So George Soros’ private enterprises were hacked and it is big news. Earlier, we covered George Soros is not betting on Armageddon and now we move a bit towards politics. One country which has been the focus of the media is Israel and the George Soros connection. I will cover that because unlike many armchair generals I have lived in the region for many years, have family there, am fluent with several of the languages etc.
Now without getting into personal details I will just say also I strongly have favored a two state solution for many years and am very anti interventionist since I believe these dumb wars in Libya and Syria make peace anywhere in the Middle East much less likely. I also have long believed and now I think the entire world realizes that even when the Israeli Palestinian conflict is resolved there are much bigger issues in the region which will remain – Wahhabi blow up Shias at Mosques (or even anti Israel demonstrators) in Iraq that clearly has nothing to do with the Palestinians.
I disagree with George Soros on many political issues and I am open about that – but I will try to look at this objectively.
Let’s start with below – here is an email which the Republican Jewish Committee sent out yesterday:
News of hacked emails just broke showing that one of J Street’s biggest donors, George Soros, funded a group to attack critics of radical Islam.
Emails indicate that Soros has given nearly $10 million to fund anti-Israel research and rhetoric – the same George Soros who gives millions to anti-Israel Democrats in Congress.
Now, the truth has come out: Soros’ mission is to “challenge Israel’s racist and anti-democratic policies” by delegitimizing Israel in the international community.
Of course, this was followed by a request for a donation but we will leave that out although you can feel free to donate to ValueWalk!
Anyway, a lot of the more right wing Israeli media has expressed concern over George Soros’ ties to “anti Israel” groups as the RNC did above. I wanted to go through some of these groups. I can go through the original docs but they have been combed so thoroughly and I have little time so I want to see what the critics are saying. NOTE: I did look at some of the docs and combed many media outlets to see the criticisms but focused on two in this article.
Eli Lake of Bloomberg View:
When it comes to Israel, that translates into funding organizations like Breaking the Silence, a group of Israeli ex-soldiers who tour Europe and the U.S. to discuss the Israel Defense Force’s war crimes. The document says that between 2012 and 2014, the Open Society Foundations gave this group $100,000 — a significant donation for a group that in 2012 had a budget of only $841,410.
Funding groups like Breaking the Silence is not an accident. As the 2013 leaked report says: “Our theory of change was based on strengthening the advocacy efforts of civil society organizations and platforms in order to maintain sustained and targeted international advocacy that would oblige the international community (mostly Europe and America) to act and to hold Israel accountable to its obligations under the international law.”
So I know this group and I disagree with their platform since I know there are individual cases of rights violations as in all armies but it is not Israeli policy. This group makes it seem like it is official Israeli policy to commit war crimes so in that sense Lake is right. BUT – most of the anti Israel activists single out the Jews which makes it obvious what their intent is. As Lake himself admits in the article Soros really does promote (his version) of human rights in countries across the globe and off the radar (I saw Uzbekistan in some of the original docs). So Soros is consistent he is not singling out Israel – he holds all countries to the same standards.
Jerusalem Post which is a slightly center of right Israeli publication has more:
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.
It cites as an example the Jewish Nation State bill, advanced by its sponsors to entrench Israel’s Jewish status, but decried by some Arab Israelis as further marginalizing non-Jewish minorities. The bill has yet to pass.
Now there are a few points i need to make here. Last one first- the bill which was not surprisingly mis-interpreted by the media is controversial. The Jerusalem Post itself cites a poll that 40 percent of Israelis think the bill would damage the country and depending the terminology a good percentage oppose the bill even if it is not a majority.
Now to the first part – I probably do not like one group that is mentioned in connection with George Soros and Israel. Every group is controversial and is left wing but none are openly anti-Israel. Also, Soros again is consistent he is not just supporting left wing groups in Israel (unlike many false human right advocates) he is supporting them across the globe.
I notice one point that the media seems to miss in connection with George Soros and Israel. Every single group I see he has given to is Palestinian or Israeli Arab or is anti Government. He has given no money to groups for poor Israeli sephardim or Haredim – but this is not unique to Soros – many Jewish philanthropists love giving to other groups give to other groups instead of poor jews – I am not sure what the motivation is but its the truth.
UPDATE: I found a Jewish organization Soros donates to – ORT
I am not sure why the media got so worked up unless I missed something. We all know Soros backs far left groups so there is little in here which is new.
I rate the George Soros funding anti Israel groups as semi true at best.
Michael Vachon a spokeperson for George Soros did not respond for a ValueWalk request to comment.