Antisemitism and George Soros

Former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani this week made headlines in an interview with Intelligencer where he made the patently false claim that the ambassadors and other State Department employees were put in place by billionaire and philantropist George Soros, continuing a lengthy tradition within the far-right of Soros-related conspiracy theories. This article very quickly unleashed a torrent of political discussions on social media regarding George Soros. People on the right promptly accused him of being the cause of every major problem facing the United States, while most others defended him, arguing that these conspiracies were rooted deep in antisemitism. It is very clear that the latter is true, as for the last decade the far-right, from Glenn Beck to Donald Trump and his supporters have made such assertions about the billionaire. From Beck’s own history on Fox News nearly a decade ago to people like Lou Dobbs and Donald Trum Jr., continuing the tradition of these antisemetic attacks today, it is clear that an irrational antisemitism and xenophobia has emerged on the far-right.

These conspiracies are vast and wide-ranging. Some claim that George Soros was responsible for the caravans heading to the United States’ border at the height of the 2018 midterm election, while others claim that he owns the company that built voting machines across the United States. He has been accused of funding Black Lives Matter, the Muslim Brotherhood, founding terrorist groups such as ISIS, flooding Europe with migrants from the Middle East, attempting to topple American democracy, controlling all of the major media organizations around the world, that he was an SS officer during the Second World War despite being a Holocaust survivor, bankrolling the accusers of now-Supreme Court Associate Justice Brett Kavanuagh, and owns any media organization that attempts to disprove these theories such as Snopes and others. More often than not, these stories are proliferated through social media, and at best mostly unreputable news organization spread these conspiracy theories.

Rather than being merely treated as the left-leaning equivalent of the Koch Brothers, who likewise bankroll conservative causes, Soros is treated as if he is the incarnation of evil itself, and even the antichrist by some on the religious right. Many of these conspiracy theories are, according to the Anti-Defamation League (ADL), antisemetic in nature. The far-right treats him as the root of all of the world’s problems, and that he, a Jewish billionaire, controls the world’s media organizations, global banks, and seeks to topple nations in Europe and the values that hold together the United States. These antisemetic tropes are extremely common in history, and were utilized against the Rothschilds earlier in the century by the likes of the Nazis in Germany, or The Protocols of the Elders of Zion, an antisemitic text which is often the basis for modern-day anti-Jewish conspiracies. Although Soros, like the Koch Brothers, has his own record of poor decisions in making his fortune and taking part in a system that allows for the wealthy to have outsized political influence, he does not deserve these attacks from the rising tide antisemitic and xenophobic views on far-right. Instead, he has become the boogeyman of the right, and a victim of their desire to find a scapegoat for the problems facing the world.

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