Hungary: Smearing Legitimate Criticism of George Soros as Anti-Semitism Is ‘Cynical and Dishonest’

Dr. Zoltán Kovács, spokesman for Hungarian prime minister Viktor Orbán, has hit back at “cynical and dishonest” claims by EU officials that the government’s criticism of billionaire open borders activist George Soros is anti-Semitic.

The Central European country is in conflict with the EU over its refusal to accept the compulsory migrant quotas the bloc wishes to impose, and its efforts to increase transparency around foreign funding of Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs), some of which are believed to be fronts for Soros’s efforts to undermine the government and its policy of maintaining strong borders in the face of the migrant crisis.

Orbán has not shied away from directly criticising the 86-year-old financier, who he describes as a “large-bodied predator” who is “spending endless amounts of money to support illegal immigration” and “ruining the lives of millions of Europeans”.

Orbán’s efforts to counteract the influence of Soros – a convicted insider trader best known in the United States as an allegedly key sponsor of various initiatives to undermine the Donald Trump administration and its policies – have included a public poster campaign urging the Hungarian people not to let him “have the last laugh”.

This has triggered accusations of anti-Semitism by establishment figures such European Commission First Vice-President Frans Timmermans, but Hungarian officials completely deny the charges.

“[W]e have deliberately never spoken of Soros’s Jewish heritage – specifically because it has nothing to do with the criticism of what he is doing,” insisted Dr Kovács.

He went on to accuse Soros of “destabilising governments in the Balkans, supporting enemies of Israel, and sending to Europe hundreds of thousands of unchecked migrants from the Middle East and Africa, some of which are home to terrorist organisations that have publicly declared their hostile intent towards Europe and exploited the continent’s weak border security to move people and material”.

There was controversy in Budapest when the Israeli ambassador appeared to back claims that the recent poster campaign was anti-Semitic, before being forced into a rapid climbdown by Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who had the foreign ministry issue the following clarification:

“Israel deplores any expression of anti-Semitism in any country and stands with Jewish communities everywhere in confronting this hatred.

“This was the sole purpose of the statement issued by Israel’s ambassador to Hungary. In no way was the statement meant to delegitimize criticism of George Soros, who continuously undermines Israel’s democratically elected governments by funding organisations that defame the Jewish state and seek to deny it the right to defend itself.”

Israeli lawmakers have subsequently proposed their own ‘Soros Bill’, aimed at “defunding the Left-wing organisations undermining the government, smearing Israel and trying to detract from its right to defend itself”.

In a separate statement, Dr. Kovács declared that no Hungarian government has done more to combat anti-Semitism and extend protections for the country’s Jewish community than Orbán’s.

“During the first Orbán Government, in 2001, Hungary established the Memorial Day for the Hungarian Victims of the Holocaust and the government established the Holocaust Museum. During the second Orbán Government, in 2012, the Fundamental Law entered into force, recognising Hungarian Jewry as an inseparable part of the Hungarian nation,” he pointed out.

“The Orbán Government established a zero-tolerance policy on anti-Semitism and effectively banned paramilitary groups intimidating Jewish and Roma citizens.”

Follow Jack Montgomery on Twitter: @JackBMontgomery


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