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GOP Candidate Accused of Antisemitism Over Claim Soros is 'Inserting' Activists in School Boards

© AP Photo / Kin CheungBillionaire financier George Soros
Billionaire financier George Soros - Sputnik International, 1920, 22.10.2021
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Virginians will go the polls on 2 November to elect their next governor, with Republican candidate Glenn Youngkin and the Democrats’ Terry McAuliffe regularly making it into national news amid their fiery debates on hot button issues ranging from the Covid vaccine and mask mandates to abortion rights, climate change and election integrity.
GOP gubernatorial candidate Glen Youngkin has run afoul of at least one Jewish American lawmaker after alleging that billionaire hedge fund manager and ‘philanthropist’ George Soros is responsible for the “chaos” in Virginia’s school system.
“The blame for these wrongs and the present chaos in our schools lay squarely, squarely at the feet of 40-year politician Terry McAuliffe,” Youngkin said, speaking at a town hall in Burke, northern Virginia on Tuesday.
“But also, George Soros-backed allies. These allies that are in the left liberal progressive movement, they’ve inserted political operatives into our school system disguised as school boards,” the politician claimed.
Youngkin did not elaborate on the allegations.
Soros has not shied away from his Open Society Foundations’ activities in both the public school system and in post-secondary education, and has committed hundreds of millions of dollars in aid and grant funding aimed at “transforming” education, both in the US and abroad, to inculcate the billionaire’s vision of a liberal, globalised world. He is also known to have taken an active interest in Virginia politics, backing liberal candidates running for prosecutors in Democratic primaries in two separate races in the state in 2019.
However, Soros and his foundations have not publicised any efforts to work with school boards, which typically consist of parents of children, and whose authority is typically limited to setting spending priorities, picking a superintendent, and developing policies on schools’ day-to-day operations.
Antisemitism?
Whatever Youngkin meant by his comments, some have interpreted his words to constitute “anti-Semitic” speech.
In a tweet on Wednesday, Democratic Representative Elaine Luria, a practicing Jew, called out Youngkin over his “unacceptable” comments, suggesting that “evoking George Soros as a shadowy funder is an anti-Semitic conspiracy theory.”
WUSA9 reporter Bruce Leshan echoed Luria’s tone, suggesting in a tweet that “critics might question whether” Youngkin’s remarks were “anti-Semitic.”
Youngkin campaign communications director Matthew Wolking dismissed the antisemitism claims, saying “the Twitter ratio [Leshan] received for his ridiculous partisan nonsense was well deserved.”
Fox News host Laura Ingraham also defended the Republican candidate, quipping “So let me get this straight – unless you praise Soros, you can’t talk about Soros? ‘Critics might question’ your transparent buffoonery,” she suggested.
Soros is known to have contributed at least $15,000 to a Luria-affiliated political action committee, and her campaign, in 2019 and 2020.
Veteran Meddler
George Soros is a popular target for critics ranging from the left to the right and everything in between over his spending of large amounts of cash on "civil society initiatives." The billionaire has over 30 years of experience spreading his vision of a globalised, socially liberal, market-driven world order, getting his start in politics in the mid-1980s, when he provided financial and organisational support to anti-communist movements in Eastern Europe, including his native Hungary. In the early 1990s, Soros set up institutions encouraging political, economic and social reforms throughout the former Soviet Union via grants for textbooks, education, media, and non-government organisations. Soros’ organisations have since reached over 60 countries worldwide, including the United States. Russia kicked Soros’ foundations out in 2015 after Moscow deemed them to be a threat to national security.
Ahead of the 2016 election and during Donald Trump’s presidency, Soros’ foundations were known to have partnered with over 50 organisations aimed at bringing him down, among them Democratic Party-affiliated networks and "Never Trump" neoconservative groups such as the McCain Institute. In 2017, over 150,000 Americans signed a White House petition to have Soros declared a domestic terrorist and to strip him of his assets.
In the financial world, Soros is best known for his currency speculation against the British pound in 1992, which earned him his a cool billion dollars in profit, but ended up costing the British economy billions of pounds in losses. In 2002, Soros was convicted of insider trading by a French court and fined 2.2 million euros, with the European Court of Human Rights upholding the conviction in 2011.
Earlier this year, Russian Security Council Chief Nikolai Patrushev accused Soros and his foundations of playing a role in the widespread unrest which rocked America in 2020 following the police killing of George Floyd by police, and warned that national governments are at risk of an excessive dependence on NGOs when it comes to setting policy, including national security policy.
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