Jewish leaders have condemned Glenn Beck for comments he made on Fox News accusing billionaire philanthropist George Soros -- a Jew -- of being complicit with the Holocaust as a child in Nazi-occupied Hungary.
On three TV programs this past week, the conservative commentator has focused on Soros, a Hungarian-born financier and democracy advocate, calling him a "puppet master" who is "notorious for collapsing economies and regimes all around the world."
Soros' pro-democracy Open Society Institute played a role in the collapse of communist regimes in Hungary and Georgia, and has funded projects to support freedom of expression, democracy, public health and human rights around the world. He is famous for donating to liberal causes, including a 2004 push to derail President George W. Bush's re-election.
Richard Drew, AP
The Anti-Defamation League has described Glenn Beck's recent comments as "completely inappropriate, offensive and over the top."
When Soros was a child in Nazi-occupied Hungary, his father bribed an agriculture official to pretend the boy was his Christian godson, The Daily Beast reported. Under the ruse -- which may have saved Soros' life -- the 14-year-old had to accompany the official on an inspection of a confiscated Jewish estate.
On his Fox TV show Tuesday, Beck said the 14-year-old Soros "used to go around with this anti-Semite and deliver papers to the Jews and confiscate their property and then ship them off."
"I am certainly not saying that George Soros enjoyed that, even had a choice. I mean, he's 14 years old. He was surviving. So I'm not making a judgment. That's between him and God," Beck continued, according to The New York Times. He added that "many people" would call Soros "an anti-Semite," but that he would not.
On a previous Oct. 10 radio show, Beck accused Soros of actively participating in the Holocaust. "George Soros was part of it. He would help confiscate the stuff. It was frightening. Here's a Jewish boy helping send the Jews to the death camps," Beck said, according to The Jerusalem Post.
The Anti-Defamation League, a leading Jewish advocacy group, issued a statement Thursday calling Beck's statements "horrific" and "offensive."
"Glenn Beck's description of George Soros' actions during the Holocaust is completely inappropriate, offensive and over the top. For a political commentator or entertainer to have the audacity to say -- inaccurately -- that there's a Jewish boy sending Jews to death camps, as part of a broader assault on Mr. Soros, that's horrific," the statement said, according to The Jewish Journal of Greater Los Angeles.
"To hold a young boy responsible for what was going on around him during the Holocaust as part of a larger effort to denigrate the man is repugnant," ADL national director Abraham Foxman, who is a Holocaust survivor himself, told the Times.
Fox News, which draws an estimated 2.8 million viewers to Beck's TV program, said it stood by the host's comments. "Information regarding Mr. Soros' experiences growing up were taken directly from his writings and from interviews given by him to the media, and no negative opinion was offered as to his actions as a child," Joel Cheatwood, a senior vice president at Fox News, said in a statement excerpted by TV Guide.
I will be the first to admit that I was not aware that Soro's, the ultimate "puppet-master," played such a heinous role during the most horrid and tragic time in history.
He betrayed his own people. He led them to the slaughter. Was it survival instincts? I don't know. But from I have heard of this man, he values no one or anything, he is all about conquering and gaining power and control over anyone who steps into his path.
So why defend him?