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Attack on Soros mainstreams antisemitic tropes

In response to the letterr by Howard Flora, “‘The Problem of George Soros’,” (Nov. 22), ADL Connecticut must respond to the use of antisemitic tropes that were used to attack George Soros. We are concerned that a letter with such content would make it into the pages of one of Connecticut’s oldest and most respected newspapers.

Soros’ philanthropy often is recast as fodder for conspiracy theories, including claims that he uses his wealth to advance an insidious agenda. Many of those conspiracies employ longstanding antisemitic myths, particularly the notion that rich and powerful Jews are “globalists,” working behind the scenes to control governments and plotting to manipulate global events. At its heart, this antisemitic trope reflects the misguided notion that Jews do not deserve to have power regardless of what values they may stand for.

In the United States, Soros has been a target of the so-called alt right and other right-wing extremists. Their online echo chambers reverberate with conspiracies about Soros, accusing him of attempting to perpetrate “white genocide” and push his own malevolent agenda. In a report that analyzed antisemitic speech on Twitter, ADL found that Soros figured prominently in a significant number of antisemitic tweets. One noteworthy allegation claimed that Soros was responsible for the deadly “Unite the Right” rally in August 2017 in Charlottesville, VA. Other tweets referred to his Jewish heritage in pejorative terms and claimed that he is trying to undermine all of Western civilization.

A person or a publication that promotes a Soros conspiracy theory may not intend to perpetuate antisemitism. Even if no antisemitic insinuation was intended, casting a Jewish individual as a puppet master who manipulates national events for malign purposes has the effect of mainstreaming antisemitic tropes and giving support, however unwitting, to bona fide antisemites and extremists who disseminate these ideas knowingly and with malice.

Learn about the history, prevalent myths and contemporary examples of antisemitism, as well as action you can take to address this hate by visiting ADL’s comprehensive guide "Antisemitism Uncovered": https://www.adl.org/antisemitism-uncovered-a-guide-to-old-myths-in-a-new-era.

The writer is the Associate Regional Director of ADL Connecticut.

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