George Soros became a lightning rod ahead of last November’s presidential election, especially after the Donald Trump campaign ran a commercial linking him to “the global power structure” – a line that many viewed as an anti-Semitic dog whistle.
But as Nick Cohen points out in a recent op-ed for the Guardian, Soros’s appeal as a scapegoat crosses borders, with many in Eastern Europe’s far-right painting him in similarly apocalyptic and problematic terms.
In Hungary, the increasingly authoritarian government of Viktor Orban is attempting to shutter Central European University, a liberal arts school funded by Soros’s Open Society Foundation – an initiative devoted to advancing values of liberal democracy.
In Macedonia, one of the country’s ex-leaders has called for a “de-Sorosisation” of society and threatened street actions to accomplish that goal. Meanwhile, Romania features some politicians claiming that Soros pays demonstrators to air their grievances against the government.
“Listen to the anti-Semitic echoes of the Nazi and communist eras in the vilification of Soros,” he writes. “They are so loud they deafen.”