Newsline , Society

No, Criticizing George Soros and Globalization Isn’t “Antisemitic”

Posted on Monday, May 20, 2024
by David Lewis Schaefer



In an obvious effort to defuse criticism of Democrats as hostile toward Israel and indeed toward Judaism, The New York Times recently ran a front-page story, continuing for two entire inside pages, titled “The Antisemitic Tropes Used by Republicans.” To make their case, the Times turned to a now-familiar left-wing tactic of panning legitimate critiques of George Soros and the effects of globalization as “antisemitic.”

The story began by citing House Speaker Mike Johnson’s remarks at Columbia University decrying the “virus of antisemitism” that pro-Palestinian (actually, pro-Hamas) speakers were spreading around the country. While noting that campus demonstrators against Israel have shouted that the Jews should “return to Poland” (where three million of them were killed by the Nazis) and citing a video showing a leader of the Columbia protests stating that “Zionists don’t deserve to live,” Times reporters remained strikingly agnostic on how far these “protests on the political left constitute coded or even direct attacks on Jews.”

Instead, the Times endeavored to refocus readers’ attention on a neglected “trend on the right,” maintaining that despite Donald Trump’s unqualified assertions of support for Israel, “increasingly through the Trump era many Republicans have helped inject into the mainstream thinly veiled anti-Jewish messages with deep historical roots.”

But despite that claim, the Times reporters were unable to locate a single expression of antisemitic or anti-Israeli remarks by any Republican office holder or party leader, with the single exception of an unfortunate tweet by Trump during the 2016 presidential campaign of a photo of Hillary Clinton against a backdrop of $100 bills and a Star of David.

Instead, the Times story equated any Republican statements condemning “globalization,” or criticizing George Soros, the prominent Jewish-born billionaire and recent donor to leftist causes, including Hamas demonstrations, with antisemitism. The Times argues, as have many on the left, that globalization has long been a code word for a worldwide Jewish conspiracy, and that criticisms of Soros, who indeed has used some of his billions to advance globalist causes, must ipso facto be motivated by antisemitism.

Trump’s conduct as president, notably his negotiation of the 2020 Abraham Accords, through which the U.S. arranged an historic normalization of relations between the Arab oil sheikhdoms Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates with Israel, should suffice to erase any stain of antisemitism from his campaign record. Trump’s son-in-law and senior adviser Jared Kushner, who engineered the negotiations, is also an observant Jew.

But as regards Soros, one must note that the term “globalization” has multiple meanings, and the extent and significance of Soros’s association with it depends partly on which sense is being used.

At the broadest level, globalization, in the sense of growing international trade and with it the circulation of ideas, is one of the great fruits of the 18th-century Enlightenment, as espoused by the great liberal philosopher Montesquieu and the Scottish economist and moral philosopher Adam Smith. Both Montesquieu and Smith celebrated the spread of both domestic and international commerce, not only for its economic benefits (generating greater prosperity through the division of labor and the removal of artificial restraints on trade), but more importantly for its political ones.

Montesquieu specifically anticipated that the spread of global commerce, by generating familiarity with other cultures and customs, would promote international peace. Freeing domestic commerce from government-imposed monopolies and guild restrictions, he theorized, would both enhance national wealth and facilitate the ability of ordinary people to improve their economic status through initiative and hard work.

Although the growth of global trade has not had the pacifying effect for which Montesquieu hoped, there can be no doubt that it has generated an enormous elevation of ordinary people’s standard of living throughout the world, as economic historian Deirdre McCloskey has demonstrated most extensively in a three-volume trilogy. Free international trade (with restrictions for the sake of national security) is a cause that many mainstream Republicans as well as Democrats favor – when their hands aren’t being tied by the demands of special interests (particular industries and associated labor unions, who fear that foreign imports will outcompete them). Among its leading advocates were Ronald Reagan and Margaret Thatcher.

Soros himself has been an advocate of globalization in this sense, albeit with the proviso that various modifications be made to soften the effect of international competition on less developed nations. (Ironically, among the leading opponents of globalization, including associated institutions like the World Trade Organization, have been members of the far left, who rioted at the 1999 meeting of the WTO in Seattle.) In fact, Soros became a billionaire through his perfectly legal and highly successful speculation on the international currency market.

But globalization also has a broader and more problematic meaning: the attempt to subsume national sovereignty under international institutions like the United Nations and the European Union.

Originally established as a free-trade and travel zone (the Common Market), the E.U. has expanded into an enormous bureaucracy, yet has long been recognized to suffer a “democratic deficit,” meaning that despite the pretense of being run by an elected assembly, it is actually operated by effectively unaccountable bureaucrats.

As for the U.N., the problem is even more obvious: how could a General Assembly consisting of nearly 200 member nations, each having a single vote (from tiny Nauru to populous India, China, and the U.S.), most of them governed in an authoritarian manner, possibly “represent” the world’s people? Nor is the Security Council, let alone the U.N.’s enormous bureaucracy, in any way representative or subject to worldwide popular control, whatever that might mean.

The hypocrisy of the U.N. is signified by its assigning membership and even leadership of its Human Rights Council to tyrannies like Iran, Syria, and Russia –along with the frequency with which its Assembly passes resolutions condemning alleged human rights violations in the Middle East’s only constitutional democracy, Israel.

Perhaps worst of all is the heavily biased International Criminal Court of Justice, which the U.S. has wisely refrained from joining, but which is currently considering charges of “war crimes” against Israel. Nonetheless, self-styled “liberals” persist in urging that the U.S. defer to the authority of U.N. agencies, and mock those (like British citizens who voted for Brexit, removing their country from the E.U.) who resist ceding national sovereignty in this manner.

For present purposes, we need not explore Soros’s relation to globalization in this broader sense. But those who denounce the negative use of the term “globalization” as a “dog whistle” for antisemitism rely on the fact that in the past, antisemites did indeed denounce the Jews as “rootless cosmopolitans” who secretly conspired to rule the world through their banking interests (e.g. the Rothschilds) and connections to their coreligionists abroad.

The apex of such nonsense, prior to the rise of Nazism, was the Russian Tsarist forgery, “Protocols of the Elders of Zion,” which still circulates among lunatic political groups on both the extreme right and left. Historically, Jews seemed “rootless” because in most nations, they were denied the rights of citizenship, but were allowed to reside in particular countries only at the rulers’ pleasure. They were historically subject to royal extortions and mass expulsions (from England in the 11th century, Spain and Portugal in the 15th, for instance) and were often victimized by vicious popular pogroms, during the Crusades, and in Tsarist Russia.

None of this, however, has anything to do with denunciations of globalization in contemporary America. The United States was founded on the principle of religious toleration, expressed not only in the First Amendment, but even earlier by George Washington’s famous Letter to the Jewish Congregation of Newport, Rhode Island. While significant vestiges of antisemitism indeed remained in our society until well into the twentieth century, Jews have enjoyed a greater degree of liberty and security under our Constitution than in any other nation, since the Diaspora, outside of Israel itself.

Although a large majority of Jewish voters came to affiliate with the Democrat Party through most of the twentieth century – regarding the Republicans as more of a nativist party – that perception has begun to change, as the Democrats have increasingly welcomed antisemitic factions into their midst.

What is really at stake in the contemporary debate about globalization is not religious prejudice, but rather the assault on national sovereignty by partisans of the U.N. and other international bodies, favored in this country by politicians and intellectuals who despise the “narrow” patriotism displayed by those whom Hillary Clinton labeled the “deplorables.” (Remember Barack Obama’s dismissive response to the question of whether he regarded the U.S. as an “exceptional” nation.)

The globalists in this sense, almost exclusively members of the Democrat Party, are particularly offended not only by Americans’ failure to adopt a sufficiently “cosmopolitan” point of view, but also – as Israeli-American political scientist Yoram Hazony has documented in his book The Virtue of Nationalism – by the stubborn attachment of Israelis to their national independence, and their refusal to forsake their sovereignty in return for guarantees by international bodies to protect them.

Ever since Israelis achieved remarkable prosperity and successful self-government in the tiny plot of land they inhabit, they have lost the sympathy of American and European academics and activists who now prefer to favor the cause of ostensibly oppressed Palestinians. In the words of the American Jewish writer Dara Horn, “people love dead Jews.” They purport to mourn victims of the Holocaust, but fall short of caring for Jews when they’re still alive.

Yet Palestinian representatives have repeatedly rejected Israeli peace proposals, culminating in Yasser Arafat’s spurning in 2001, during the last days of the Clinton Administration, of the offer of sovereignty over almost all of the West Bank and Gaza. Although President Clinton blamed Arafat for the failure of the 2001 peace talks, had the PLO leader agreed to the offer, he undoubtedly would have been assassinated shortly thereafter by Palestinian radicals, like those who launched the Intifadas and the October 7 attack, and who won’t be satisfied until all the land “from the river to the sea” has been freed of Jews – realizing Hitler’s dream for Europe.

Palestinians’ resentment of the success Israelis have attained through hard work and inventiveness – earning the country the title “Startup Nation” – mirrors the irrational envy that generated the abuse Jews suffered from their non-Jewish neighbors during the two millennia of the Diaspora.

It is worth noting that while George Soros has thrown the weight of his influence and his money behind the pro-Hamas demonstrators (having disclaimed any Zionist sympathies), Hazony is the founder of the National Conservative movement in the U.S., which has attracted the support of such mainstream conservatives as Christopher DeMuth, former president of the American Enterprise Institute. Regardless of how far one agrees with the NatCon program, their example demonstrates that there is no incompatibility between loyalty to America and full support of its ally Israel.

If there are any Americans who merit the charge of divided loyalties (at best), it is the politicians and activists openly backing Hamas and their philanthropic and academic supporters. Those who stand for the fundamental principles of American constitutionalism and criticize individuals like Soros for their moral confusion have nothing to be ashamed of.

David Lewis Schaefer is a Professor Emeritus of Political Science at College of the Holy Cross.

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30 days ago

Interesting article but nothing new. Same Leftist and global march toward world tyranny. Once the USA is eliminated as a major player, the rest of the world dominos will fall. So, what is at stake? This nation has probably seen its last Republican President in Trump. The Left has him tied up in court where he can’t get on the campaign trail to influence the Millennials and Gen Z voters. Nobody wants the Biden/Harris combo. Expect the Democrats to come up with a new candidate at the upcoming convention — Governor Newsom of California fame. He is running a shadow campaign that people have not picked up on. He is out to get the votes of Millennials and Gen Z population who now make up most of the voting population. Never mind that he has ruined California economy but look what will happen to the USA if he is elected to office — Californication of the US. He will continue to move forward Obama’s plan of ruining the country. The Mills and Gen Z are only looking for free things from the government and will vote for the candidate that give them these items. The Millennials and Gen Z need to be presented the real facts before it is too late.

lawrence greenberg
lawrence greenberg
29 days ago

I have been saying for more than three years now that if a serious effort is not made by a majority of the states to implement some sort of election integrity, this nation is finished. Well, since the election of 2020, during which massive fraud of every imaginable sort was utilized by the Left to steal the election (and the same fraud was utilized in 2022), only Texas and Florida, and to a lesser extent Georgia, have done anything about election integrity. At this point in time, it seems very unlikely that anything further will be done, which means the Communists – er, I mean the Democrats – are being given a green light to steal the 2024 election and finish off this nation once and for all. We are so screwed…

Phillip Nagle
Phillip Nagle
29 days ago

George Soros is a former Nazi collaborator. The idea that he is he trying to evade legitimate criticism by hiding behind his Jewish ancestry is grotesque. He has nothing to do with Judaism, he is anti Israel, he is an all around low life.

29 days ago

No publication makes more deliberate misrepresentations than the NY Times. I have long referred to Charles Blow and Paul Krugman (of NYT fame) as two of “the 3 Stooges of Modern Journalism”.
I have identified the “3rd Stooge” as Eugene Robinson, though he was still writing for Washington Post when I last saw any of his, uhhh, “journalism”.

Robert Zuccaro
Robert Zuccaro
29 days ago

The Race Card is just another Marxist tool used for convenience. For example: suggesting COVID was caused by Wuhan Lab is “racist” but not a stereotypical Chinese “wet market? And just wait to see what names they call him if Trump makes Tim Scott is VP choice…

28 days ago

Suggested reading:
Murray Rothbard: Conceived in Liberty
Ludwig von Mises: Omnipotent Government; The Anti-Capitalist Mentality; & Human Action
All available at

29 days ago

The lowly George Soros is Jewish and has been trying to hide that fact by throwing money at agitators to disguise himself.

Ray Doyle LFP, WA
Ray Doyle LFP, WA
29 days ago

several countries want to put soros in prison a couple want to hang him. we should deport him.

29 days ago

This is the reason you don’t let Soros and Son monopolize news media. One of the reasons that Great Britain wanted the Jewish people their home land was because the Jewish people were instrumental in communist revolutions in Europe read your history. Now enter George Soros and his communist influence. I love the Hebrews, but they have been instrumental in communist development.

Steve Greenwell
Steve Greenwell
29 days ago

The claim that opposition to global sovereignty is a code word used by right-wing[?] anti-Semites is nothing new. It’s just as much a lie as the Protocols were over a century ago when Sergei Nilus served it up on a stick.

John Shipway
John Shipway
29 days ago

If disagreeing with the policies of the Israeli government is so “antisemitic” that Congress is trying to legislate such aspects of the First Amendment as being a crime……..then can I walk into an elementary school and slaughter every child there and any mother of a child that may happen to be there and not be prosecuted as my act would be a direct copy of the actions currently being implemented by the government in Israel?
I would hope not but the bill exists regardless.

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