In a “Rebuttal” to the questionnaire mailed to all eight million eligible Hungarian voters, Soros, who was born in Hungary, said statements in the document “contain distortions and outright lies that deliberately mislead Hungarians” about his views on migrants and refugees.
Soros said in a detailed opinion article in 2015 that the European Union should be taking in one million migrants and refugees a year and sharing the burden of paying for them, something the Hungarian government now calls the “Soros Plan.”
“With Hungary’s health care and education systems in distress and corruption rife, the current government has sought to create an outside enemy to distract citizens. The government selected George Soros for this purpose, launching a massive anti-Soros media campaign costing tens of millions of euros in taxpayer money, stoking anti-Muslim sentiment, and employing anti-Semitic tropes reminiscent of the 1930s,” the Soros rebuttal charges.
Part of the media campaign included posters over the summer showing a laughing Soros and the tag line reading, “Don’t let Soros have the last laugh.” Jewish leaders in Hungary charged that the poster campaign incited additional anti-Semitism. Many of the posters were defaced with anti-Semitic graffiti.
Hungarian President Viktor Orban is running for reelection next year.
The rebuttal notes that Soros has been giving charity in Hungary since the 1980s, having established a charitable foundation there in 1984. He has given hundreds of millions of euros in scholarships, health care services and humanitarian efforts, and for cleanup after the red sludge disaster of 2010, according to the statement. He also is funding current efforts to help educate children with learning disabilities, deal with homelessness, and bring public transportation to the Hungarian countryside.
The rebuttal debunks seven incorrect statements in the questionnaire sent to voters, including whether he is planning to dismantle border fences in EU member states (he is not); and whether he would force all EU member states to pay immigrants some $28,000 a year in aid (he wouldn’t).
Last month, Soros transferred $18 billion to Open Society Foundations, a philanthropy he founded. The gift is one of the largest transfers of wealth ever made by a private donor to one foundation, The New York Times reported.