On Saturday (September 9, 2017), Bibi's son posted the above anti-Semitic, anti-Soros meme on his Facebook page (he had recycled it from an online anti-Semite). American racist David Duke quickly tweeted his approval:
When corrupt, embattled Israeli Prime Minister Bibi Netanyhu's playboy son, Yair Netanyahu (sort of an Israeli version of Don Trump Junior, but with even less class) and David Duke (one of America's top racists, fresh his media rounds in Charlottesville, thanking Trump for his support) agree on an anti-Semitic smear, there is something horribly wrong going on. The Neo-Nazi site "The Daily Stormer" also ran a story approving of Yair's use of the Soros-bashing anti-Semitic imagery. How disturbing is it in 2017 that anyone would use a meme to suggest that Jews control everything, much less another Jew (the son of the Israeli PM no less!) using such hateful propaganda? And to be applauded by Neo-Nazis for doing so? The horror, the horror...
In previous times, we heard talk of "the Rothschilds" or the "Bilderbergs" controlling the world economy and politics through a series of nefarious conspiracies - today it is "Soros". The foreign-sounding names are a dog whistle to racists who believe in anti-Jewish conspiracy theories, the same theories used to try to justify the crimes of the Holocaust.
If you spend anytime in right-wing chatrooms these days, you will quickly learn there are many people who consider "Soros" to be the biggest villain of all time. They accuse him of "funding" antifa (not at all true) and of being a Nazi collaborator during World War II (a horrible lie - he was a child at the time). In reality he's a New York-based Jewish billionaire who got rich from currency speculation and other savvy investments. I know him best for his efforts to promote civil society in Eastern Europe after the fall of the Soviet Union. He did a lot of good there and in many other places as well.
But Putin despises him and has passed laws to make it difficult for Soros' "foreign" NGOs (non-governmental organizations, including charities, educational endeavors, and efforts to build and support civil society) to operate in Russia.
Bibi Netanyahu hates Soros for supporting Human Rights Watch and other groups critical of Israeli human rights abuses, especially their treatment of civilians in the Occupied Territories.
And in Hungary, right-wing lunatic/Prime Minister Viktor Orban stated Soros is "a speculator operating an extensive Mafia network who is threatening Europe's peace and future...". Orban's ruling right-wing racist party has posters all over Budapest picturing Soros (who was born in Hungary), with the caption LET'S NOT LET GEORGE SOROS HAVE THE LAST LAUGH
Soros was also targeted in a Trump ad. Soros is pictured at 0:21 as Trump intones: "For those who control the levers of power in Washington and for the global special interests, they partner with these people that don't have your good in mind..."
So who is George Soros and why is he so hated?
According to Haaretz:
"Soros was the 19th richest person in the world last year according to Forbes, reportedly worth more than $25 billion. He was born György Schwartz, to an upper-middle class Jewish family in Budapest in 1930. In 1944, when the Nazis occupied Hungary, the Soroses – who changed their name to avoid detection as Jews – escaped the mass deportation and murder of over half a million of their brethren by obtaining false papers that allowed them to pose as Christians. After the war ended, Soros left Hungary for England and the United States, where he became one of the world’s most successful strategic investors.
He is also a deep-pocketed philanthropist, aiming his donations – and substantial political campaign contributions – in a progressive political direction. His Open Society Foundations has the mandate of advancing “justice, education, public health, business development and independent media,” and he has given away billions to pro-democracy organizations, dissident groups in repressive regimes, supported education through scholarships and support for university, anti-poverty causes and decriminalization of marijuana in the United States.
Soros has been lionized by the left and vilified by the right worldwide; one side of the political map viewing his work as progress toward a more free and just world, the other – particularly on its extreme fringes – viewing him as running a devious, even satanic, effort to create a new world order.
He is a favorite bogeyman of the political right, not only in Europe but also the United States. He featured in the closing ad of Donald Trump’s presidential campaign, his face appearing amid accusations that “a global power structure that is responsible for the economic decisions that have robbed our working class, stripped our country of its wealth and put that money into the pockets of a handful of large corporations and political entities.” According to the ad, which was criticized for striking an anti-Semitic tone, Trump was the only thing standing between this greedy cabal and innocent American citizens.
But Trump’s political messaging was a single shot compared to the barrage Orbán has launched against Soros in recent weeks. One can’t walk down a street in the Hungarian capital without encountering his face. Billboard after billboard features a picture of Soros laughing, captioned, “Let’s not let Soros have the last laugh,” underneath a headline reading “99 percent reject illegal immigration.”
Concerned by reports from Hungarian Jews that the posters were sparking an uptick in anti-Semitism, Israel’s ambassador to Hungary, Yossi Amrani, issued an extraordinarily sharp statement last weekend. In it, he called on Orbán and his Fidesz party to remove posters hung throughout the country that criticized Soros, saying it was fueling anti-Semitism.
“The campaign not only evokes sad memories but also sows hatred and fear,” the statement said. “It’s our moral responsibility to raise a voice and call on the relevant authorities to exert their power and put an end to this cycle.”
The statement was too much for Netanyahu. On his orders, the statement was “clarified,” to emphasize that while the condemnation of anti-Semitism remained, 'in no way was the statement meant to delegitimize criticism of George Soros, who continuously undermines Israel’s democratically elected governments by funding organizations that defame the Jewish state and seek to deny it the right to defend itself.' "
Haaretz also did a deep dive into the origins of the anti-Semetic anti-Soros meme posted by Bibi's son. According to Haaretz:
"Yair Netanyahu, the son of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, posted an image on his Facebook page Saturday that seems to suggest a conspiracy is behind his family’s growing legal problems. The meme is laden with anti-Semitic imagery.
The meme, captioned "the food chain," features a photo of George Soros dangling the world in front of a reptilian creature, who dangles an alchemy symbol in front of a caricature of a figure reminiscent of the anti-Semitic “happy merchant” image.
The other figures in the chain are former Prime Minister Ehud Barak, anti-Netanyahu protest leader Eldad Yaniv and Meni Naftali, a former chief caretaker at the Netanyahus’ official residence who implicated Sara Netanyahu in the case she is being indicted in.
Soros, a Hungarian-born Jewish American billionaire, has spent a large part of his fortune funding pro-democracy and human rights groups. Among the organizations he funds is Human Rights Watch, a frequent critic of Israel’s occupation of the West Bank and its policies toward the Palestinians. The images of Soros and the reptile evoke anti-Semitic conspiracy theories claiming that Jews control the world.
The neo-Nazi Daily Stormer also posted an article regarding the meme entitled "Netanyahu's Son Posts Awesome Meme Blaming the Jews for Bringing Down his Jew Father," in which they called Yair Netanyahu "a total bro."
This version of the meme seems to have originated on a right-wing Facebook page. The meme is nearly identical to, and appears to be adapted from, a viciously anti-Semitic image that has been repeatedly posted across the internet in recent years on racist and conspiracy-theory message boards.
Like most memes, it is impossible to determine who originally created it. In one instance, it was posted by a white supremacist named John de Nugent with the title "Illuminatus Jew Dumb American Burger" in its URL.
In the original version of the meme, the first figure in the “food chain” is an obese walrus in an American flag T-shirt tempted by a hamburger dangled in front of him. Behind the man is an Orthodox Jew motivated by money, controlled by the same Illuminati figure featured in the cartoon that Netanyahu posted, with the same giant lizard looming over them all.
The Southern Poverty Law Center describes de Nugent as "a prolific writer who has worked with numerous hate groups including the neo-Nazi National Alliance and the Holocaust-denying Barnes Review. De Nugent has run for elected office, and has even vowed to one day become president. While maintaining racist views about numerous racial and ethnic groups, de Nugent is particularly anti-Semitic, believing that the Jews are, along with nefarious space aliens, intent on exterminating the Aryan race."
After Haaretz published a report about his meme, Yair Netanyahu dismissed the claim that he is anti-Semitic and accused the newspaper of being exactly that.
Barak, who is depicted in the meme chasing money, suggested that Yair Netanyahu should see a psychiatrist. “Is this what the kid hears at home?” he said. “Is it genetics, or a spontaneous mental illness? It doesn’t matter. In any case, we should fund his psychiatrist instead of security guards and a driver.”
Labor leader Avi Gabbay, also on Twitter, said: “It’s a particularly sad day for Israel when a caricature that’s endorsed by the head of the KKK emerges from the home of the prime minister of the Jewish state.”
MK Zehava Galon (Meretz) added that “motifs in the Netanyahu family are anti-Semitic par excellence.” MK Merav Ben Ari (Kulanu) said that “this post deserves all manners of condemnation, from the left and the right. I’m on the right.”
Attorney General Avichai Mendelblit announced Friday that Sara Netanyahu would be indicted for fraud and breach of trust. She is to be charged with spending 359,000 shekels ($102,000) in state funds on catering at the prime minister’s official residence, while falsely claiming that the house did not employ a cook. The indictment is subject to a hearing, whose date has not yet been announced.
Prime Minister Netanyahu has accused Naftali, the last link in Yair Netanyahu’s meme, of inflating spending on food during his tenure as chief caretaker of the official residence."
Bibi and Yair Netanyahu
I myself have Hungarian roots and as a Hungarian, am proud of Soros and his contributions in Hungary, Eastern Europe, and elsewhere. I happened to meet Soros briefly one time at a Democratic Party event in New York. I greeted him in Hungarian, and shook his hand. What struck me most, besides his approachability (he is the first and, so far, only billionaire whose hand I have shaken) was that he was wearing a regular business suit. Earlier I had been with a friend when he talked to Larry David, who was dressed in a beautiful, expensive suit. It was interesting to me that the wealthiest man in the room wore such a non-ostentatious suit. It was perhaps even, "off the rack" and not tailor-made. It seemed to indicate something about the man.
I was in San Francisco in the mid-1990's when Dennis Peron was trying to get medical marijuana on the ballot as a proposition. He was well short of the signatures needed to get on the ballot and the deadline was approaching. A last-minute generous donation from Soros allowed them to hire a professional team to get the needed signatures. The initiative qualified for the ballot, passed, and became California law.
There are probably thousands of people who could tell similar tales of citizen initiatives and projects that owe their success to assistance from Soros, Open Society, or Central European University which he founded.
He's a good man and he deserves praise, not anti-Semitic vilification.