Ben Lorber, a Jewish Voice for Peace staff member, noted in a Jewish Forward op-ed, a disturbing tweet posted by Israeli-American Likud leader, Adam Milstein. It featured an octopus with the face of George Soros surrounding the entire globe (see image displayed here). The image, which possibly originated in conspiratorial pro-Russian websites, is a classic anti-Semitic image harkening all the way back to the Nazis. If anyone can do some detective work online and discover the original source of this image, I’d be grateful. After Lorber questioned Milstein about the image, the latter deleted it but retained the message attacking Soros. Milstein criticized the Hungarian-American-Jewish financier’s transfer of $18-billion into his global charity, the Open Society Foundation (OS).
Though the grantmaker’s mission is to encourage the development of democracy and civil society in countries in which these values are nascent or threatened, the dictatorial leaders of many of these states are deeply threatened by Open Society. Among the most frightened are Russia, Hungary and Israel. That’s why it’s most interesting that in delving into the graphic history of the image on the internet, the earliest reference seems to be to a website (linked above) which purports to be American, but has all the hallmarks of a Russian propaganda site. Uses of the image followed in numerous Hungarian sites.
I’ve written here about the anti-Semitic campaign by Hungarian prime minister, Viktor Orban, which was applauded by Bibi Netanyahu. Both leaders are angry that Open Society has funded domestic NGOs in each country which criticize the authoritarian tendencies of the ruling parties. Both Hungary and Israel have proposed laws which would bar foreign entities (like OS) from funding domestic NGOs championing human rights or democracy agendas.
It’s easy to see where Milstein’s motives come from: he’s a die-hard Likudist who represents the most violent, intolerant aspects of Israeli uber-nationalism. His Islamophobia is deep and virulent. In attacking Soros, he’s harkening to “his master’s voice,” that is Netanyahu. Nor does the exploitation of blatantly anti-Semitic memes seem to bother Milstein or Netanyahu in the least. This smearing of fellow-Jews is an abiding feature of far-right Zionist extremism going back to Meir Kahane and even farther (there were a number of assassinations of Jews in early 20th century Palestine by Zionist circles who felt threatened by the victims’ dissident views).
Who’d have ever thought that Zionists like these could be anti-Semites? As I’ve written, it’s no accident that Nazis like Eichmann and far-right Zionist terror groups like Lehi pursued a romance of sorts. To pursue their mutual interests they were willing to dance with the devil. That’s what Milstein is doing as well.
In America today, neo-Nazis like Richard Spencer have embraced Israel wholeheartedly. In his latest Florida speech, he said:
“The most important and perhaps most revolutionary ethno-state, and it’s one that I turn to for guidance… is the Jewish state of Israel.
“The Jewish state of Israel is not just another country in the Middle East,” Spencer added. “It is a country for Jews and for Jews around the world.”
Spencer said he acknowledged the “moral legitimacy” of other “ethno-states,” naming Russia, Poland and Hungary as supposed examples.
We should be clear: Zionism has been hijacked by those who find common cause with Nazis. And the Nazis reciprocate this affection. It is a strange upside down world we live in.
Returning to Milstein, let’s also recall other facets of his sordid history: he secretly and illegally funded pro-Israel candidates in the UCLA student election to ensure the student government would reject a pro-BDS initiative. Even more seriously, Milstein was charged with tax fraud and is a convicted felon. He funneled funds of fellow Orthodox Jewish friends through synagogues in a form of money-laundering which offered the donors a tax-exemption to which they weren’t entitled. If Milstein isn’t above defrauding the U.S. taxpayer, what else wouldn’t he hesitate to do in pursuit his purposes?
Milstein was also the instigator of the ill-fated Maccabee Summit in which Haim Saban and Sheldon Adelson were to pour $50-million in order to fund activities fighting BDS and other “evils” threatening to Israel. Shortly after the project was announced with great fanfare, Saban pulled out. No explanations were given for the dissolution of the effort.
The Israeli government is pursuing similar initiatives using many of the cloak and dagger tactics of Israeli intelligence services to pursue and attack international BDS activists.
Milstein is also a board member and donor to StandWithUs, one of the ‘dirtier’ Israel Lobby groups, known for its smear tactics against both Jews and Muslims who don’t share its Likudist agenda. Locally, SWU honored an accused rapist and sexual predator, then-Mayor Ed Murray, with a humanitarian award. SWU also accepted Israeli government money to establish a war room staffed by Diaspora social media activists. The funding violated U.S. laws and should have led to the NGO being forced to register as an agent of the foreign power. The U.S. government’s unwillingness to enforce such laws is one of the many weaknesses imposed on this country via the power of the Lobby. I asked SWU founder Roz Rothstein if she or her group had any comment on Milstein’s tweet. I will add any response if I get one.