be like, ‘Look, I wasn’t lying about that.’” 

Santos told a Hasidic magazine in March that recent genetic testing shows he has a significant percentage of Jewish ancestry.

Through a spokesperson, Santos said the Forward will “be the first to know” when it’s ready for release.  

Santos, who recently announced his reelection bid despite congressional and federal investigations into his finances and lies about his background, had repeatedly referred to his Jewish ancestry during last year’s campaign, calling himself a “Latino Jew” and “halachically Jewish.” He claimed his grandparents fled anti-Jewish persecution in Ukraine and then Belgium during World War II. But a Forward review of genealogy websites showed that both of his maternal grandparents were born in Brazil before the Nazis rose to power.

‘MOT’

In the interview, Santos claimed that his “mother’s family is all of Jewish background and heritage” but that he was raised Roman Catholic, a faith the family embraced after moving to Brazil. He also repeated comments he made in February that his grandparents falsified documents to show that they had been born in Brazil. “Here is World War II. It was very fucking complicated,” he said, “especially with people trying to survive and forging essentially everything in order to do so.” 

Santos reiterated that he referred to being “Jew-ish” during the campaign because “in Judaism, when you were born to a Jewish mother that makes you Jewish, you’re an MOT, member of the tribe,” he added. “That’s how you’ll be viewed. Although I do not practice the Jewish faith.” 

“You called yourself a ‘Latino Jew,’” one of the hosts pressed the Republican freshman. 

“Latino Jew, yeah,” he replied. “I am of a Jewish heritage. That’s a valid point. But I’m Catholic.” 

Jewish organizations, including the Republican Jewish Coalition, have denounced Santos for trying to pass himself off as Jewish.

Santos also said he has “plenty Jewish friends” in New York’s 3rd Congressional District, which includes a sizable Jewish population in Nassau County and parts of the borough of Queens, and goes to Shabbat dinners “more often than most.”  

“It’s an honor to be invited,” he said. “You’d never say no to Shabbat dinner.”

A January poll showed 94% of Jewish voters in the district wanted Santos to resign from Congress. Santos is expected to face a primary challenger next year and several Democrats, including two Jews, have already launched challenges for the seat.

Earlier in the podcast Santos said he considers Rep. Thomas Massie, a Republican from Kentucky, a friend in Congress. Massie voted against funding for Israel’s Iron Dome, opposed a bipartisan Holocaust education bill in 2020 and, recently, was the only Republican to vote against a resolution celebrating the 75th anniversary of the U.S.-Israel relationship and encouraging peace in the Middle East. “I love Thomas Massie,” he said. “He’s freaking — he’s amazing. He’s a great member of Congress.”

The post Santos says he’ll soon release evidence of his Jewish ancestry with genealogy tests appeared first on The Forward.