The lies of Congressman-elect George Santos are catching up with him.
He will probably face no consequences from his Republican colleagues, though local and federal prosecutors are reportedly starting investigations. His vote in the tightly contested US House of Representatives is too important to Republicans to push against him in a meaningful way. The brutal blow to his integrity, however, may well hinder his re-election chances with voters in 2024.
Santos, who is preparing to represent a congressional district in the Long Island suburbs and a small part of Queens, New York, has acknowledged “embellishing” his work and college record. He did not, in fact, graduate at all from an institution of higher education or work for Goldman Sachs or Citigroup.
Even the Republican Jewish Coalition – an organization that has indulged and sidestepped Donald Trump’s anti-Semitism for years – is upset following Santos’ assertion this week that he never claimed to be Jewish, but only “Jew-ish.”“I never claimed to be Jewish,” Santos lied to The New York Post. “I am Catholic. Because I learned my maternal family had a Jewish background I said I was ‘Jew-ish.’”
The Electronic Intifada has inquired with the Santos campaign as to whether his four claimed trips to Israel actually occurred or not. There has been no response.
Santos is on the record as a fierce advocate for a strong US-Israel alliance and as a supporter of the apartheid-promoting Benjamin Netanyahu – or “David Netanyahu,” as he called him in a speech to the Republican Jewish Coalition.
Following his victory in November, Santos stated in an interview with JNS, a publication focusing on Israel and the Jewish community, that “we’re going to fight to debunk and end BDS,” the boycott, divestment and sanctions movement for Palestinian freedom and equal rights.
In a genocidal statement that received no pushback from JNS, he said of Iran: “We’re going to keep pushing back against them until there’s nothing left of Iran.”
In May 2021 he posted on Twitter, “Jerusalem is Israeli territory, end of discussion!”
This claim came in the aftermath of Israeli occupation forces’ attacks on worshippers at the al-Aqsa mosque compound in Jerusalem and in the midst of deadly Israeli attacks on Palestinians in the besieged Gaza Strip.Some 260 Palestinians were killed in the May 2021 onslaught by the Israeli military, at least half of them civilians. Human Rights Watch reported that it “investigated three Israeli strikes that killed 62 Palestinian civilians where there were no evident military targets in the vicinity.”
Unsatisfied with the Israeli carnage in Gaza, just days later Santos urged more Israeli violence rather than a ceasefire.
Speaking against the pro-Israel Democrat who defeated him in the 2020 congressional election, Santos tweeted: “Politicians like Tom Suozzi clearly are clueless and do not understand what the state of Israel is fighting. Look here at him clamoring for Israel to ceasefire against a TERRORIST organization. I stand firmly with Israel and their mission to put an END to terrorists.”Lest there be any doubt about his position, this August Santos emphasized, “I stand with Israel” as the Israeli military bombarded Gaza. Amnesty International determined that “33 Palestinians – including 17 civilians – were killed by Israeli forces.” In a position paper on Israel, Santos blamed Palestinians for their own ongoing occupation (a term he didn’t use), writing that Israel had made “generous offers of land-for-peace swaps” only to have them often be “rejected by the Palestinians.”
Speaking to the Republican Jewish Coalition following his November victory, Santos asserted, “My parents, my grandparents, pardon me, have a very strong story that I resignate [sic] with. We’re no stranger to persecution … It’s a story of survival.”
As it turns out, Santos probably won’t have to resign or “resignate” over the possible lies he has told about the Jewish heritage he’s claimed for his family – which he at least partially stands by – or for his lies about his work and university history.Questions around his loan of at least $600,000 to his campaign and political action committee could be the biggest legal issue he faces in the US as opposed to in Brazil, where in 2008 he faced criminal charges for check fraud.
Santos, who recently partied with white nationalists and neofascists in New York City, does not appear to be lying, however, about his support for Israel and its war crimes.
He added, coming strikingly close to conflating all Jews with Israel, as his interviewer Skye Ostreicher has done, “Here’s somebody who actually cares about Jews, cares about Israel, and somebody willing to fight for them, and we have people pushing me away.”
“We do stupid things in life,” Santos admitted this week. His support for apartheid Israel does not, however, appear to be a stance he regards as stupid, probably because it’s a position that retains bipartisan support in Washington.