By Philissa Cramer
George Santos’ first Chanukah party with the Republican Jewish Coalition will be his last.
The group says it will not host Santos at any future events after the congressman-elect lied to RJC officials and to the public about being Jewish and the descendant of people who escaped the Holocaust.
Santos participated in an event with the group on the first night of Chanukah Dec. 18, where he was feted as one of two incoming Jewish Republicans in Congress; he had been elected in New York’s 3rd Congressional District. The next day, The New York Times published a story detailing countless fabrications in his personal and professional resume.
As it became clear that Santos’ claims to Jewish heritage were also suspect, the head of the Republican Jewish Coalition, Matt Brooks, said he had been satisfied with Santos’ account of his family history.
“He considers himself a Jew,” Brooks told the Jewish Telegraphic Agency. “That’s good enough for me.”
But a week later, mounting evidence has shown that Santos’ claims about having had Jewish heritage and grandparents who escaped the Nazis were also not true. And a day after Santos said he would continue to claim Jewish heritage — and expressed confusion about why Jews would push away someone who says he’s on their side amid antisemitism — Brooks issued a statement expressing disappointment in him. Brooks also signaled that Santos’ recent comments that he never said he was Jewish, only “Jew-ish,” were yet more lies.
“We are very disappointed in Congressman-elect Santos. He deceived us and misrepresented his heritage. In public comments and to us personally he previously claimed to be Jewish,” Brooks said. “He has begun his tenure in Congress on a very wrong note. He will not be welcome at any future RJC event.”
The Republican Jewish Coalition’s annual conference in Las Vegas is considered a required stop for Republicans seeking a national profile. Its most recent event was the unofficial kickoff of the 2024 Republican presidential contest, with likely candidates all making pitches to the Jewish Republicans in attendance, many of whom are also political donors.