Analysts believed Netanyahu joining Orban on this issue was strange considering both the Israeli PM and billionaire investor are members of the Jewish faith, and Orban has been accused of anti-Semitism in the past. In a piece titled “Why Netanyahu Hates George Soros So Much”, left leaning Israeli paper Haaretz, shines light on possible motives behind the rift.
According to Haaretz:
In 2013, a right-wing watchdog group, NGO Monitor, issued a monograph called “Bad Investment,” which aimed at detailing “how Soros-funded groups increase tensions in a troubled region.” It listed what it called “problematic” Israeli groups, including Gisha, Breaking the Silence and legal rights group Adala.
In August 2016, a leak of hacked documents from the Open Society Foundations included emails discussing a strategy of “challenging Israel’s racist and antidemocratic policies” in international forums.
Soros has been a supporter of J Street since the “pro-Israel, pro-peace” organization was founded as an effort to counteract AIPAC’s influence, lobbying the White House and Capitol Hill to push for an Israeli-Palestinian peace settlement.
He also supports Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International – groups that regularly chastise and criticize Israeli policies.
Most of the groups supported by Soros have been the targets of Netanyahu’s NGO law, passed a year ago, which mandates special reporting requirements for organizations that get most of their funding from foreign governments.
Netanyahu may also be thinking about the future, as George Soros’ son, Alex, begins to ramp up his own political efforts. Recently, Alex Soros launched progressive PAC Bend the Arc, focused on electing liberal candidates to represent Jewish-American affairs. The PAC claims to avoid foreign policy issues, but it is not clear how that is realistic considering Congressmen are deeply involved in foreign affairs.
According to POLITICO:
The son of Democratic mega-donor George Soros is gearing up to play a more active role in the 2016 election with the launch of new political action committee focused on representing the views of Jewish Americans — beyond foreign policy.
Alex Soros, 29, who has steadily increased his political and philanthropic giving in recent years, has helped establish Bend the Arc PAC, the first ever national Jewish political action committee in America focused entirely on domestic issues. Bend the Arc, a non-profit, has an advocacy arm chaired by the younger Soros but has not previously had a political action committee.
Bend the Arc PAC will back progressive candidates by making direct contributions to their campaign committees. It will focus on issues such as income inequality, marriage equality, social justice and immigration reform.
“There’s an opportunity to launch something that actually speaks to what the American Jewish community cares the most about and to show the narrative of what the real American Jewish experience is,” Alex Soros said in an interview.
Netanyahu and Soros have been at odds for quite some time, as the leftist billionaire slammed Israel’s “racist” policies as leaked emails from 2016 show.
The Jerusalem Post reported:
Hacked emails show that the Open Society Foundations, led by George Soros, has as an objective “challenging Israel’s racist and anti-democratic policies” in international forums, in part by questioning Israel’s reputation as a democracy.
The documents are available on a website, reportedly backed by Russia, that uses anti-Semitic stereotypes to attack Soros.
They reveal that Open Society, which was founded and is chaired by the hedge fund billionaire and philanthropist, gave close to $10 million since 2001 to groups advancing the rights of Arab Israelis, with an emphasis in recent years on countering what one document says are Israel’s “restrictive measures” against minorities.
“In recent years the radicalization of public opinion and consecutive Israeli right wing governments have resulted in more restrictive measures against Palestinians within Israel,” a Sept. 1, 2015 review of Open Society’s Arab Regional Office’s work said.
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