The GOP’s “Jew-ish” Problem

January 3, 2023

We hope you had a happy and healthy new year, and look forward to working with you in 2023 to advance our shared values and defend democracy.

As the 118th Congress is sworn-in today, we’re appalled that one of the Republican members — part of their extremely narrow majority — is George Santos (NY-03). After fabricating his entire life story, including his so-called Jew-ish” identity and made up family connection to Holocaust survivors, Santos has been embraced and accepted by the House Republican Conference. Today, as Santos takes the oath of office as a member of the House — and has pledged to support Republican Leader McCarthy for Speaker — we are strongly condemning the GOP’s tolerance of his deception and demanding that Congress begin an immediate investigation into his lies and possible criminal activity.

By choosing to embrace a pathological liar as one of their own, the GOP has demonstrated there’s no limit to the extremism they’re willing to accept within the ranks of the Republican Conference.

During his campaign, George Santos falsely claimed Jewish lineage, fabricated a story about being the grandson of Holocaust survivors, and later said he considered himself to be ‘Jew-ish.’ After being elected to Congress, Santos attended an event alongside white nationalists and radical right-wing extremists, further demonstrating that he doesn’t understand – nor has he ever been a part of – the Jewish American community. Yet, Kevin McCarthy is willing to embrace him, just like the other extremist members of the Republican Conference.

Santos’s long record of deception and lies is an insult to all Jewish Americans, including the nearly ten percent of New York’s 3rd Congressional District who are legitimately Jewish. Just like every other aspect of his personal narrative, being ‘Jew-ish’ is an imaginary construct used for political expediency. It’s no more real than any lie on which Santos’s election to Congress was based. On this day of Santos’s swearing-in, we demand that the Republican Conference reject George Santos, investigate his lies, and remove him from office. The people of NY-03 deserve better than the GOP’s ‘Jew-ish’ problem.

Republican Leader Kevin McCarthy’s deafening silence regarding Santos’s incessant lies — as he tries to cobble together enough votes to gain the speakership — speaks volumes about his and the GOP’s morally bankrupt leadership, and it’s an insult to all Jewish Americans.

Unfortunately, George Santos is a symptom of the GOP’s insanity, not an aberration. Time and time again, we have seen Republicans at the highest levels of GOP leadership cozy up to extremists, antisemites, and white nationalists. From Donald Trump to Kevin McCarthy to George Santos, this is a party-wide problem, and we’re doing what we can to stop it. Join JDCA today to make an impact on our critical work opposing Republican extremism and antisemitism as we enter the new year.

Thank you for your continued support and partnership.


Halie Soifer
CEO, Jewish Democratic Council of America