The Hungarian government has launched a massive public relations campaign against billionaire George Soros’ stance on immigration. The campaign is the latest attempt by Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán to maintain his popularity in the country, despite the European Union’s treatment of Hungary as a reactionary pariah.
The Hungarian government accuses Hungarian-born Soros of encouraging illegal immigration—in particular, posing a “national security risk” for wanting to settle hundreds of thousands of Middle Eastern immigrants in Hungary. The government has placed billboards and posters in large Hungarian cities with the slogan “Let’s not allow Soros to have the last laugh!”
In response, a spokesman for Soros accused the Hungarian government of anti-Semitism (since Soros is Jewish and fled with his family before the Nazis occupied the nation.) But Soros is not popular with the Israeli government either. Although Yossi Amrani, Israel’s ambassador to Hungary, has criticized the anti-Soros campaign, warning that it “sows hatred and fear” and recalls Hungary’s role in the Holocaust, Israel’s foreign ministry has offered its own clarification of the ambassador’s comment, saying:
In no way was the statement meant to delegitimize criticism of George Soros, who continuously undermines Israel’s democratically elected governments by funding organizations that defame the Jewish state and seek to deny it the right to defend itself.
Hungary’s foreign ministry responded to Amrani’s comments, saying, “just like Israel, Hungary too takes steps against anyone who represents a risk to the national security of the country and its citizens.”
On Monday, Israeli lawmaker Miki Zohar introduced legislation in the Knesset that would make it illegal for anyone to donate to an association or nonprofit in Israel after donating to any “organizations acting against Israel.”
Zohar said the bill is mainly aimed at organizations funded by Soros, but would affect any such organization, saying, “it’s time to defund the left-wing organizations undermining the government, smearing Israel, and trying to detract from its right to defend itself.”
Orbán’s chief of staff, János Lazar, assured Hungarian Jews that “the government is not criticizing George Soros for his Jewish origin” and that the goal is to stop Soros’ migrant campaign.
The move by Orbán’s government follows President Trump’s speech in Poland on the eve of the G-20 Summit in which he praised Poland’s centuries-long struggle for national sovereignty against foreign oppression and said that Western civilization must defend itself against “those who would subvert and destroy it.” The speech led to a leftist media meltdown in the U.S. and Europe, with the liberal Süddeutsche Zeitung pointing out that, apart from Hungary, no other nation would be as receptive to Trump’s rhetoric as Poland.
As CRC has previously noted, the European Union has singled out Poland and Hungary and threatened the nations with sanctions for not accepting hundreds of thousands of immigrants from Muslim-majority nations.
Trump’s speech no doubt brought a sense of encouragement to Central and Eastern European nations with much lower GDPs than their powerful and more liberal Western European neighbors.