Right-wing pundit Ann Coulter followed the lead of the Republican National Committee and numerous right-wing media outlets in attempting to discredit Senator John Kerry by attacking progressive financier, philanthropist, and political activist George Soros. In a June 14 discussion with FOX News Channel co-host Alan Colmes, Coulter erroneously claimed that Soros "said the reason for anti-Semitism is the Jews." She added, "[T]he one thing I agree with him [Soros] on is that he also blames himself [for anti-Semitism]." This is a distortion of comments made in 2003 by Soros, a Hungarian-born Jew who survived the Nazi occupation of communist Budapest.
From the June 14 edition of Hannity & Colmes:
COULTER: I want to focus on the people supporting John Kerry. George Soros, who's always going around prattling about the perfidy of the Jews...
COLMES: George Soros is a Holocaust survivor, OK?
COULTER: And what I just stated is true. He says the reason for anti-Semitism is the Jews.
COULTER: He [Soros] goes around blaming anti-Semitism on the Jews. He said that. In fact, the one thing I agree with him on is that he also blames himself [for anti-Semitism], and finally I have some area of agreement with him.
Coulter's claim that Soros "goes around blaming anti-Semitism on the Jews" is a distortion of comments Soros made at a Jewish Funders Network event in New York City on November 5, 2003. Right-wing websites NewsMax.com and WorldNetDaily.com -- as well as James Taranto, editor of The Wall Street Journal's editorial page website, OpinionJournal.com, in his "Best of the Web Today" column -- have made similar distortions of Soros's comments.
Soros's actual remarks, as the Jewish Telegraphic Agency first reported (and also mischaracterized with the headline "In rare Jewish appearance, George Soros says Jews and Israel cause anti-Semitism") on November 9, 2003:
"There is a resurgence of anti-Semitism in Europe. The policies of the Bush administration and the Sharon administration contribute to that," Soros said. "It's not specifically anti-Semitism, but it does manifest itself in anti-Semitism as well. I'm critical of those policies."
"I'm also very concerned about my own role because the new anti-Semitism holds that the Jews rule the world," said Soros, whose projects and funding have influenced governments and promoted various political causes around the world.
"As an unintended consequence of my actions," he said, "I also contribute to that image."
An editorial in the Jewish newspaper Forward on November 21, 2003, defended Soros's comments: "Blaming the victim? Hardly. Soros was merely joining the growing list of observers who note that the new antisemitism is a mix of old prejudices and current protests feeding on each other."