Lord Alf Dubs has called for the Leader of the House of Commons Jacob Rees-Mogg to be sacked after he invoked Hungarian-American philanthropist George Soros in Parliament.
The Kindertransport refugee joined a chorus of criticism, saying Mogg’s remarks were “straight from the far right’s antisemitic playbook.”
Speaking at the despatch box on Thursday, Rees-Mogg responded to the MP Valerie Vaz’s remark hedge fund manager Crispin Odey “made £220m overnight as Sterling slumped after the 2016 referendum result.”
“One of the major funders allegedly of the Remain campaign, the Remoaner funder-in-chief, is one George Soros, who made a billion pounds when Sterling crashed out of the exchange rate mechanism, which is five times as much as Mr Odey has made,” said Rees-Mogg.
- Read more – Opinion: We need to talk about the Tories’ antisemitism problem
“All [Valerie Vaz] is saying that Mr. Soros is a better hedge-fund manager than my friend Crispin Odey, who is a great friend of mine and indeed a supporter of mine.”
Soros, who was born in Budapest to Jewish parents in 1930 and lived through the Nazi occupation of 1944-1945, is often the subject of antisemitic conspiracy theories on social media relating to Jewish bankers controlling governments.
In a statement, Lord Dubs said: “Jacob Rees-Mogg’s comments are straight from the far right’s antisemitic playbook.
“Boris Johnson must condemn his remarks about a Holocaust survivor and remove him from his Cabinet.
“Like George Soros, I fled Nazi persecution, and like me, George Soros campaigns for European countries to give sanctuary to refugees today, just as I was given refuge as a child in 1939. Boris Johnson and his government don’t want vulnerable people who they see as being different to them coming to our country. Those are the same arguments that were used against me and other Jewish people coming here 80 years ago.
“None of this is surprising from this Conservative government, which cosies up to antisemitic governments in Hungary and Poland and champions Trump, who refused to condemn neo-fascists in Charlottesville who chanted ‘Jews will not replace us’.”
The Jewish Labour Movement tweeted: “Jacob Rees-Mogg using this language from the despatch box plays straight into the far-right’s antisemitic rhetoric of a shadowy Jewish conspiracy meddling in politics.
“The way George Soros is invoked by the far-right, particularly in Eastern European politics, echoes the same conspiracies and tropes that have been directed towards Jews for centuries. They have no place in any civil society.”
Jacob Rees-Mogg and the Conservative Party have been reached for comment.
Thank you for helping to make Jewish News the leading source of news and opinion for the UK Jewish community. Today we're asking for your invaluable help to continue putting our community first in everything we do.
Unlike other Jewish media, we do not charge for content. That won’t change. Because we are free, we rely on advertising to cover our costs. This vital lifeline, which has dropped in recent years, has fallen further due to coronavirus.
For as little as £5 a month you can help sustain the vital work we do in celebrating and standing up for Jewish life in Britain.
Jewish News holds our community together and keeps us connected. Like a synagogue, it’s where people turn to feel part of something bigger. It also proudly shows the rest of Britain the vibrancy and rich culture of modern Jewish life.
You can make a quick and easy one-off or monthly contribution of £5, £10, £20 or any other sum you’re comfortable with.
100% of your donation will help us continue celebrating our community, in all its dynamic diversity...
Being a community platform means so much more than producing a newspaper and website. One of our proudest roles is media partnering with our invaluable charities to amplify the outstanding work they do to help us all.
There’s no shortage of oys in the world but Jewish News takes every opportunity to celebrate the joys too, through projects like Night of Heroes, 40 Under 40 and other compelling countdowns that make the community kvell with pride.
In the first collaboration between media outlets from different faiths, Jewish News worked with British Muslim TV and Church Times to produce a list of young activists leading the way on interfaith understanding.
Royal Mail issued a stamp honouring Holocaust hero Sir Nicholas Winton after a Jewish News campaign attracted more than 100,000 backers. Jewish News also produces special editions of the paper highlighting pressing issues including mental health and Holocaust remembrance.
In an age when news is readily accessible, Jewish News provides high-quality content free online and offline, removing any financial barriers to connecting people.
Voice of our community to wider society
The Jewish News team regularly appears on TV, radio and on the pages of the national press to comment on stories about the Jewish community. Easy access to the paper on the streets of London also means Jewish News provides an invaluable window into the community for the country at large.
We hope you agree all this is worth preserving.