Soros Conspiracy Theories Prominent in Antisemitic Attacks Against U.S. Politicians, Report Finds

Report shows 39 percent of 'problematic' tweets directed at Jewish members of Congress with 'antisemitic tropes and misinformation' referenced Soros

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Billionaire investor George Soros attends the Schumpeter Award in Vienna, Austria June 21, 2019.
Billionaire investor George Soros attends the Schumpeter Award in Vienna, Austria June 21, 2019. Credit: Lisi Niesner/ REUTERS

Financier George Soros often appears in a central role in the “alarming” number of antisemitic tweets directed at Jewish politicians, according to the findings of a new study conducted by the Anti-Defamation League’s Center for Technology.

The extensive ADL analysis found “a high volume of antisemitic tropes and misinformation on Twitter” directed at prominent Jews serving in the United States Congress.

The tweets examined in the study were taken from a single month over the summer, and were directed at or mentioning incumbent Jewish senators and members of the House of Representatives.

Among the nearly 6,000 tweets identified as being “problematic” were many that were “related to the broad conspiracy theory that Jews control key political, financial, and media systems and exploit them for their advantage to the detriment of others,” and charging that they belong to the so-called “Deep State” or are part of a cabal “controlled by the Rothschild family to benefit the Jewish community.”

Tweets referencing Soros, the Hungarian-born Jewish billionaire and Holocaust survivor, comprised 39 percent of the “problematic” tweets. The “prominent and frequent” conspiracy theory around him, the study found, was one in which he was responsible for “funding and organizing the political careers of Jewish incumbents, the media, and Black Lives Matter and Antifa protests in order to assert a Communist or “Jewish supremacy” agenda in the United States.

Some tweets charge that the incumbent Jewish politicians are colluding with Soros as part of a Deep State or a New World Order that is engineering a “globalist” agenda.

The ADL attributes the growing number of Soros-related tweets over the past year to the popular QAnon group, whose followers believe that a cabal of Satan-worshipping Democrats, Hollywood celebrities and billionaires run the world while engaging in pedophilia and human trafficking.

According to the ADL research, the two Jewish incumbent politicians who are receiving the lion’s share of the racist tweets were congressional leaders from the state of New York: Senate Minority leader Chuck Shumer, and Representative Jerry Nadler, who serves as chairman of the House Judiciary Committee – both politicians played prominent roles in President Donald Trump’s impeachment proceedings.

Among the tweets identified in the study that included explicit antisemitic language, 28 percent were directed at Nadler, followed by 23 percent at Schumer. Other lawmakers who were frequently targeted include Representative Jamie Raskin (Maryland), Senators Dianne Feinstein and Ron Wyden (Oregon), Representatives David Kustoff and Steve Cohen (Tennessee), Eliot Engel (New York), John Yarmuth (Kentucky) and David Cicilline (Rhode Island).

ADL CEO Jonathan Greenblatt said the study demonstrated how Twitter, together with other social media platforms, represents a “breeding ground for hate and antisemitism at a frightening scale,” and public figures like these prominent Jewish politicians “often experience the worst of this.”

The “problematic tweets” questioned the loyalty of the Jewish incumbents to the United States and some label them traitors or treasonous, the study found. Others evoked the dual-loyalty trope saying that they cannot be trusted because their true allegiance is to their religion or Israel. Only a fraction of the problematic tweets were explicit about the politician’s Jewish identity - making blanket statements about Jews, commenting on physical traits, mentioning the Torah, and using “dehumanizing and insulting language next to the word 'Jew.'”

Greenblatt charged that even in these obvious clear-cut cases of hate speech, Twitter is “not identifying or removing this blatant antisemitism quickly enough,” and declared that the company needed to “enforce their rules and remove such content swiftly and consistently.”

In response to these trends, the ADL analysis recommended, social media companies should work to improve their design and algorithms in order to “reduce the prevalence and influence of hateful content and harassing behavior.”

“At present, platforms are doing little to nothing for targets of hate,” the study concluded. “Platforms should offer far more services and tools for individuals facing or fearing online attack, including assisting with tracking and capturing information, providing resources, and creating better customization options to mitigate harm.”

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