When Glenn Beck called George Soros “The Puppet Master,” in the midst of his two-part ‘exposé’ on Fox News, it was a new low for Beck, but for Soros, the attack was nothing new. Soros, the Hungarian-American businessman, investor, and philanthropist, has weathered similar attacks from the Hungarian far right for years.
During his television program, Beck leveled a number of charges at Soros, among them that he is behind global conspiracies and has been behind the downfall of numerous governments. He also implied that Soros was, in fact, plotting the downfall of the United States government. These claims, when made against Jewish people, are typically seen as coded anti-Semitism. Worse, Beck stated that George Soros Nazi, a Jewish person himself, colluded with the Nazis during World War II against his own people. These charges were false; in reality Soros, who was 14 years old at the time, worked as a messenger for the Budapest Jewish Council in Hungary. When he was sent to inform fellow Jews to report to collection points, he instead urged defiance against the Nazi machine. After the Nazis were defeated, Soros continued to fight against the oppressive Communist regimes in Europe that took their place.
And Now: Anti-Semitism
Beck’s arguments against Soros – that Soros is anti-Semitic himself, or an enemy of the state of Israel – rely on out of context quotes and implied lies. Beck’s sensationalist claims against Soros, made with scant evidence and relying on specious reasoning, have been denounced by The Jewish Anti-Defamation League but also by publications like The Nation and Reason, traditionally conservative and libertarian outfits whose political views Beck claims to represent. Perhaps Beck’s most egregious statement was that Soros “helped send Jews to the death camps,” though he also misrepresented by omission that many of the revolutions Soros gave support to were against communist dictatorships.
The Nation, a conservative website of note, characterized Becks attack on Soros as “one of the most virulent and dangerous sorts of accusations of which there is record.” Reason.com, a libertarian website, accused Beck of a ‘Ridiculous Misreading” of Soros. If Beck had been looking for a reaction with his program, he certainly got one, though perhaps not the one that he had intended.
Soros, for his part, ignores these types of attacks. He enjoys his status as an outsider and takes pride in not belonging to any clubs or associations. He has heard attacks like Beck’s for years, both in the United States and in his native Hungary, and he doesn’t care. Perhaps this is because he has dealt with numerous hate groups, both fascist and communist, his entire life. After surviving as a Jew under Nazi rules, attacks like Beck’s don’t have the same sting they might to other people.
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