In his statement condemning the Manhattan grand jury indictment of former President Donald Trump, Florida governor and likely Republican presidential candidate Ron DeSantis mentioned neither the former president nor the district attorney who will prosecute the case, , by name. But a favorite target of antisemitic conspiracy theories—twice.
For some, the implication was obvious.
“It’s hard to even call it a dog whistle of antisemitism,” of the Florida governor’s statement in a cable news appearance.
Soros indirectly helped fund Bragg’s run for office, but he is uninvolved in the case against the former president, which is focused on an improper 2016 payment to former adult film actress Stormy Daniels.
Soros and Bragg have never met.
Texas Gov. Gregg Abbott, Sen. Ron Johnson of Wisconsin and other Republicans similarly made mention of Soros in denouncing the decision to indict Trump.
A Hungarian-American billionaire who funds progressive causes, as shorthand for a nexus of wealth, progressive politics and cultural clout.
“Soros offers a combination that is useful to his detractors: born abroad, Jewish, in finance, high profile,” Emily Tamkin, , told Yahoo News. She added that because Soros was “genuinely influential in politics, finance, and philanthropy,” conspiracy theories about him are easily concocted.
As he was running to become the Manhattan district attorney in 2021, Color of Change, a group backed by Soros on efforts on Bragg’s behalf, such as mailers and voter turnout.
Trump, who is running for president again, is avidly using the indictment to solicit campaign contributions, He has long faced accusations of anti-Semitism, although and son-in-law Jared Kushner are observant Jews.
Trump about dual loyalty, wealth and parsimony.
Last year, in a post on his social media platform Truth Social, — who mostly votes Democratic — for not rewarding his staunch support of Israel’s right-wing government. “Our wonderful Evangelicals are far more appreciative of [Trump’s record on Israel] than the people of the Jewish faith, especially those living in the US,” he complained.
Trump warned that “US Jews have to get their act together and appreciate what they have in Israel — before it is too late!”
Thursday’s indictment allowed Trump and his loyal supporters of reviving a grievance-laden narrative that invariably turned the former president into a victim of nefarious forces.
Soros survived the Holocaust as a child. As an adult, he moved to New York, where he started a successful hedge fund. His philanthropy through the Open Society Foundations supports civic institutions in emerging democracies. Domestically, Open Society funds education, public health and independent media not-for-profit organizations.
According to experts in antisemitism, invoking the 92-year-old philanthropist serves to promote toxic ideas about Jews. “A person who promotes a Soros conspiracy theory may not intend to promulgate antisemitism,” , formerly known as the Anti-Defamation League. “But Soros’ Jewish identity is so well-known that in many cases it is hard not to infer that meaning.”
Trump allies including Tucker Carlson, the popular Fox News anchor, have promoted the “great replacement theory,” which holds that Democrats——are trying to bring immigrants of color into the United States in order to create an electorally insurmountable non-white political bloc .
Fears of racial obsolescence powered the white supremacists who rampaged through Charlottesville, Va., in 2017 shouting that “Jews will not replace us” and, the following year, , who killed 11 people at the Tree of Life synagogue in Pittsburgh.
During the racial justice protests of 2020, .
The most recent attacks on Soros came as the nation’s faces , the frequency of which began to increase around the time that Trump first announced he was running for the presidency in mid-2015.
“When in doubt, blame the Jews,” intelligence analyst and scholar wrote on Twitter in response to DeSantis.
Soros is a well-known supporter of criminal justice reform and. Once elected, some of those prosecutors, such as Chesa Boudin of San Francisco, have proven unpopular with voters. Soros’s involvement in funding their campaigns has sometimes been invoked by local critics — though rarely with as much apparent zeal as DeSantis.
When first running for governor in 2018, DeSantis as “Soros-backed.” He used in his feud with state attorney Andrew Warren, in what was widely seen as a bid to raise his profile with national conservatives.
Gillum is Black, as is Bragg. Warren is Jewish, like Soros.
Progressive activists have called the claim that Soros controls Bragg not only antisemitic but also racist. Last week, after Trump called Bragg a “Soros-backed animal” a group of Black and Jewish lawmakers from New York “incendiary racist and anti-Semitic” rhetoric.
Last year, neo-Nazis gathered outside a conservative conference in Tampa where DeSantis spoke, with banners displaying swastikas alongside one that read “DeSantis Country” and another touting “our glorious leader, Ron DeSantis.”
Although Florida has a large Jewish population and DeSantis has eagerly waded into other culture war battles, .