Hungary’s government and the foundation of billionaire George Soros have locked horns over a political election campaign and whether it is “deeply tainted by antisemitism.”
A spokesperson for the Open Society Foundations, the organization founded by the far-left billionaire investor, blasted the “propaganda” on display after Prime Minister Viktor Orban’s government unleashed a political campaign with some attention-getting billboards.
The head of the European Commission and Soros’ son Alexander are targeted in the billboard ads which were unveiled on Monday.
“Let’s not dance to their tunes,” read the signs which feature Alexander Soros, who chairs Open Society Foundations, and European Commission President Ursula Von der Leyen.
Hungary: Orbán’s Fidesz party has put up pre-election billboards across the country, featuring Ursula von der Leyen with Alex Soros and the slogan – “Let’s not play as they play pic.twitter.com/g7qdKT97zA
— Sprinter Monitor (@SpriterMonitor1) November 20, 2023
The billboards are part of the nationalist prime minister’s campaign for the 2024 European parliamentary elections.
“George Soros and his liberal views have been a perennial target of Orban’s Fidesz party over the past decade. Soros is Jewish and his central role in Fidesz propaganda has led some critics to accuse the party of antisemitism, which it denies,” Reuters reported Wednesday. “Orban has said there is zero tolerance in Hungary for antisemitism, while at the same time repeatedly portraying Hungarian-born Soros as a puppet master plotting to undermine his rule, including by supporting mass immigration.”
⚠️ #Ursula and #Soros junior on posters in #Hungary : Orbán said that Hungarians “do not want to dance to the tune of Brussels”, and posters with this slogan appeared on the streets of the Hungarian capital. pic.twitter.com/hl2fWt32zP
— @PalasAtenea(2) (@AthenaMia2nd) November 21, 2023
The Open Society Foundations spokesperson called out the Orban government.
“Hungarian taxpayers’ money is again being used to pay for political propaganda that is deeply tainted by antisemitism,” the spokesperson responded to inquiries by Reuters.
“This is a well-worn tactic by the Hungarian government—creating a vague and imaginary foreign threat to distract voters from real domestic issues…”
Hungary’s ruling Fidesz party has put up billboards in Budapest showing European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen alongside the son of financier George Soros, Alex Soros. pic.twitter.com/OKznSUWFhj
— Vlado Gorski (@VGorski011) November 21, 2023
Meanwhile, a spokesperson for the Hungarian government dismissed the accusation of “antisemitism” in the campaign as “groundless,” according to Reuters.
Following the October 7 attack on Israel by Hamas terrorists, Orban’s government banned a pro-Palestinian rally in Budapest.
“It’s never been about George Soros’s identity as a Jew. It’s about his ideology and his radical activism. It’s about his determination to meddle in politics in Hungary and other countries of Europe,” Zoltan Kovacs, a government spokesman, wrote Wednesday on a blog.
Back in July, Orban vowed that Hungary would show “zero tolerance” for antisemitism, adding that “all of the Jewish citizens in Hungary are under the protection of the government.”
“Orban has said Hungary is the safest country in Europe for Jews due to his government’s tough stance on illegal migration,” Reuters noted. “In 2018, Central European University, founded by Soros in 1991, moved the bulk of its courses out of Hungary to Vienna following a long struggle between Soros and Orban’s government.”