Having spent $6 million influencing the 2014 European Parliament elections, leaked documents show the Open Society Foundations (OSF) hoped the campaign would centre on condemnation of “xenophobic discourse”. Seeking to influence the elections, the OSF planned to “mitigate the feared populist surge” and “limit the damage” they believe is caused by “xenophobic” and anti-EU campaigns.
The papers show that billionaire hedge fund manager George Soros’ NGO funded numerous projects to “monitor”, “shame” and “ridicule” what the group calls “hate speech” across the Europe. While attempting to stamp down on identity politics for Europeans, the organisation also sought to “amplify” ethnic minority votes in the elections.
The document notes that the EU elections represent a number of “open society issues”. Naming these as “minority empowerment” and migration, the OSF says the democratic process where Europeans elect 751 MEPs “seemed too great an opportunity for us not to get involved”.
Despite taking place a year before the “migrant crisis” saw over a million people from the third world illegally clambering onto Europe’s shores in search of welfare, Eurosceptic and anti-mass migration parties did well in the 2014 EU elections.
One of the main categories of project the OSF funded was groups working to monitor and highlight “sexist, racist and xenophobic speech”. Reviewing the project, the NGO expressed surprise and dismay that despite the money they funneled into highlighting and countering opposition to “hate speech”, it was not the dominant issue in the EU elections.
The OSF praises grantees for developing “new methods of monitoring discriminatory speech” but remarks that “it simply was not a factor in the campaigns”.
Reflecting on why this might be the case, the paper said politicians “either adopted more politically correct behavior” or they “became better at communicating with their voters on issues not directly related to openly hateful remarks”.
It reads: “Additionally, based on past examples of elections at different levels in Europe, OSIFE assumed that hate speech and xenophobic discourse would dominate the election campaigns in many EU countries, while this was not the case.”
A typical project of those given funding by the OSF for the EU elections was one undertaken in Croatia, the description of which, in the leaked files, reads: “The proposed activities include a public barometer measuring hate speech, ambassadors promoting the values of non-discrimination and equality, online blaming and shaming campaigns using satire video clips, and thematic concerts against racism”.
Mr Soros has so far given over $7 million dollars towards Hillary Clinton’s 2016 presidential election bid in a year where media coverage has been focused heavily on pundits’ analysis of whether Republican candidate Donald Trump’s language has been “sexist” and “racist”.
In accordance with other projects the foundations have backed, leaked documents show that for the European Parliament elections in 2014 the group sought to fuel identity politics among migrant voters while suppressing Eurosceptic and anti-mass migration parties.
The group reported they made progress, in the EU elections, in their objective of showing that “migrants are a political constituency to be taken seriously”. They stated particular success in mobilising voters in the banlieues. France’s banlieues, heavily populated with Muslims, have gained notoriety in recent years as where Islamic terrorists have grown up and been radicalised.
One project funded by the OSF, entitled “Fighting Political Islamophobia” worked with mosques to encourage Muslims to vote by raising awareness of Islamophobia with door-to-door, video and radio campaigning.
The leaked documents stated the NGO’s project sought to “amplify the voice and demands of constituencies that are far from the centers of power”. However those with power in the EU, namely the unelected European Commission who set the agenda for the bloc and can propose laws, have made it quite clear they share the same aims as Mr Soros’ group — unelected EU President Jean-Claude Juncker has vowed to block any elected anti-mass migration parties from power Europe-wide.
The leaked Open Society Foundations documents were posted to the website DC Leaks on Saturday.