EU official: Hungarian PM’s crusade against Soros is anti-Semitic
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EU official: Hungarian PM’s crusade against Soros is anti-Semitic

Viktor Orban called the Jewish billionaire an 'American financial speculator attacking Hungary'

Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban (C) gives a speech in 'Balna' cultural center of Budapest on October 2, 2016 (AFP PHOTO / ATTILA KISBENEDEK)
Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban (C) gives a speech in 'Balna' cultural center of Budapest on October 2, 2016 (AFP PHOTO / ATTILA KISBENEDEK)

A leading official in the European Commission — one of the European Union’s governing bodies — implied that efforts by Hungary’s prime minister to shut down a university founded by George Soros are anti-Semitic.

Prime Minister Viktor Orban has long harbored animosity toward Soros, a Jewish billionaire who was born in Hungary and has donated millions of dollars to liberal causes. Orban is now defending controversial legislation that many see as an attempt to shut down the Central European University in Budapest, a highly respected university Soros founded in 1991.

On Wednesday, Orban told the European Parliament that Soros is an “American financial speculator attacking Hungary” who has “destroyed the lives of millions of Europeans.”

The following day, European Commission First Vice President Frans Timmerman, a center-left Dutch politician, agreed when asked if he thought Orban’s comments sounded anti-Semitic.

George Soros speaks at the Festival of Economics in Trento, Italy in 2012. (Wikimedia Commons, Niccolò Caranti, CC BY-SA 3.0)
George Soros speaks at the Festival of Economics in Trento, Italy in 2012. (Wikimedia Commons, Niccolò Caranti, CC BY-SA 3.0)

“I understood that exactly the same way and was appalled,” Timmerman said, according to Euractiv.

Hungarian Foreign Minister Peter Szijjarto called on Timmerman to resign for his assertion.

Hundreds of academics around the world have protested Orban’s legislation, which are amendments to the Hungarian National Higher Education Act. The fight is seen as a battle between Orban’s nationalist priorities and Soros’ “open society” outlook.

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