Soros and the Rebirth of the Jewish Financier/Global Puppet Master Myth
It’s officially back: The Right’s favorite spectre, the figure of the morally-dubious Jewish financier who (along with his hidden cabal of Jews) seeks to control the world.
Philanthropist, political activist and… Jew, Soros has given tens of millions of dollars to political candidates and organizations on the Left over the past decades, in an effort to promote open society in the former Soviet Union and Eastern Block. His spending has put him at the top of the list of donors to political campaigns in the modern era, both disclosed and undisclosed.
Such support for democracy has attracted ferocious hatred of the Right, and he has recently been branded an old-fashioned (read medieval) Jewish monster. Even more bizarre, many fringe (and not-so-fringe) elements on the Right have referred to him as a Nazi, some claiming that Soros, born a Jew in Hungary in 1930, was a member of Hitler’s SS, notwithstanding his race, and the fact that he was nine years old when the Second World War began.
This kind of imagery and vilification is the straw bogey man constructed by the far Right. The figure of the Evil Jew is perhaps the signature Fascist political strategy. Opposition to the Right’s agenda is seen these days, whether by Trump, Republican leaders, or the Republican voting rank and file, as an assault on America, Christianity, morality and common sense. The Fascists of the old days tended to have a similar view of opposition, rather like how Medieval Christians saw heretics, as worthy of killing.
The extent to which outspoken Democrats, (and Jews, such as Columbia’s Elizabeth Midlarsky), are vilified, and in many cases, threatened with physical violence today demonstrates how the Conservative movement in America and around the world, has shepherded many elements of Fascist ideology into the current political moment, slowly edging it from the shadows into the mainstream, like a dog, which wants to come out of hiding, and does so tentatively, not fully revealing itself until it is sure of its reception. Twenty sixteen provided that open-handed reception, and presto! Out came the dog.
Trump’s closing advertisement for his 2016 campaign featured George Soros, Janet Yellin (the then chairperson of the Federal Reserve and a Jew), and Lloyd Blankfein (who’s name not so many people knew…but he’s a Jew) as examples of “global special interests” who had enriched themselves at the expense of the American worker. By 2018 the RNC had amped up the rhetoric, and tried to tie Soros and his people to almost all left-of-center activity, including the refusal of athletes to stand for the national anthem, and left-of center street protests. Most recently Trump has suggested that Soros actually funded the “invasion” of migrants from Central America.
The vilification of Soros, among others, is interesting in two respects. The first is the above-mentioned recycling of Nazi anti-semitic propaganda, featuring monstrous Jewish financers and global special interests. The second has to do with the Right’s complete inability to tell fact from fiction, and tendency to make a nonsense out of reality. Soros became famous (and rich), most notably from shorting the British Pound in 1992. He was in the forefront of the anti-communist, pro-democratic movements of Eastern Europe, and contributed generously to causes like Poland’s Solidarity, and Charter 77 in Czechoslovakia. In the United States Soros was a vocal supporter of President Reagan’s anti-Communist activities and supported dissident Soviet scientists coming to the U.S., for which he was acknowledged by Republicans as a fellow freedom fighter. Furthermore, his Open Society foundations have focussed on promoting open society and the rule of law throughout the former Eastern Block, for which they have earned the hatred of authoritarian politicians and right-wing groups in that region.
Soros was ditched by the Republicans after he threw his support against George W. Bush in 2004, not being in favour of the Iraq War. For his treachery, Republican politicians like Denny Hastert, then Speaker of the House, and notable talking heads on Fox News, began spreading ludicrous claims against him. If Bush ’04 had motivated Soros to resist the Republican agenda of foreign wars and attacks on civil society, Trump ’16 was more alarming by an order of magnitude. Soros contributed over 16 million dollars to Democratic groups in support of Hilary Clinton, and he contributed nearly as much again this year.
What is not surprising to us today is the fact that Republicans in the Trump era adopt such tactics against their opponents. What is surprising, however, is the blatant use of not just Fascist, but actually Nazi propaganda tactics, memes and ideas to further their political cause.