A peculiar debate has now broken out in the United States, about whether Beck's attack on Soros was anti-semitic. Now let me see - he accuses a financier, whom he repeatedly emphasises is Jewish, of being a "puppet-master", a man with no national loyalties, who makes vast profits by overthrowing governments and subverting currencies, and who manipulates events from behind the scenes. Why is there even a debate?
Prominent Jewish leaders, Holocaust survivors, the Interfaith Alliance, Commentary magazine, which describes itself as "the flagship of neoconservatism," and Libertarian Reason magazine have all condemned Beck's attack on Soros.
Calling Beck "probably now the most powerful right-wing pundit in the United States," Rachman said that "a new level of Soros hatred has been reached" with Beck's recent smear.
Here's more from Rachman's blistering critique:
The nastiest moment (amongst much competition) comes when Beck tries to claim that the 14-year-old Soros came from an anti-semitic family and himself participated in the persecution of the Jews during the Holocaust. The most peculiar line of argument is when Beck claims that Soros's perfidy is proved by the fact that he played a key part in fomenting the Velvet Revolution in Czechoslovakia and the Orange and Rose Revolutions in Ukraine and Georgia.
Where does one start? I would have thought that Beck, as self-described conservative, would have approved of revolutions that overthrew Communism. And although Soros's Open Society Institute (Beck struggles to make this sound sinister) did admirable work in supporting the expansion of civil and political liberties in Central Europe, I know of no reputable account of the revolutions that places George Soros at the centre of things.
Beck's defenders make two points. One is that Beck is a staunch defender of Israel, therefore he can't possibly be playing with anti-semitism. Second, he is an uneducated ignoramus - who may not actually realise what he is dabbling in. The second point seems to me worth considering. Beck is a reformed alcoholic who never got beyond high school. It is possible that he is so ignorant that he doesn't realise what he is doing. But somehow I doubt it. Beck must be reasonably shrewd, or he wouldn't have got as far as he has. And he is constantly banging on about the Third Reich and the Nazis, so presumably has some passing familiarity with the work of Joseph Goebbels. In fact, I would say that he was a rather brilliant exponent of the theory of the "Big Lie".