The well-known philanthropist and investor, George Soros, embodies, and perhaps emboldens, the spirit of the American dream. His journey from a young Jewish teen in Nazi-occupied Hungary, to ranking among the richest investors in the world, certainly dares one to dream.
George Soros was born into a Jewish family in Budapest in 1930. As a 13-year-old boy, Soros witnessed the occupation of Hungry by Nazi Germany in March 1944. With the help of counterfeit documents falsifying his family’s identity, Soros’s family escaped the tragic fate that took the lives of millions during the Holocaust. After the war ended, Soros left Hungary to study at the London School of Economics. In 1956, George Soros came to America and took a job Wall Street, where his continued success positions him among the top individuals on Forbes list of the wealthiest in the world.
Apart from his monetary success, few have done more than Soros to bring an end to communism around the world. Soros’ first Open Society office was established in Budapest in 1984—challenging the states’ control of information. George Soros continued to spread this concept throughout the Soviet Empire and, for his efforts, has long been revered as an advocate for pro-democracy initiatives as well as progressive and liberal domestic agendas.
Beck’s Dangerous Campaign
However, the viewers tuning into Glenn Beck’s three-part series on Soros walked away with an entirely different impression. Beck, known for his radical right-wing demagoguery, used his time and influence on Fox News to construct a false reality and galvanize support from his audience using all-to-familiar anti-Semitic tropes.
Beck suggests that Soros is not only anti-Semitic but is unrepentant of his role as a 14-year-old boy in the confiscation of Jewish property while living in Nazi-occupied Hungary. As if such accusations were not enough, Beck describes Soros as a “Puppet Master:” an evil manipulator who is seeking a global state in which he can assume complete control. To be fair, Beck is not the only conspiracy theorist making such claims. The Hungarian Right is well known for their overt anti-Semitism. However, in Hungary such positions are called what they are: anti-Semitic.
Beck presents to his followers a world in which reality is dialectically opposed to his own right-wing, conspiracy ridden, alternate reality, where old-school anti-Semitism has once again found refuge. Hannah Arendt warns that “before mass leaders seize the power to fit reality into their lies, their propaganda is marked by its extreme contempt for facts as such.” Airing on 9 November 2010, the 72nd anniversary of Kristallnacht—the massive pogrom against the Jews in Nazi Germany in 1939—Beck’s series, portraying Soros as the “Puppet Master,” does more than falsify the facts. Glenn Beck, with the media giant Fox News behind him, utilizes destructive and dehumanizing anti-Semitic rhetoric as a means with which to incite fear and evoke action.
Given the polarity between Beck and Soros, one can only hope that the American dream will continue to be defined by the likes of George Soros, and not Glen Beck.
Learn more about George Soros: http://www.forbes.com/profile/george-soros/