Anti-Semitism accusations leveled at the Telegraph following its George Soros ‘exclusive’
Theresa May’s former chief of staff, Nick Timothy, has been accused of “peddling textbook anti-Semitic tropes” in a Telegraph article outlining George Soros’ £400,000 donation to a pro-EU lobby group.
Following the article’s publication on Thursday, Timothy was accused of anti-Semitism in the front-page exclusive he co-authored, and which RT UK along with many other national outlets picked up.
The article outlines how Soros, described by the Telegraph as the “man who broke the Bank of England” in reference to the fortune he made betting against the sterling in the 1990s, is attempting to undermine the Tory government by donating £400,000 (US$560,000) to pro-EU group Best for Britain. The group is campaigning for a second referendum on the final Brexit deal agreed between Parliament and the EU.
The accusations of anti-Semitism were made by Guardian columnist Owen Jones, academic Bonnie Greer and King’s College professor Jonathan Portes, among others. Portes drew a response from Timothy when he asked if he and the right-wing paper were really endorsing “anti-Semitic conspiracy theories.”
Your tweet insinuating a terrible thing about me - which you now accept is wrong - has not been deleted and keeps being RTd. You should remove it. https://t.co/W2IF8mpsip— Nick Timothy (@NickJTimothy) February 8, 2018
Jones called out the Telegraph for "anti-Semitic dog whistling," before doubling down on his statement.
Sorry, I’ve got this wrong. As the people correcting me rightly say, this isn’t an anti-Semitic dog whistle on the part of the Telegraph, it’s an anti-Semitic bullhorn.— Owen Jones🌹 (@OwenJones84) February 8, 2018
If anyone "broke the Bank Of England" it was Norman Lamont, now a Peer of The Realm. #GeorgeSoros bet that would happen, and he won.#NickTimothy & the wretched @Telegraph are peddling textbook Anti-Semitic tropes.I know you're losing.... but are #Brexiters THIS desperate? https://t.co/rQgmOSwtB7— Bonnie Greer (@Bonn1eGreer) February 8, 2018
Portes and Jones made the allegations on the contents of a separate comment box halfway down the article which details how Soros had been accused of “meddling” with governments’ “internal affairs” through his Open Society Foundation (OSF). The authorship of the comment box is credited to Callum Adams.
Adams details how Soros, a survivor of Nazi Germany, was accused by “hardline Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban of trying to orchestrate an ultra-liberal crusade in the country.” Orban himself faces accusations of anti-Semitism.
Timothy rebutted allegations of anti-Semitism, saying they are “as absurd as they are offensive.”
Throughout my career I’ve campaigned against anti-Semitism, helped secure more funding for security at synagogues and Jewish schools, fought to lift the cap on faith schools, and supported Israel. The accusations and insinuations against me are as absurd as they are offensive.— Nick Timothy (@NickJTimothy) February 8, 2018
Despite Timothy’s protestations, the allegations were backed by some of the UK’s most prominent journalists and commentators.
Jewish Chronicle editor Stephen Pollard highlighted the controversial implications of using the phrase “secret plot.”
Telegraph story is disturbing because of the use of the idea it’s a “secret plot.” Soros is incredibly open about what he does. Say it’s wrong; fine. But idea it’s a secret plot is exactly the line being used in Hungary and elsewhere precisely because he is Jewish.— Stephen Pollard (@stephenpollard) February 8, 2018
Journalist James Ball cautioned May and her government to distance herself from such rhetoric.
This needs saying clearly: baiting people on George Soros conspriacy theories is a tactic currently being used by would-be autocrats and anti-Semitic groups across the world.Theresa May and Conservative MPs should distance themselves from this tactic, and fast. https://t.co/wgCQM8RwOW— James Ball (@jamesrbuk) February 7, 2018
Some did, however, come to Timothy’s defense. Sir Eric Pickles, the former Tory cabinet minister who is the prime minister’s Special Envoy for Post-Holocaust, branded the claims “ludicrous” due to Timothy being "a consistent friend of Israel."
@NickJTimothy@Telegraph we have known each other for a good years, we were on opposite sides during the EU referendum, the idea that you would endorse Antisemitism views is ludicrous. You are a consistent friend of Israel. Nasty smears add nothing to arguments— Sir Eric Pickles (@EricPickles) February 8, 2018
Former UKIP leader Nigel Farage chipped in tweeting at Alastair Campbell, writing: “Why is it as soon as Soros is mentioned, suddenly you’re an anti-Semite? Is the man beyond question?”
Why is it as soon as Soros is mentioned, suddenly you’re an anti-Semite? Is the man beyond question? https://t.co/LyfRBy8A1r— Nigel Farage (@Nigel_Farage) February 8, 2018
While others argued critics are missing the point altogether, as there should be more uproar over Hungarian-American businessman Soros chucking the eye-watering sum of £400,000 to an anti-Brexit campaign group.
You’ve got to see the funny side of this: all that hysterical fake news about ‘Russian interference’ in Brexit & here we have one side receiving £400K from a US billionaire who is part of the US political establishment. Is that not ‘interference’ ?!! https://t.co/URzrB3ciLd— Neil Clark (@NeilClark66) February 8, 2018
In turn, the Russian embassy in London appeared to echo this as it expressed frustration over the UK government’s failure to act on the news of the alleged “political collusion” by Soros. When it comes to pointing the finger at Russia, however, the government needs no second invitation.
A Russian company spends 72p on Facebook ads: interference, hybrid war, parliamentary inquirySoros spends £400K on bringing down UK Government: nothing to worry about pic.twitter.com/yeCZw4Z2B1— Russian Embassy, UK (@RussianEmbassy) February 8, 2018
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