Sophistry from University of Chicago Medicine bureaucrats is back. This time, they’re insultingly redefining “anti-Semitism” and turning it into a gross political football.
On March 30, Governor Ron DeSantis (R., Florida) tweeted that the criminal charges against former President Donald Trump represent a “weaponization of the legal system.” DeSantis also announced in his tweet that he “will not assist in an extradition request,” pointing out that New York County District Attorney Alvin Bragg, the prosecutor responsible for Trump’s indictment, is “Soros-backed” and has a “political agenda.”
DeSantis tweeted this in reference to Democrat mega-donor George Soros’ financial support of Bragg.
In response, UChicago’s chief of surgery—Dr. Jeffrey Matthews—lodged an accusation of anti-Semitism against DeSantis:
Couldn’t resist the anti-Semitic “Soros-backed” bit, huh?
Matthews’ ridiculous response to Governor DeSantis went viral on Twitter for all the wrong reasons:
You’re the first one to bring his religion into this. Is any criticism of someone who is Jewish automatically racially based? Does this mean your comments to Ron DeSantis are anti Italian? Are these your rules?
For years, liberal partisans have labeled any criticism of Soros as anti-Semitic. Forbesran a piece in 2020 attempting to link Soros criticism to “QAnon,” arguing that “there is only one sordid reason for why attacks on George Soros are constantly trending” in the media: his Judaism.
Alarmingly, the Anti-Defamation League (ADL), which calls itself the “leading anti-hate organization in the world,” contends that “[e]ven if no antisemitic insinuation is intended, casting a Jewish individual [Soros] as a puppet master who manipulates national events for malign purposes has the effect of mainstreaming antisemitic tropes and giving support, however unwitting, to bona fide antisemites and extremists.”
The ADL’s logic suggests that even if someone has no anti-Semitic intent, he still mainstreams and empowers anti-Semites if he argues that Soros has an outsized negative influence on national politics. Dr. Matthews’ labeling of Governor DeSantis as anti-Semitic is only the latest iteration of the hackneyed smear tactics that many on the left use to insulate Soros from criticism.
Who Is George Soros?
Matthews and company’s poor attempts at an argument fall even flatter when one sees that Soros does in fact exert significant influence on our political system. And for those who value freedom, federalism, and order, his influence is most certainly negative.
Throughout his life, Soros is estimated to have contributed $32 billion in political donations. And he contributed the most of any political donor to federal candidates in the 2022 election cycle, giving upward of $178 million—good for almost double the amount of the total contributions given by the next largest 2022 federal political donor, Richard Uihlein.
Moreover, every last penny of Soros’ 2022 contributions to federal candidates went to Democrats.
Soros’ disbursements have won him influence. Alexander Soros, George’s son and the chairman of the Open Society Foundations (a left-wing grantmaking network founded by George), is known as a “de-facto ambassador” to the White House. Indeed, the younger Soros has visited 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue 14 times since President Joe Biden took office, meeting with the likes of then-White House Chief of Staff Ron Klain.
Soros’ Special Generosity for Alvin Bragg
Soros has pushed a “progressive” soft-on-crime model of prosecutorial decision-making for decades, and lately he has put his money where his mouth is.
On district attorney elections alone, Soros spent $40 million from 2012 to 2022 to tilt the scales in favor of a whopping 75 different “reform-minded” prosecutors across the country. For instance, he contributed $1 million to the Color of Change PAC just six days after it announced that it would financially support Bragg in the New York County D.A. race.
Bragg has been in office for just over a year, but his soft-on-crime policies have already wreaked havoc on Manhattan. Consider that through 2023, Bragg has downgraded 52.5 percent of felony arrests to misdemeanors, compared to a 2013–21 average of 38.5 percent for his predecessor. The result of those policies? The number of offenses that the New York City Police Department classifies as the “seven major felony offenses”—murder and non-negligent manslaughter, rape, robbery, felony assault, burglary, grand larceny, and grand larceny of motor vehicle—reached its highest total since 2006 in 2022.
It’s Time To Stop Using Identity as a Shield from Criticism
It is clear that George Soros boasts a large amount of control over the political landscape, and in the case of D.A. races, his influence is flat-out unparalleled. Reasonable criticism of Soros’ destructive influence has nothing to do with his Judaism, and sensible Jews and non-Jews alike should condemn anyone who attempts to use Soros’ Judaism as a line of attack against those who correctly wonder why he is so financially invested in destroying law and order in America.
The Jewish community, like the rest of humanity, has some good constituent members and some bad ones. Humans have agency apart from the identity groups of which they may be a part, and Soros is no exception. Rather than projecting, those shrieking “anti-Semitism” to protect their billionaire of choice should do some introspection and ask why they immediately correlate large monetary contributions with the Jewish religion.
In fact, liberals’ treatment of Soros with kid gloves is part and parcel of their broader exploitation of Judaism as a shield for all sorts of repugnant ideologies. Last month, many criticized the ADL for tweeting that claims about “expelling warmongers, driving out globalists, casting out communists, and throwing off those who hate our country echo classic antisemitic rhetoric.” Yes, you read that right.
Statements like those coming from the ADL and UChicago’s Matthews are repugnant to me, a lifelong Jew. To groups like the ADL, it would be nothing short of baffling that I had a bar mitzvah and descend from ancestors who perished in the Holocaust and I oppose the evil ideologies of warmongering, globalism, communism, and America-hatred.
Ironically, the ADL, Matthews, and all those who seek to shut down debates with unfounded allegations of anti-Semitism only perpetuate anti-Semitism. Knowing that freedom-loving Americans want nothing to do with indiscriminate bombing in the Middle East, Marxian economic systems, or Soros’ program of destruction, those who glibly charge people with anti-Semitism seek to inextricably tie Jewish people like me to repugnant ideas and behaviors.
If we permit that linkage to go unchallenged, then criticism of those vile actions will automatically be labeled as anti-Semitic, and I will be grouped in with the worst that humanity has to offer. It should thus be the objective of Jews and friends of Jews everywhere to replace identity-based collectivism with an acknowledgement that Judaism is merely a religion and ethnicity. The Torah does not advocate for funding al Qaeda terrorists in Syria, workers seizing the means of production, or allowing criminals to run amok in the streets as George Soros envisions.
Hopefully Dr. Matthews will come to the light.
*The views expressed in this article solely represent the views of the author, not the views of the Chicago Thinker.
Mitchell Robson is the Chicago Thinker’s Associate Publisher, Chief Newsletter Officer, and Social Media Director. As a third year at the University of Chicago, he is majoring in Physics and Molecular Engineering and minoring in History. When not studying or doing work for the Thinker, you can probably find him shooting hoops, reading something by Ludwig von Mises, or cheering on the Patriots or Celtics.