(August 18, 2020 / JNS) In a recent article, John Kass, a columnist for The Chicago Tribune, detailed the ongoing riots in cities throughout the country. One of the key reasons for these riots and their continuation is the sense of impunity felt by the people attacking the police, destroying property and looting. In many cases, the local prosecutors—seemingly sympathetic to those involved in these acts of violence and destruction—have failed to prosecute the perpetrators.
In his article, Kass identifies left-wing billionaire George Soros as having been a significant source of outside funding, having spent millions of dollars to the election of these same prosecutors who are now failing to stop this criminal behavior. Mr. Soros has been identified by other news sources, such as Politico for this same effort. According to Kass, “These prosecutors are among the few politicians in America who have delivered on their promises. They promised to empty their jails through the social justice warrior policy of ‘decarceration.’ They also help give repeat, violent criminals little or no bond when arrested.”
In response to his column, the Chicago Tribune Guild released a letter that posits Kass’s criticism of Soros as promoting “the odious, anti-Semitic conspiracy theory… .” Apparently, it is irrelevant to the Chicago Tribune Guild that the columnist never made any reference to religion, Judaism or to Soros as a Jew. Furthermore, the columnist did not promote any conspiracy theory about Soros or Jews. The accusation of anti-Semitism against any critic of Soros is especially ironic because Soros does not self-identify as a Jew.
What is most disturbing is the guild’s cynical and disingenuous misappropriation of the term anti-Semitism—in an attempt to silence someone with whom they disagree—to deflect attention from Soros’s malevolent activities. In so doing, they trivialize an egregious form of hatred—the oldest known to humankind. Criticism of George Soros is not anti-Semitism as the Guild would want us to believe; hate speech directed at Jews is anti-Semitism.
I have yet to encounter anyone who defends Soros by attacking his critics as anti-Semitic whom I would characterize as a champion in the fight against anti-Semitism. In fact, defenders of Soros are themselves often accused of anti-Semitism or are allies of overt anti-Semites. It is anything but coincidental that those who come to his defense (by accusing his critics of anti-Semitism) are relatively silent about the ubiquitous anti-Semitism on college campuses, in the current Black Lives Matter protests and in halls of Congress as egregiously expressed by Reps. Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.) and Rashida Tlaib (D-Minn.). I wonder if those hurling accusations of anti-Semitism against critics of Soros are themselves supporters of the anti-Semitic BDS movement, and are defenders of groups that are easily identified as enemies of Israel and the Jewish people?
As reported by Anna Porter in her book Buying a Better World: George Soros and Billionaire Philanthropy, when asked about what Soros thought about Israel by New Yorker writer Connie Brook, he replied: “I don’t deny the Jews to a right to a national existence but I don’t want to be part of it.” Also included in Porter’s book about Soros and Judaism are the following: “Soros has never presented himself as a Jew, sought out Jewish audiences, or chosen Jewish charities for his philanthropic endeavours.” Hacked e-mails reveal that Soros’s Open Society Foundations has as an objective “challenging Israel’s racist and anti-democratic policies” in international forums, in part by questioning Israel’s reputation as a democracy.
In an article that appeared Aug. 3 in The Washington Free Beacon, “Patrick Gaspard, President of Soros’ Open Society Foundations and a former Obama Administration official, on July 31, 2020 blasted former president Bill Clinton for condemning Stokely Carmichael, a racial separatist who called Hitler the only white man he could respect.” According to that article, “Carmichael also peddled anti-Semitic tropes, telling the British journalist David Frost that he believed Hitler was “the greatest white man.” In remarks at the University of Maryland in 1990, Carmichael complained that “Zionist pigs have been harassing us everywhere … . And when this anger rises, [we] will snap our fingers and finish them off.”
Because Mr. Gaspard still enjoys the position of president, apparently, neither George Soros nor his Open Society Foundations have a problem with anyone under their employ who defends a Hitler-admiring anti-Semite. Anti-Semitism has never been much of a concern for Soros. That notwithstanding, I have not read any letter by The Chicago Tribune Guild attacking Gaspard for defending someone who espouses the “odious, anti-Semitic conspiracy theory… .” Is this not “antithetical to their values”?
The following is what U.S. Ambassador to Israel David Friedman was quoted as saying about Soros: “George Soros has done more to vilify the state of Israel and to fund anti-Israel propaganda machines than almost any individual on the face of the earth. The idea that by criticizing George Soros I am anti-Semitic, or I’m indicating anti-Semitic tendencies, when George Soros is himself one of the great enemies of the Jewish people and the state of Israel, turns the world on its head.”
This is the George Soros to whom the Chicago Tribune Guild has conveniently assigned a religion (Judaism ) and then came to his defense from a purported anti-Semitic attack that was never made. The signatories of the Chicago Tribune Guild’s letter accusing John Kass of anti-Semitism need to look in the mirror—perhaps then they will find the anti-Semite that they have been looking to call out.
David Green is chairman of the board of directors of the Endowment for Middle East Truth (EMET).
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