So Glenn Beck Calls George Soros a Nazi Collaborator? Marty Peretz Said It First

The Glenn Beck-George Soros story gets stranger by the day.

If you haven’t been following it: Glenn Beck devoted three evenings on his Fox News program last week, November 9, 10 and 11, to a three-part, three-hour documentary about George Soros. It’s titled “The Puppetmaster.” It purports to prove that Soros is the mastermind of a far-reaching plot to destroy the American economy and bring down the government. It’s a pretty shocking display of ignorance, innuendo, outright lies and not-too-subtle anti-Semitism. But as I’ve tried to piece together my take on it, I keep finding new and more surprising twists.

Right now I’m going to look at Beck’s inference that Soros’s teenage survival in Nazi-occupied Hungary made him a sort of Nazi collaborator, and I’ll compare Beck’s presentation of the thesis with Marty Peretz’s version of same from 2007. Next chance I get, hopefully tomorrow, I will look at the actual guts of Soros’s supposed plan, as it appears in Glenn Beck’s fevered imagination, and I’ll try to show how Beck’s description of Soros’s M.O. actually sounds less like Soros and more like Rupert Murdoch and the Koch brothers.

Beck’s basic thesis is that virtually all of the negative changes in American society in recent decades can be traced back to the machinations of George Soros. It’s all part of his grand scheme to bring down America as a world power and have it replaced by one-world government. Soros, he says,

The part that’s gotten the most attention is a reference, repeated several times, to Soros’s childhood in Nazi-occupied Budapest, when Soros’s father hid him and his siblings with Christian families as their “godchildren.” As Soros describes in his own 2003 authorized biography, he went out at times with his godfather-protector to deliver Nazi orders to Jewish residents and — once, apparently — to inventory some property confiscated from Jews. Here’s how Beck tells it:

That’s in the third segment of the series, “The Making of the Puppetmaster.” (Here’s the transcript offered on the Fox News website. Here’s the video.)

Beck also talked about the Budapest episode, albeit in a slightly different, less sympathetic tone, in the series’ first segment, “The Puppetmaster.” The transcript to Part 1 is here, the video here. But the transcript and video are only partial. What’s missing, what doesn’t appear anywhere on the Fox or Beck websites, is perhaps the most damaging and most distorted part of the whole series. The missing clip was captured by the progressive website Media Matters. I’ll show it to you after the jump.

As Beck tells it, Soros

The quote about “national existence,” incidentally, is not from the 1998 interview with Steve Croft on “60 Minutes” but from a 1995 interview with Connie Bruck in The New Yorker. And it came in a completely different context — in the course of a discussion about how Soros views universalism and particularism in his own Jewish commitment. But more on that later.

The Anti-Defamation League issued a statement calling the accusation — specifically the intent to “hold a young boy responsible for what was going on around him during the Holocaust as part of a larger effort to denigrate the man” — “horrific” and “repugnant,” along with “inappropriate,” “offensive” and “over the top.” The head of the American Gathering of Jewish Holocaust Survivors and Their Descendants, Elan Steinberg, called the description — particularly the made-up part about “helping send the Jews to the death camps” — “a particularly monstrous lie.”

Strangely, Soros isn’t the first to slime Soros in this fashion. Back in February 2007, Soros was called “a young cog in the Hitlerite wheel” by none other than Marty Peretz, the editor and publisher of The New Republic, in an over-the-top entry in his blog, The Spine. Apparently, that wasn’t offensive. It’s not clear why not.

Peretz quoted at length from the 1998 Steve Croft interview on “60 Minutes” in which Croft asked Soros if he felt guilty at having participated. Here’s what Soros really said: “Not at all. Maybe as a child you don’t … you don’t see the connection.”

Pressed further, Soros said:

Peretz’s blog post is framed as a response to something Soros reportedly said at Davos shortly before:

This made Peretz apoplectic. He decided that Soros wasn’t speaking metaphorically, he wasn’t comparing America to Turkey (does anyone remember the Cherokees? Wounded Knee?), he wasn’t saying “the United States is now where Weimar Germany was. He is saying that the United States is now where Germany after Weimar was.”


Peretz was just getting warmed up. He continued:

Now, let’s take this piece by piece. Soros is ostentatiously indifferent to his Jewishness? The quote from Connie Bruck’s 1995 New Yorker profile is part of a longer passage in which Soros is discussing his newfound embrace of his Jewish identity, not an indifference to it. (And remember, this interview was in 1995. It was old news by 2007.) Here’s Bruck:

Soros told Bruck that in Hungary in those days, being Jewish was a stigma, that “the assimilationist Jews of Hungary had a deep sense of inferiority, and it took me a long time to work through that.” His own mother, he said, “was quite anti-Semitic, and ashamed of being Jewish.”

Bruck probes deeper into the universalism-versus-particularism question (a familiar one to anybody who ever attended a Jewish youth movement), and

Soros elaborated on his purported indifference to Israel in April 2007, in what amounted to a direct reply to Peretz’s February piece, in an essay in The New York Review of Books titled “On Israel, America and Aipac.” Here’s what he said about his attitude toward Israel:

It’s worth recalling, too, that back in December 2003, as part of his ostentatious avoidance of anything Jewish, Soros appeared before the Jewish Funders’ Network to talk about his view of the universal and the particular in Jewish engagement. I described it at the time in a Forward editorial, after viewing a videotape of the event.

But now, back to Beck:

Here’s some of the material that’s missing from the Fox-Beck transcript of the first show. Notice the scary music with the kettle drums and the screaming mobs as he takes us back history to the birth of George Soros. Note, too, that he provides a list of countries where Soros “collapsed” the regimes, without once mentioning that they were dictatorships in the former Soviet Union and communist Eastern Europe. He makes the $600 billion that Soros spent over the last 30 years promoting democracy and human rights in the former communist world sound like a conspiracy to subvert democracy and establish himself as some sort of emperor. It would be almost funny if it weren’t so outrageous.

Written by

J.J. Goldberg

J.J. Goldberg

Jonathan Jeremy “J.J.” Goldberg is editor-at-large of the Forward, where he served as editor in chief for seven years (2000-2007).

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So Glenn Beck Calls George Soros a Nazi Collaborator? Marty Peretz Said It First

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