The responses to the Telegraph's dog-whistle front page were highly predictable—on both sides of the political spectrum. It's time we started calling out hatred wherever it appearsby Daniel Sugarman / February 9, 2018 / Leave a comment
Twenty months ago, as the debate was raging over whether the UK should vote to leave or remain in the European Union, I wrote down the reasons why I had decided to vote Remain.
I worried about the financial implications for the country, as well as how leaving might decrease our international influence. I also deplored what I described back then as “the degeneration of much of the Leave campaign in recent months into a toxic blend of xenophobic, jingoistic cheerleading, masquerading as security concerns.”
Then, however, I turned to my feelings as a British Jew.
“Brexit could well lead to a period of potentially massive economic and social upheaval,” I wrote. “Historically, such periods tend to be very bad for us Jews.”
“When the paradise promised by the Leave campaign inevitably fails to materialise in the wake of Brexit, I have every expectation that elements which have long blamed the EU for all their misfortunes will revert to an older and more familiar scapegoat.”
So when I saw that the Telegraph had devoted its front page to a supposed exposé on a Jewish billionaire “backing secret plot to thwart Brexit”—followed up by the Daily Mail’s sinister mutterings the next day about “tainted money”— I can’t say I was hugely surprised. If anything, I was astonished that it had taken this long.
George Soros’s politics are no secret. Nor is the fact that he donates serious sums of money to back the political causes he agrees with. The idea that this is some sort of shady, insidious plan to topple governments is a preposterous one.
It is also exactly the same charge which is being used by far-right ideologues in Eastern Europe—particularly in Soros’s native Hungary—and is now found in scores of anti-Semitic memes plastered all over racist Facebook groups and Reddit threads. For them, Soros is Rothschild 2.0, a “rootless cosmopolitan” who tries to poison hearts and minds.
But perhaps even more depressing than the Telegraph’s headline itself were some of the reactions to the piece, authored by former May advisor Nick Timothy, as a whole. For reasons of brevity, let’s highlight just a couple.
In the blue corner, we had Dan Hodges, a (non-Jewish) journalist who has rightly called out those on the far-Left,…