This news story has been updated to include Rudy Giuliani’s tweet on 12/24/2019
WASHINGTONÂ â€“ President Donald Trump’s personal lawyer Rudy GiulianiÂ claimedÂ that he is â€œmore of a Jewâ€ than George Soros, aÂ Jewish billionaire and Holocaust survivor, in comments reportedÂ Monday.
In an interview published by New York Magazine, Giuliani characterized Soros, a billionaire investor who is also a prominent donor to U.S. Democratic candidates and campaign committees, as someone who pulledÂ strings in Ukraine, including control over the since ousted U.S. ambassador MarieÂ Yovanovitch.Â Soros hasÂ repeatedly been the target ofÂ conspiracy theories.
â€œHe put all four ambassadors there. And heâ€™s employing the FBI agents,â€ Giuliani claimed.Â â€œDonâ€™t tell me Iâ€™m anti-Semitic if I oppose him.â€
â€œSoros is hardly a Jew. Iâ€™m more of a Jew than Soros is. I probably know more about â€” he doesnâ€™t go to church, he doesnâ€™t go to religion â€” synagogue. He doesnâ€™t belong to a synagogue, he doesnâ€™t support Israel, heâ€™s an enemy of Israel. Heâ€™s elected eight anarchist DAâ€™s in the United States. Heâ€™s a horrible human being,â€ GiulianiÂ continued.
NBC News asked Giuliani, who is a Roman Catholic,Â about his comments. He reportedly replied, “I’m more Jewish than half my friends.”
He doubled down on the comments on Tuesday, tweeting that those who oppose Soros-linked groups “are not only better Jews, but better people than him. Certainly not anti-Semitic.”
Jonathan Greenblatt, CEO of the Anti-Defamation League, replied to the Giuliani’s comments to New York Magazine via Twitter:Â “Opposing Soros isnâ€™t whatâ€™sÂ #antiSemitic. Saying that he controls ambassadors, employs FBI agents and isnâ€™t ‘Jewish enough’ to be demonized is.”
In a separate response, the American Jewish Committee, an international advocacy organization, tweeted that it is “offensive to deny anyone’s faith, and worse to endorse classically antisemitic conspiracy theories.”
During her testimony in front of lawmakers on Capitol Hill during the impeachment inquiry,Â Dr. Fiona Hill,Â a former National Security Council official, spoke on theÂ conspiracy theories surroundingÂ Soros, calling themÂ the “longest-running anti-Semitic trope that we have in history” and “the new Protocols of The Elders of Zion.”
“When I saw this happening to Ambassador Yovanovitch again, I was furious, because this is, again, just this whipping up of what is frankly an anti-Semitic conspiracy theory about George Soros to basically target nonpartisan career officials, and also some political appointees as well, because I just want to say this: This is not indiscriminate in its attacks,” she said.Â
The former New York City Mayor and former U.S. Attorney in New York’s Southern District hasÂ emerged to be a key player in the events that led to Trumpâ€™s impeachment. Giuliani alsoÂ has become the subject of a criminal investigation by federal prosecutors.Â
The investigation focuses in part on Giuliani’s work withÂ Lev Parnas and Igor Fruman.Â The Soviet-born business associates and legal clients soughtÂ Yovanovich’s ouster and helped Giuliani seek damaging information in Ukraine about the family of Joe Biden,Â the former U.S. vice president who is vying to challenge Trump in the 2020 presidential election.
Parnas and Fruman have been indicted in New York on federal criminal charges that they schemed to funnel hundreds of thousands of dollars in foreign funds to U.S. political candidates and campaign committees. Two others were also indicted in the case. All four have pleaded not guilty.
Referring to reports that he’s under investigation by the office he led during the 1980s, Giuliani said in the magazine interview: â€œIf they are (investigating me), theyâ€™re idiots. Then they really are a Trump-deranged bunch of silly New York liberals.â€
Contributing: Kevin McCoy