Milbank: Anti-Semitism lurks behind most criticism of Soros

For an 88-year-old man, George Soros has been exceedingly industrious in this country and others.

By Dana Milbank

Where does George Soros find the time?

To hear the loon-o-sphere tell it, the Hungarian-born liberal Jewish billionaire, at the ripe old age of 88, has been exceedingly industrious.

He dismantled the Soviet Union, launched coups in four Eastern European countries and a revolution in a fifth, while also destroying the Malaysian economy and financing Halliburton.

He caused the 2008 global financial crisis, bought the presidency for Barack Obama, wrote the 2009 stimulus and served as “puppetmaster” for Hillary Clinton.

He organized the Ferguson, Missouri, protests, the 2016 post-election protests, the Women’s March, the March for Science, the Parkland, Florida, gun-control protests, the anti-Kavanaugh protests, the NFL national anthem protests, the migrant caravan, and also, paradoxically, the neo-Nazi march in Charlottesville.

He controls the State Department, the Democratic Party and the union movement and is financing a “Purple Revolution” to overthrow President Trump, as well as efforts to break up the euro zone, depose the Turkish president and destroy Facebook.

In ordinary times, all but the most deranged Alex Jones listener would recognize the above as wackadoodle, tied together by a common libel used against Jews for centuries: the clandestine manipulation of events.

But these are not ordinary times, and Trump and his advisers are not only endorsing the conspiracy theories but also assigning a whole new portfolio of world-domination responsibilities to Soros, as if he didn’t already have enough on his plate.

Trump, in his closing ad of the 2016 campaign, featured Soros and two other American Jews as part of a “global power structure” acting in cahoots with Clinton against America. More recently, he suggested that the Brett Kavanaugh protesters were “paid for by Soros,” and said he “wouldn’t be surprised” if Soros were behind the caravan. “A lot of people say yes.”

Donald Trump Jr. has echoed the Nazi-collaborator slander and the Ferguson allegation, and Rudy Giuliani circulated the “anti-Christ” idea.

A consequence: Soros was one of the attempted targets of a Trump fan in Florida who sent pipe bombs to the president’s critics, and the suspect in the Pittsburgh synagogue massacre had posted online about Soros controlling the caravan, as Trump had suggested.

“There are those — including the president of the United States — who rail against ‘globalists’ that are ruining the country, a term popularized by the alt-right who regularly use it as a euphemism for Jews,” Anti-Defamation League chief executive Jonathan Greenblatt said at the group’s annual summit Monday. “During this past election, there were television ads run by mainstream political candidates and parties that shamefully portrayed the Jewish philanthropist George Soros, casting him as a grotesque caricature pulled right from the pages of the ‘Protocols of Zion’ responsible for all the world’s ills.”

Last week, The Washington Post’s Felicia Sonmez reported that the director of the U.S. Agency for Global Media apologized to Soros last month for a taxpayer-financed program the agency aired describing Soros as a “nonpracticing Jew of flexible morals.” The program claimed he was involved in “clandestine operations that led to the dismantling of the Soviet Union” and described him as “the architect of the financial collapse of 2008.”

On Monday, even as the ADL was decrying the Protocols-of-Zion style attacks on Soros, the Trump administration was enabling such attacks.

As The Post’s Griff Witte reported, Hungary’s autocratic leader Viktor Orban — who has engaged in an ugly anti-Semitic campaign against Soros — succeeded in forcing the Soros-founded Central European University, a top institution, to leave the country.

Incredibly, U.S. Ambassador David Cornstein, a jeweler and longtime Trump pal, admitted he tried neither incentives nor threats to sway his “friend” Orban. Cornstein instead “blamed the university’s founder” — Soros — for the school’s “departure and refused to criticize Orban,” Witte reported.

As part of Orban’s persecution of Soros — whose Open Society Foundations has championed democratic institutions in Eastern Europe — the Hungarian government put up billboards last year (many soon covered in anti-Semitic graffiti) that evoked Nazi propaganda. The government, falsely claiming Soros wanted to flood Hungary with illegal immigrants, pushed a “Stop Soros” law targeting non-governmental organizations and passed legislation targeting what it called “the Soros university.”

The university has bipartisan support in Washington, and Cornstein (who said during his confirmation that he was a “proud American Jew” concerned about Hungary’s anti-Semitism) promised to protect it.

But Trump’s man did no such thing. Instead, he said he saw no problems with human rights in Hungary and claimed evicting the university “doesn’t have anything to do with academic freedom.” The fault, Trump’s man said, is Soros’.

Isn’t it always?

Follow Dana Milbank on Twitter @Milbank.

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