George Soros.    Picture: REUTERS
George Soros. Picture: REUTERS

Jerusalem — Israel’s foreign ministry has issued a statement denouncing US billionaire George Soros, a move that appeared designed to align Israel more closely with Hungary ahead of a visit to Budapest next week by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

Soros, a Hungarian-born Jew, has repeatedly been targeted by Hungary’s right-wing government, in particular over his support for more open immigration. In the latest case, Prime Minister Viktor Orban has backed a campaign in which Soros is singled out as an enemy of the state.

"Let’s not allow Soros to have the last laugh" say billboards next to a picture of the 86-year-old investor, a campaign that Jewish groups and others say foments anti-Semitism.

Soros, who rarely addresses personal attacks against him, has not commented on the billboards. But Hungarian Jewish groups and Human Rights Watch, an organisation partly funded by Soros, have condemned the campaign, saying it "evokes memories of the Nazi posters during the Second World War".

Israel’s ambassador to Hungary denounced the campaign, saying it "sows hatred and fear", an apparent reference to Hungary’s part in the deportation of 500,000 Jews during the Holocaust. But hours after the ambassador’s comments at the weekend, the foreign ministry issued a "clarification" saying that Soros was a legitimate target for criticism.

Reuters

Please sign in or register to comment.