Financier and philanthropist George Soros’ critics in the United States and around the world have leveled all manner of charges, real and absurd, against him, for decades now. But nothing—not being involved in the breaking of the Bank of England, not speculating on Asian currencies, not supporting Sarajevo during the war in Yugoslavia, not putting money toward defeating George W. Bush in the United States or election monitoring in Georgia in 2004, not even his role in the financial crash of 2008—has been as effective at cementing Soros’ status as a boogeyman as recent debates over immigration.
To understand the particular anti-Semitism of saying that a Jew is trying to bring in immigrants to corrupt a predominantly Christian nation, one needs to understand that a core principle of anti-Semitism is that Jews are always the Other. In the Soviet Union, they were rootless cosmopolitans. In Hitler’s Germany, they were not only not of the German people; they were not of the human species. These are extreme examples, but they are nevertheless part of history. Thanks to leaders like Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán and President Donald Trump blaming Soros for an influx of immigrants into their countries, this trope is also part of our present.
The idea of the Jew bringing in immigrants is, in a certain sense, the most perfect anti-Semitism. Here is a person who is not tied, not really, to the country in which they claim to live, of which they claim to be, subverting and corrupting the true nation, the true people, the ones who really belong. Of course, they want to subvert the values of the nation; they were never, could never, really be part of the nation in the first place. Of course, they are helping the invaders; they are invaders themselves. Of course, Jews are not helping refugees because they think it’s right; their reason for helping them is the reason Jews do everything. Jews want only to corrupt.
The beauty of this theory, if one is an anti-Semite, is that one does not even need to say the word Jewish. The very image of a prominent Jewish person smuggling in people trying to destroy the soul of the nation is enough to make anti-Semites’ synapses light up.