Ever since Wikileaks broke a few years ago, hacking scandals have become, if not boring, then almost routine. Another day, another hacked file dump it seems. But last week’s latest hacking announcement has taken the world by storm.
George Soros, the very left-wing, ultra-liberal, progressive philanthropist is a (to be very charitable) an enigmatic character with a very strange history. There are those who accuse him of being a kapo during the War, but I’m not sure that was a fair description. And even if he was, he was just a child and couldn’t have had much choice. His Wikipedia bio says:
Soros was 13 years old in March 1944 when Nazi Germanyoccupied Hungary. When Jewish children were barred from attending school by the Nazis, Soros and the other schoolchildren were made to report to the Jewish Council, which had been established during the occupation. Soros later described this time to writer Michael Lewis:
The Jewish Council asked the little kids to hand out the deportation notices. I was told to go to the Jewish Council. And there I was given these small slips of paper…. It said report to the rabbinical seminary at 9 am… And I was given this list of names. I took this piece of paper to my father. He instantly recognized it. This was a list of Hungarian Jewish lawyers. He said, “You deliver the slips of paper and tell the people that if they report they will be deported.”
Soros did not return to that job and went into hiding the next day. Later that year, at age 14, Soros lived with and posed as the godson of an employee of the Hungarian Ministry of Agriculture. The official was at one point ordered to inventory the remaining contents of the estate of a wealthy Jewish family that had fled the country; rather than leave Soros alone in the city, the official brought him along. The next year, 1945, Soros survived the Battle of Budapest, in which Soviet and German forces fought house to house through the city.
He eventually made his way to England, studied economics and eventually made his fortune.
As far as the hacked emails scandal is concerned, this part of his biography is very relevant:
Soros is a well known supporter of American progressive and American liberal political causes. Between 1979 and 2011 Soros donated more than $11 billion to various philanthropic causes. He played a significant role in the peaceful transition from communism to capitalism in Eastern Europe (1984–89) and provided one of Europe’s largest higher education endowments to the Central European University in Budapest. Soros is also the chairman of the Open Society Foundations.
It is this Open Society Foundation which is at the centre of the latest scandal.
The Jerusalem Post reports that the hacked emails reveal Soros’s plan to fight “Israel’s racist policies”:
WASHINGTON— 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.
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.
Among achievements listed in the Sept. 1 document, the Arab Regional Office includes increased advocacy by “Palestinian citizens of Israel,” or PCI, in international forums, challenging Israel’s “racist” policies in the face of its reputation as a democracy.
The document advocates the “development of a more organized and efficient PCI advocacy and presence in international forums (UN, EU, US) especially in light of the increasingly limited domestic avenues available for seeking justice.”
“In shifting to international advocacy, PCI’s [sic] are up against Israel and its image as a democratic state before the international community, therefore Palestinian civil society organizations in Israel feel the pressure of filling this gap by strengthening their relations with international actors and systems such as the European Union and United Nations to put their issue on the international agenda,” it says.
“There have been a number of successes in challenging Israel’s racist and anti-democratic policies in the international arena and influencing EU-Israel bilateral negotiations,” the document says.
The reason I called Soros enigmatic at the beginning of this post is because his philanthropic activity on the one hand promoted democracy in Eastern Europe, yet on the other hand promoted extremely anti-Israel organizations in the West.
Former communists in the Eastern Bloc have for years reviled Soros for promoting democracy and free markets in their countries. At the same time some Jewish groups have labeled Soros, a child survivor of the Holocaust, as anti-Israel.
The philanthropy that he extended to Palestinian and other anti-Israel NGOs that work to undermine Israel’s sovereignty has been extremely damaging for Israel: (my emphases):
An Aug. 6, 2015 document details Open Society’s Arab Regional Office funding of civil society groups in Israel since 2001, amounting to $9,591,801. The group obtaining the most money is Adalah, a legal rights group for Arab Israelis, which received a total of $2,688,561 over the period.
Another grantee is the New Israel Fund, a clearinghouse for Israeli civil rights groups, which received $837,500 from 2002-2015.
Notably, the Sept. 1, 2015 Arab Regional Office review depicts as a positive a controversial initiative, the 2007 Democratic Constitution, calling it one of several “important cooperation efforts among leading OCI civil society groups.”
That document, which the review describes as “the most direct and substantive challenge posed by Palestinian citizens to their status in the Jewish Israeli state” was decried by pro-Israel groups at the time as promoting an outcome that would all but remove Israel’s Jewish character.
Adalah was one of the drafting bodies, and the subsequent controversy led the New Israel Fund in 2010 to revise its funding criteria to reject any group that “works to deny the right of the Jewish people to sovereign self-determination within Israel.” The NIF policy was not retroactive, and it still funds Adalah.
And the final kicker:
NGO Monitor, an Israeli watchdog, uncovered among the DC Leaks trove a separate document prepared by Open Society’s European Policy Institute, suggesting questions for September 2014 hearings to confirm senior European Union foreign policy officials.
Among the questions are one that promotes labeling products from West Bank settlements and another that favors the ascension of the Palestinian Authority to the International Criminal Court. Israel adamantly opposes both policies.
The hacked emails revealed even more damaging information in connection with the Iran nuclear deal. The Times of Israel had wondered where the anti-nuclear group Ploughshares had received its funding. The answer lay with various sources, one of which was very likely George Soros’s Open Society Foundation, as Adam Kredo explains in the Washington Free Beacon:
An organization that played a key role in the White House’s effort to mislead the public and Congress about last summer’s nuclear agreement with Iran requested $750,000 for this campaign from a foundation backed by liberal billionaire George Soros, according to funding documents leaked to the public.
The Ploughshares Fund, a liberal organization cited by top White House officials as a chief architect of the Obama administration’s campaign to push the Iran deal, requested the cash from Soros’s Open Society Foundations so that it could pay off “experts and validators” of the administration’s diplomacy with Iran, according to a funding proposal titled, “Defending Iran Nuclear Diplomacy.”
Ploughshares was cited by senior White House officials as a chief architect of this campaign, which flooded the media with various experts touting the deal.
Ploughshares requested the $750,000 in order to solidify its pro-Iran network and bring others into the fold, according to the funding request.
This included efforts to “broaden and better coordinate circle of experts and validators who support diplomacy, including prominent US, European and Israeli military and diplomatic personalities, as well as Iranian human rights and civil society leaders,” according to the document.
Ploughshares raised concerns that opponents of the deal would scuttle negotiations before the administration achieved a final agreement.
“One potential risk is that unforeseen events or actions by opponents in the US, Iran, Saudi Arabia or Israel somehow make a deal impossible before the grant is fully implemented,” the document states. “Another potential risk is that negotiations on an accord or implementation phases extend beyond timeframe of the grant, and opportunities to derail diplomacy persist after resources might have been expended.”
The money would be used to facilitate “mainstream and social media outreach by validators along with other public and private efforts to shape the debate in support of an agreement and continued diplomacy,” the request states.
It is not clear whether Ploughshares request was actually answered however.
One of the strangest things about this hacking dump has been the almost total media blackout about it outside of Israeli, Jewish or conservative media outlets (via Debby P):
Scandal: Leaked documents released a few days ago provide juicy insider details of how a fabulously rich businessman has been using his money to influence elections in Europe, underwrite an extremist group, target U.S. citizens who disagreed with him, dictate foreign policy, and try to sway a Supreme Court ruling, among other things. Pretty compelling stuff, right?
Not if it involves leftist billionaire George Soros. In this case, the mainstream press couldn’t care less.
On Saturday, a group called DC Leaks posted more than 2,500 documents going back to 2008 that it pilfered from Soros’ Open Society Foundations’ servers. Since then, the mainstream media have shown zero interest in this gold mine of information.
We couldn’t find a single story on the New York Times, CNN, Washington Post, CBS News or other major news sites that even noted the existence of these leaked documents, let alone reported on what’s in them.
I admit I found that hard to believe so I carried out a Google search on “George Soros hacked emails”, and besides an article in the UK Independent, I did not find any other articles in the foreign mainstream media (i.e. excluding Israel).
The IBD article concludes:
Thomas Lifson, writing in the American Thinker blog, said “Soros got the U.S. and other accomplices to intervene in the internal affairs of a sovereign state…. How is this not huge news?”
If Soros were a rock-ribbed conservative who supported Republican candidates and causes, you can bet that a swarm of reporters would right now be lustily tearing into these documents determined to expose any and every shred of evidence of influence peddling and misdeeds.
But because Soros is a hard-core leftist, he apparently gets a pass. Shameful.
Even if there was no conspiracy to hide Soros’s record, one cannot help but wonder at the silence of the media. We should be thankful to Wikileaks for enlightening us as to the massive power that George Soros wields in the halls of government, no matter his politics. No unelected individual should be able to influence governments to that extent. Soros talks about promoting democracy. Using his money to influence governments, and even to undermine them in the case of Israel, is the absolute opposite of democracy.
He should practice what he preaches.