Local Opinion: American Campaign Strategist On The Soros-Campaign In Hungary

  • 30 Jan 2019 9:42 AM
  • BudaPost
Local Opinion: American Campaign Strategist On The Soros-Campaign In Hungary
A left-wing analyst and a liberal weekly comment on the the anti-Soros campaign and accuse the government of cynical fear-mongering and using anti-Semitic tropes.

In an early January interview with the Swiss weekly Das Magazin, George Birnbaum claimed that it was his and his late business partner Arthur Finkelstein’s idea that the Orbán government should attack George Soros in their campaign.

Finkelstein and Birnbaum worked for the Századvég think tank. Birnbaum described George Soros as the ideal personification of both liberalism and global capitalism, thus by targeting the Hungarian-American businessman, Fidesz could do much to boost its popularity.

Birnbaum denied accusations that their campaign was anti-Semitic or that it could stir anti-Semitic sentiments. Government spokesman Balázs Hidvégi said Birnbaum has never been a Fidesz advisor and Mr Soros didn’t have to be invented as a scapegoat, for he was actually active in politics, as shown by the Financial Times’ decision to choose him as Person of the Year 2018.

In its weekly editorial, Magyar Narancs sees the interview as proof that the government wanted to foment hatred and fear by using George Soros as a bogeyman.

The liberal weekly likens the government’s campaign against George Soros to the propaganda of the 1930s by the far-right and of the Communist in the 1950s.

The authors simply do not believe Birnbaum’s comments that he and Finkelstein were unaware of the campaign’s anti-Semitic undertones. The main purpose of the stunt was to divert attention away from corruption, Magyar Narancs contends.

The liberal weekly accuses ‘the whole Hungarian public administration’ of having participated in the anti-Soros campaign.

In 168 Óra, Zoltán Lakner also contends that the government’s campaign against Mr Soros was conscious of its own anti-Semitic overtones.

The left-wing political scientist accuses the government of the kind of cynical and amoral politics common in non-democratic systems, although both Birnbaum and Finkelstein have only worked in democracies, including the United States and Israel.

Lakner suspects that their campaign has made the Hungarian public more prone to believing all kinds of conspiracy theories.

MTI Photo

  • How does this content make you feel?

XpatLoop Media Partner

BudaPost

Launched in May 2011 to provide a balanced picture of matters covered in Hungary’s national press. Their aim is to make it easier for English-speakers to understand where this country is now and where it’s heading according to the full spectrum of media opinions.

Explore More Reports

  • Local Opinion: PM Orbán’s Visit To Israel

    Local Opinion: PM Orbán’s Visit To Israel

    • 23 Jul 2018 11:41 AM

    A left-wing columnist describes the friendship between Mr Orbán and Prime Minister Netanyahu of Israel as an ’infernal game’, while a pro-government reporter underlines the shared stance of the two statesmen against radical Islam.

  • Opinion: Hungary Is A Major Political And Economic Player In Montenegro

    Opinion: Hungary Is A Major Political And Economic Player In Montenegro

    • 23 Jul 2018 8:57 AM

    Donald Trump comes out with something outrageous practically every day. Take, for instance, his remarks on Montenegro. In an interview with Tucker Carlson of Fox News he made the following brilliant observation: “Montenegro is a tiny country with very strong people…. They’re very aggressive people. They may get aggressive, and congratulations, you’re in a world war three.”

  • Local Opinion: Hungary's ’Stop Soros’ Bill Passed

    Local Opinion: Hungary's ’Stop Soros’ Bill Passed

    • 21 Jun 2018 11:40 AM

    A leftist analyst writes that the government side borrowed the ‘Stop Soros’ campaign from their Macedonian allies, while pro-government commentators believe that it expresses the will of the Hungarian people.