Rudy Giuliani, who was raised as a Roman Catholic, said in an interview with New York Magazine published Monday that he is “more of a Jew” than George Soros, a liberal billionaire and Holocaust survivor.
Soros was born into a Jewish family in Hungary during the Nazi occupation, surviving as a child by posing as a Christian godson of a government official. As a wealthy donor to Democratic causes and politicians, he is a frequent target of right-wing attacks, many of which have been characterized as anti-Semitic.
“Don’t tell me I’m anti-Semitic if I oppose him,” said Giuliani, President Donald Trump’s personal lawyer. “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 go to religion — synagogue. He doesn’t belong to a synagogue, he doesn’t support Israel, he’s an enemy of Israel.”
Giuliani continued, appearing to refer to campaign donations to district attorneys: “He’s elected eight anarchist DA’s in the United States. He’s a horrible human being.”
He also repeated an accusation that Marie L. Yovanovitch, the former Ukraine ambassador who testified during the impeachment hearings last month, was being “controlled” by Soros, a claim he has made before without offering evidence.
“He put all four ambassadors there,” he said. “And he’s employing the FBI agents.”
Conspiracy theories placing Soros at the center of global schemes were once confined to the fringes of the internet, but they have exploded into the mainstream in recent years. The investor has funded a variety of liberal causes and donated to many Democratic candidates, but he is often invoked, without evidence, as a shadowy villain behind all manner of other deeds.
Some, including the Anti-Defamation League, have detected anti-Semitism behind the conspiracy theories, saying they lean on old tropes of powerful Jews secretly pulling the strings of world events.
“Opposing Soros isn’t what’s #antiSemitic,” Jonathan Greenblatt, the chief executive of the organization, said on Twitter after Giuliani’s quotes were published. “Saying that he controls ambassadors, employs FBI agents and isn’t ‘Jewish enough’ to be demonized is.”
The American Jewish Committee, an advocacy organization, said on Twitter that Giuliani was entitled to his views but that “it’s offensive to deny anyone’s faith, and worse to endorse classically antisemitic conspiracy theories.”
During the impeachment hearings in November, Fiona Hill, a former White House national security aide, described the various attacks on Soros as part of “the longest-running anti-Semitic trope that we have in history” and likened them to “The Protocols of the Elders of Zion,” the fabricated early 20th century text meant to stir up anti-Semitism.
Giuliani, who did not respond to a message sent late Monday, has repeatedly spoken out against Soros, including retweeting a message that called him the Antichrist and said his assets should be frozen. Giuliani said on ABC’s “The Week” in September that Ukraine, not Russia, had interfered with U.S. elections and that “George Soros was behind it. George Soros’ company was funding it.” (The claim has been debunked.)
Trump has also echoed conspiracy theories involving Soros, saying he “wouldn’t be surprised” by a baseless accusation that Soros funded immigrant caravans in 2018.