Two British commentators have been derided by the Board of Deputies for spreading “antisemitic conspiracy theories” about a liberal Jewish philanthropist.
Raheem Kassam, the former London head of right-wing publication Breitbart, and Andy Wigmore, the self-styled “Bad boy of Brexit,” waded into a Twitter debate, saying George Soros was “not Jewish” and “a Nazi collaborator”.
Soros is a Hungarian-born billionaire financier. Born in Hungary in 1930, he lived through the Nazi occupation, which resulted in the murder of over 500,000 Hungarian Jews. His own Jewish family survived by securing false identity papers, concealing their backgrounds, and helping others do the same.
Soros later said: “Instead of submitting to our fate, we resisted an evil force that was much stronger than we were, yet we prevailed. Not only did we survive, but we managed to help others.”
His philanthropic foundation supports liberal causes around the world, making him a target for nationalists, including Hungary’s current right-wing government, which Soros has criticised.
As a result, Soros has been the repeated target of antisemitic theories perpetrated by detractors, and this week the Board said Kassam and Wigmore, an adviser to Leave.eu, were guilty too.
In a tweet last week, Kassam said Soros “isn’t a Jew and helped Nazis round up Jews,” while Wigmore echoed the idea, saying Soros is “not Jewish and was a Nazi collaborator”. The Board said this played to a classic antisemitic trope.
“Knowingly or not, Raheem Kassam and Andy Wigmore are spreading false antisemitic conspiracy theories about George Soros being a Nazi collaborator,” said a Board spokesman.
“While there can be legitimate differences of opinion on Mr Soros’s politics, holding a 14 year-old Jewish boy responsible for the atrocities perpetrated in Nazi-occupied Hungary, is the ultimate in victim blaming. They should retract and delete these comments.”
Kassam later took to Twitter to defend his stance, roundly rejecting the Board’s comments.
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