Criticizing George Soros is NOT Anti-Semitic, Jewish Groups Insist
Prominent rabbi argues Soros is 'openly hostile towards Israel and Jewish interests'
Criticizing far-left billionaire George Soros is not considered anti-Semitic, several conservative Jewish groups have insisted.
Soros, a Hungarian-born American financier and the founder of the Open Society Foundation, may be Jewish but many prominent Jews argue that legitimate criticism of his actions is completely warranted due to his power and progressive positions.
In fact, according to the Jewish Telegraphic Agency (JTA), there is substantial opposition to Soros’ views in centrist and right-wing Jewish circles, with the billionaire’s anti-Israel efforts at the forefront.
Soros is only "superficially Jewish" and actually works against the Jewish people, prominent Israeli orthodox Rabbi Pesach Lerner argues.
"Yes, Soros is part of the Jewish nation, but ideologically he is not merely distant but openly hostile towards Israel and Jewish interests," Rabbi Lerner said in December.
Lerner was responding to comments made by former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani, who stated that he was more Jewish than Soros.
"It is ridiculous to link an accurate critique of the use of Soros’ wealth to influence certain public officials to hateful, anti-Semitic lies about Jewish communal control over government at large," Lerner said, according to RMX.
Famous right-wing pro-Israeli donor Adam Milstein voiced an even harsher criticism, saying Soros was funding the violent leftist network Antifa, calling him a "self-hating Jew" and even questioning his Holocaust survival.
In 2017, Milstein tweeted and then deleted a picture of Soros depicted as an octopus with his tentacles spreading across the globe.
The American Zionist Organization recently issued a press release calling Soros a "radical anti-Zionist."
The group's president, Morton Klein also recently tweeted that "condemning anti-Israel extremist George Soros is not anti-Semitic just like condemning racist David Duke is not anti-White.”
Klein says he is not worried about fueling anti-Semitism, saying that if he was an artist, he would also depict Soros as an octopus spread out across the globe because Soros “has his tentacles all over the place and has enormous influence.”
According to the JTA article, "Klein acknowledged that such an image could echo an anti-Semitic stereotype about Jews, money, and power, but said that in Soros’ case it is warranted."
Despite what Jewish conservatives may believe about Soros, criticism of the progressive billionaire is increasingly frowned upon and even outright censored in some instances in countries, including the US.
Just last week, Fox News hosts cut off prominent conservative Newt Gingrich when he brought up Soros and his funding of progressive District Attorneys in races across the United States, which Gingrich saying these DAs are against law and order and responsible for releasing violent criminals on the streets of the US.
The video of the hosts essentially censoring Gingrich for bringing up Soros went viral across the web and led conservatives to question why Soros's name cannot be mentioned even when pointing to specific policies and facts surrounding his progressive activities.
This is one of the weirdest exchanges I’ve ever seen on TV. @newtgingrich correctly points out that George Soros threw an unprecedented amount of money into DA races all over the country to elect radicals and Fox News basically told him to shut up. WTF? pic.twitter.com/IxwcLG2gOH— Robby Starbuck (@robbystarbuck) September 16, 2020
Although the host issued an apology, saying they "don't censor" on the show, Gingrich complained that criticism of Soros is illegitimately tied to claims of anti-Semitism.
Why are some in the left so afraid of our mentioning George Soros’ name that they scream anti-semitic? It IS his name. He IS funding pro-criminal,anti police district attorneys. Why is the left afraid of the facts?— Newt Gingrich (@newtgingrich) September 9, 2020
Former Fox News host and conservative commentator Bill O'Reilly also mentioned that it is increasingly difficult to mention Soros due to claims of anti-Semitism and that it is serving as a restriction on discussing Soros' political activity.
Bill O’Reilly on Fox News’ Awkward George Soros Moment— No Spin News (@NoSpinNews) September 18, 2020
“Soros is using his billions of dollars to undermine the justice system in the United States—and you can’t discuss that?” pic.twitter.com/yfGHfP2T6D
The issue of Soros has caused consternation in the Jewish conservative community, with the billionaire becoming the face of progressive movements around the world through his massive spending via his Open Society Foundation.
Some experts believe caution is necessary and special care should be given to criticizing Soros, such as University of Michigan professor Josh Pasek, who studies news media and political communication.
“It cannot be the case that all criticism of something Jewish is necessarily anti-Semitic,” Pasek said, but added that “the decision that you want to make it about Soros, even if for you it isn’t about his Jewishness, will almost undoubtedly feed into anti-Semitic conspiracy theories.”
The Jewish Telegraphic Agency writes that much of the theories about Soros sprung up in reaction to the 2015 migrant crisis and that "conspiracy theories about Soros have been around for a long time, but they gained momentum during the 2015 refugee crisis in Europe.
"Soros’ charity network, the Open Society Foundations, donated to groups that helped migrants seeking entry into Europe, and anti-Semites accused Soros of trying to replace Europe’s white residents with Muslim refugees."
At the time, Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán directed criticism at Soros for his pro-migration stance, his support for pro-migration NGOs, and his comments on the crisis, including his belief that Europe should borrow billions of euros to pay for refugees.
Although left-wing news outlets like the Guardian and even Soros himself have tried to paint Orbán's criticisms as anti-Semitic, the government has adamantly denied this claim, saying it is not anti-Semitic to point to Soros's activities undermining democratically-elected governments.
At the same time, comments from Soros such as, “[Europe] has to accept at least a million asylum-seekers annually for the foreseeable future" did lend real worries that Soros was participating in population experiments that would affect the demographic future of Europe.
Soros has become an increasingly popular target for the right within the US, especially due to his activities over the last years, including his recent decision to donate over $50 million to support presidential candidate Joe Biden.
However, much of his activities began in Central European countries like Hungary, which underlines his global reach.
Emily Tamkin, a Jew and the author of the book "The Influence of Soros" says right-wing Israeli Jews are not hesitant to criticize Soros because funding left-wing Israeli groups could also harm Jewish interests there, including Soros's funding of pro-Palestinian groups.