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Hasidic magazine: Santos said DNA tests prove his Jewish ancestry

A New York Yiddish-language magazine reported the scandal-plagued congressman’s latest claim

Rep. George Santos, under congressional and federal investigation for lying about his background, told two Hasidic writers who visited his Washington, D.C., office last month that recent genetic testing shows he has a significant percentage of Jewish ancestry. 

The assertion comes almost two months after he told British television host Piers Morgan that he has taken four DNA tests to examine his Jewish ancestry. The magazine did not publish any evidence of such DNA tests and one of the reporters who wrote the article said they did not see any results. Santos’s office did not respond to a request to view the results or comment on the article.

According to a piece in Moment Magazine, a Yiddish-language weekly print magazine that caters to New York’s Hasidic communities (not the Jewish English-language magazine by the same name), Santos sat down with two reporters from the publication after they showed up unexpectedly at his office and requested a meeting with him during a March 23 visit to the Capitol.

The visitors wrote in the magazine’s Passover edition that they didn’t identify themselves as reporters, believing that Santos would be hesitant to speak with them if he knew. They wrote that they told his aide they wanted to learn more about the scandal-plagued congressman. This Forward reporter read the piece in Yiddish and also spoke to one of the reporters who wrote it to confirm details of the report.

A Santos’ spokesman did not immediately reply to an email from the Forward requesting comment on the Moment article.

The Moment piece on Santos was a two-page spread, part of a longer piece on the reporters’ visit to Capitol Hill. It included three pictures, one at the door of Santos’ office and two which showed the reporters talking with him. “He repeated all the lies he had said in public,” they wrote.

Santos, a Republican freshman from Long Island, New York, repeatedly referred to his Jewish ancestry during last year’s campaign, calling himself a “Latino Jew” and “halachically Jewish.” He claimed his grandparents fled anti-Jewish persecution in Ukraine and then Belgium during World War II. But a Forward review of genealogy websites contradicted his claims, showing that both of his maternal grandparents were born in Brazil before the Nazis rose to power. 

In February, Santos called his references to being “Jew-ish” a “party favor joke.” He said he based it on his understanding that his “grandparents are Jewish on my mother’s side.” And he said his grandparents falsified documents when they arrived in Brazil to show that they had been born there and not in Europe.

In his interview with Morgan, Santos said he took the DNA tests to prove his maternal grandparents were actually Jewish. “This is the one that I will battle to my grave,” he said. “I have done four of them so far, and I’m just waiting for their returns. And I’m very curious to share those with everybody.”

The Hasidic reporters wrote that in their conversation with Santos, he told them the percentage of Jewish ancestry revealed in his DNA tests, but asked them not to share it with anyone. He has yet to share the tests with the public. 

In their article, Santos repeats, as he had asserted in February, that he only claimed to be “Jew-ish” as opposed to Jewish. He is also quoted expressing his love for Israel and admitting to making up some details of his biography and his career. He told the Hasidic reporters that fabrications amounted to 20% of what he told the public about himself. 

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