Skip to comments.In rare Jewish appearance, Soros says Jews and Israel cause anti-Semitism (Bush policies too!)
Posted on 11/09/2003 8:05:32 AM PST by veronica
Its not often that George Soros, the billionaire financier and philanthropist, makes an appearance before a Jewish audience.
Its even rarer for him to use such an occasion to talk about Israel, Jews and his own role in effecting political change.
So when Soros stepped to the podium Wednesday to address those issues at a conference of the Jewish Funders Network, audience members were listening carefully.
Many were surprised by what they heard.
When asked about anti-Semitism in Europe, Soros, who is Jewish, said European anti-Semitism is the result of the policies of Israel and the United States.
There is a resurgence of anti-Semitism in Europe. The policies of the Bush administration and the Sharon administration contribute to that, Soros said. Its not specifically anti-Semitism, but it does manifest itself in anti-Semitism as well. Im critical of those policies.
If we change that direction, then anti-Semitism also will diminish, he said. I cant see how one could confront it directly.
That is a point made by Israels most vociferous critics, whom some Jewish activists charge with using anti-Zionism as a guise for anti-Semitism.
The billionaire financier said he, too, bears some responsibility for the new anti-Semitism, citing last months speech by Malaysias outgoing prime minister, Mahathir Mohammad, who said, Jews rule the world by proxy.
Im also very concerned about my own role because the new anti-Semitism holds that the Jews rule the world, said Soros, whose projects and funding have influenced governments and promoted various political causes around the world.
As an unintended consequence of my actions, he said, I also contribute to that image.
After the conference, some Jewish leaders who heard about the speech reacted angrily to Soros remarks.
Lets understand things clearly: Anti-Semitism is not caused by Jews; its caused by anti-Semites, said Elan Steinberg, senior advisor at the World Jewish Congress. One can certainly be critical of Bush policy or Sharon policy, but any deviation from the understanding of the real cause of anti-Semitism is not merely a disservice, but a historic lie.
Abraham Foxman, national director of the Anti-Defamation League, called Soros comments absolutely obscene.
He buys into the stereotype, Foxman said. Its a simplistic, counterproductive, biased and bigoted perception of whats out there. Its blaming the victim for all of Israels and the Jewish peoples ills.
Furthermore, Foxman said, If he sees that his position of being who he is may contribute to the perception of anti-Semitism, whats his solution to himself that he give up his money? That he close his mouth?
Associates said Soros appearance Wednesday was the first they could ever recall in which the billionaire, a Hungarian-born U.S. Jew who escaped the Holocaust by fleeing to London as a child, had spoken in front of a Jewish group or attended a Jewish function.
The one-day meeting on funding in Israel, which took place at the Harvard Club in New York, was limited mostly to representatives of Jewish philanthropic foundations.
After Soros speech, Michael Steinhardt, the real-estate magnate and Jewish philanthropist who arranged for Soros to address the group, said in an interview that Soros views do not reflect those of most Jewish millionaires or philanthropists.
He also pointed out that this was Soros first speech to a Jewish audience.
Steinhardt approached the lectern and interrupted Soros immediately after his remarks on anti-Semitism.
George Soros does not think Jews should be hated any more than they deserve to be, Steinhardt said by way of clarification, eliciting chuckles from the audience.
Steinhardt then gave the lectern back to Soros, who said he had something to add to his remarks on the issue of anti-Semitism. Soros then paused to ask if there were any journalists in the room.
When he learned that there were, Soros withheld further comment.
Mark Charendoff, president of the group that hosted the conference, said he was pleased overall with the Soros event.
We found him to be enormously frank, candid and generous with his time, Charendoff said. I would be delighted if Mr. Soros would bring his passion, his brilliance and his resources to a range of different causes that are important to the Jewish community.
Charendoff is not alone.
Regardless of what they think of his politics, most Jewish activists likely would welcome Soros participation in the world of Jewish philanthropy.
Though hes ranked as the 28th richest person in the United States by Forbes magazine with a fortune valued at $7 billion Soros has given scant money to Jewish causes.
Soros first known funding of a Jewish group came in 1997, when his Open Society Institutes Emma Lazarus Fund gave $1.3 million to the Council of Jewish Federations, and when Soros gave another $1.3 million to the Jewish Fund for Justice, an anti-poverty group.
As much as Jews may not like what Soros has to say at Wednesdays meeting, he called for regime change in the United States and talked of funding projects in Palestine they are eager to get Soros involved in giving to Jewish causes.
In many ways, this was an introduction for Soros, Charendoff said. He remarked to me how impressed he was with the quality of the people he met. We can only hope that this was a beginning of an engagement with the Jewish funding world.
Soros said he has not given much to Jewish or Israel-related causes because Jews take care of their own, so that his financial clout is better directed elsewhere.
Steinhardt tried to correct him on that point, saying the field of Jewish giving is not as crowded as Soros thinks.
Even if we were a crowded field, Steinhardt told Soros, Im sure we could make room for you.
During his speech, Soros announced that he would support the Geneva accord, an unofficial Middle East peace plan proposed by two out-of-office politicians, Israels Yossi Beilin and Palestinian Yasser Abed Rabbo.
That plan envisions two states along pre-1967 borders and a shared Jerusalem, and is vague on the demand that Palestinian refugees from 1948 be allowed to return to Israel.
It was not clear whether Soros support of the plan would involve funding. Beilins office did not return a call seeking comment.
The irony -- if that's a sufficient word for it -- is that in previous speeches Mahathir has specifically attacked Soros.
Soros sounds deranged. So when is he going to forfeit his own ill-gotten gains?
Associates said Soros? appearance Wednesday was the first they could ever recall in which the billionaire, a Hungarian-born U.S. Jew who escaped the Holocaust by fleeing to London as a child, had spoken in front of a Jewish group or attended a Jewish function.Painfully sad, this. Soros still flees the Holocaust by trying to escape his Jewishness. He has internalized the hatred of an entire era and directed it against himself.
Not to worry, should this come to pass Rafsanjani and Iran will learn the meaning of the word Jericho when spoken as an order to the IAF and IDF.
Do you suppose that includes his temple? does he go to temple? is he just another secular person claiming to have religon because he was born that way and it is on his ID?
What people with no faith dislike in President Bush is taht he is a man not ashamed or afraid to admit that he responds to something greater than himself.
I have a better plan; It's called the, "Scrap the Sykes-Picot Agreement along with the League of Nations 1922 Mandate and Give the Jews the Levant Plan". It might create a lot of Lebanese and Syrian Israelis, but it would give the US a safe border with Iraq.
Till now, I have taken offense at his support and advocacy of globalistic trends. His "World Heritage Sites" and the advancement of the Kyoto Protocol are among his favourite causes.
He's a brilliant hedge fund manager with a view from the top. Less power to him, I say.
George, I will go further, give up your hedge fund, throw your money in the sea, and take your place among those who believe evil in the world will go away when wealth and the wealthy are gone. What a fool. I would pull my money from his fund now.
Disclaimer: Opinions posted on Free Republic are those of the individual posters and do not necessarily represent the opinion of Free Republic or its management. All materials posted herein are protected by copyright law and the exemption for fair use of copyrighted works.