Republican senator accuses Soros-funded think tank of fostering anti-Semitism

Tom Cotton says anti-Jewish sentiment ‘festers’ in foreign policy-focused Quincy Institute, jointly established by Hungarian Holocaust survivor and philanthropist Charles Koch

US Sen. Tom Cotton, Republican-Arkansas, speaks during a news conference at the US Capitol in Washington, D.C., April 4, 2019. (Alex Wong/Getty Images via JTA)
US Sen. Tom Cotton, Republican-Arkansas, speaks during a news conference at the US Capitol in Washington, D.C., April 4, 2019. (Alex Wong/Getty Images via JTA)

JTA — Sen. Tom Cotton accused the Quincy Institute for Responsible Statecraft, a new think tank funded by the billionaires George Soros and Charles Koch, of fostering anti-Semitism in a speech on the Senate floor on Wednesday.

Cotton, Republican-Arkansas, referred to anti-Semitism as an “ancient hatred” and referenced recent attacks against Jews in Brooklyn and Monsey.

“[Anti-Semitism] festers in Washington think tanks like the Quincy Institute, an isolationist blame America first money pit for so-called ‘scholars’ who’ve written that American foreign policy could be fixed if only it were rid of the malign influence of Jewish money,” he said in remarks quoted prior to the speech by Jewish Insider.

The Washington, DC-based institute was founded in 2019 and seeks to “lay the foundation for a new foreign policy centered on diplomatic engagement and military restraint.” Soros has donated in large numbers to liberal political causes, while Koch has donated to conservative ones.

George Soros, Founder and Chairman of the Open Society Foundations, before the Joseph A. Schumpeter award ceremony in Vienna, Austria, June 21, 2019. (AP Photo/Ronald Zak)

The institute’s list of affiliated experts includes some figures who have at times been accused by mainstream Jewish groups of crossing from political commentary on Israel into anti-Semitism, such as political scientist John Mearsheimer, author of “The Israel Lobby and US Foreign Policy.” No evidence ties any of the experts affiliated with Quincy to the recent rise in anti-Semitic attacks.

“It’s unfortunate that Tom Cotton is making blatantly false accusations of anti-Semitism against the Quincy Institute,” the institute said on Twitter. “Cotton’s smear shows a profound disrespect for victims of anti-Semitism and undermines efforts to combat bigotry.”

In his speech, Cotton also criticized the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement against Israel and a new New York law barring judges from setting bail for minor offenses. The law, which went into effect this year, has come under attack amid the recent attacks against Jews in Brooklyn. Critics say it is soft on hate crime suspects, while supporters say that it has not been enacted long enough to have had any effect on the rise in anti-Semitism.

“How enraging must it be for New York’s Jews, to suffer constant anti-Semitic attacks and know the perpetrators will slide through a revolving door from the lockup back into their communities,” Cotton said.

Charles Koch, chief executive officer of Koch Industries, at The Broadmoor Resort in Colorado Springs, Colorado, June 29, 2019. (David Zalubowski/AP)

Cotton did not respond by publication time to a request for further comment on the anti-Semitism of the Quincy Institute.

Soros has long been criticized by right-wing figures, including Viktor Orban, the prime minister of his native Hungary, for supporting and funding a range of liberal initiatives. Some say the frequent and harsh criticism of Soros, a Holocaust survivor, often crosses into anti-Semitism.

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