An anti-migrant billboard campaign by the Hungarian government that uses the image of U.S. financier George Soros is “reminiscent of Europe’s darkest hours,” Soros’ spokesman said on Tuesday.
The billboards and full-page media ads that have appeared across Hungary depict a smiling Soros - a vocal critic of Prime Minister Viktor Orban’s right-wing government - and the caption: “Don’t let Soros have the last laugh.”
Some Soros billboards have been defaced with graffiti that reads “stinking Jew.” Soros, 86, is a Hungarian Jew who emigrated after World War Two, made his fortune in the United States and has long supported groups promoting liberal, democratic and open-border values in eastern Europe.
Michael Vachon, spokesperson for Soros, condemned the billboard campaign as “anti-European” and said it also misrepresented the financier’s views on migration.
“Last week the Fidesz-led government launched a nationwide billboard and television advertising campaign reminiscent of Europe’s darkest hours,” Vachon said in an emailed statement.
“The Hungarian regime’s xenophobia and demonization of refugees are anti-European.”
The Federation of Hungarian Jewish Federations (Mazsihisz) has urged Orban to halt the campaign.
“This campaign, while not openly anti-Semitic, clearly has the potential to ignite uncontrolled emotions, including anti-Semitism,” they said.