Hungary Fights Back Against George Soros with Poster Campaign


#1

Giant posters vilifying the financier George Soros have gone up all over Hungary - the crudest step in the latest campaign by the rightwing Fidesz government against the 86-year-old Hungarian-born philanthropist.

Many Hungarian Jews fear that open or concealed anti-Semitism lies behind the campaign. The government strenuously denies this.

The posters show a grinning Mr Soros beside the words, “Don’t let Soros have the last laugh”.

In smaller letters at the top of the poster is the message, “99% reject illegal immigration.”

The government has spent an estimated 5.7bn forints (€19m; £16.3m; $21m) on the campaign, which follows an earlier series of poster campaigns and “national consultations” designed to stir up public feeling against refugees.

Last year, Hungary granted protection to just 550 people, one of the lowest rates in Europe, and has refused to accept a single person from the 1,294 quota allocated by the European Commission in September 2015. With Slovakia, the Fidesz government has also taken the Commission to the European Court of Justice over the quota allocations.

The Fidesz government is also trying to close the Central European University, founded by Mr Soros in Budapest in 1992, and has passed legislation forcing non-governmental organisations to declare themselves “foreign-funded” - and therefore suspect, in the increasingly xenophobic atmosphere in Hungary.

That legislation targets Soros-funded NGOs in particular.

Why is Orban targeting Soros?

Since the mid 1980s, Mr Soros has spent $12bn, mostly through his Open Society Foundations, on civil initiatives to reduce poverty and increase transparency, and on scholarships and universities around the world, especially in Eastern Europe and the former Soviet Union.

These usually have a strong human rights component, which have made him the bogeyman of many nationalist and illiberal governments.

What appears to have irritated the Hungarian government most is a series of statements by Mr Soros over the past two years in favour of controlled immigration to Europe, the US and Canada.

In an article in the journal Foreign Policy in July 2016, Mr Soros suggested that Europe might accept 300,000 refugees a year directly from Turkey, Jordan and Lebanon. He also sees selected immigration as one of the solutions to labour shortages in many fields in Europe, from IT to care homes.

Like the Hungarian government, however, he emphasized that refugee resettlement and relocation programmes must be voluntary, not compulsory.

Is the campaign anti-Semitic?

The Hungarian government also stands accused of whipping up anti-Semitism with the anti-Soros posters. Mr Soros has Jewish roots, and as a nine-year-old during the Holocaust in German-occupied Hungary, he helped warn Jewish families about imminent deportations.

Many government posters have had anti-Semitic graffiti scrawled on them. The posters on the floors of Budapest trams were deliberately placed so passengers would have to tread on Mr Soros’s face.

Andras Heisler, leader of the Jewish community in Hungary, personally appealed to Prime Minister Viktor Orban to end the poster campaign.

Mr Orban rejected the appeal and suggested that Hungarian Jews do more to oppose Muslim immigration to Europe. The controversy is already overshadowing the planned visit of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to Hungary on 18 July.

There is little love lost on Mr Soros’s side towards Mr Orban either, even though his foundation once funded a young Mr Orban’s scholarship to study at Oxford University.

“I admire the courageous way Hungarians have resisted the deception and corruption of the mafia state Orban has established,” Mr Soros told the European Parliament on 1 June, “and I am encouraged by the European institutions’ energetic response to the challenges emanating from Poland and Hungary.”

One small opposition party, Together, has already begun tearing down the posters in the 16th district in Budapest, and hopes to initiate similar actions elsewhere.


#2

Because Soros was born as a Jew any form of criticism that he receives is automatically categorized as anti-Semitic. Yet Hungary is doing exactly what Israel is doing. They are refusing to take in any migrants and they aren’t willing to follow the Soros immigration plan. Same as Israel. .

Who is funding all the migrant “rescue” efforts? Who is feeding and clothing these migrants enroute? That’s a LOT of money and it’s coming from somewhere. Who hates the West AND has the means to kill it? Soros – who should be hanged for treason.


#3

Interesting how former Soviet states in Eastern Europe appreciate their freedom while the West seems to be in a hurry to throw it away.


#4

Many heads of government across Europe likely agree with Orban’s policy on migration but will only say so in private. Orban also said that because of the recent surge of migration into Italy, he expected the southern European nation could soon join Hungary and others in wanting to secure their national borders.


#5

Israel actually changed their statement on this:

“In no way was the statement (by the ambassador) meant to delegitimize criticism of George Soros, who continuously undermines Israel’s democratically elected governments,” said foreign ministry spokesman Emmanuel Nahshon, adding that Soros funded organizations “that defame the Jewish state and seek to deny it the right to defend itself”.


#6

I’m surprised any Jews would speak up in defense of Soros when you consider that he admitted on national TV back in the day to being a Nazi collaborator during WWII.