In the world of social and political philanthropy, perhaps no one is larger than Hungarian-born hedge fund titan George Soros.
Through his Open Society Foundations, Soros has distributed billions of dollars to a host of liberal and progressive causes and candidates across the U.S. and Europe, earning him the ire of conservatives for whom his very name has become shorthand for nebulous, and frequently antisemitic, conspiracy theories often wildly at odds with his history of staunch anti-communism.
Now at age 92, the man once dubbed the world’s greatest money manager is preparing to hand over his business and philanthropic empire to his similarly left-leaning son, Alexander, the self-described “more political” Soros who leapfrogged his older brother, Jonathan, to assume control of the family fortune.
“Our side has to be better about being more patriotic and inclusive,” the younger Soros told The Wall Street Journal in an interview that hinted at the Open Society Foundation’s future. “Just because someone votes Trump doesn’t mean they’re lost or racist.”
But despite this nod toward bipartisan comity, and the prediction from ACLU Executive Director Anthony Romero that Alexander is “unlikely to be the boogeyman” his father was for the right, it remains to be seen whether this younger Soros will ultimately inherent, or eschew, the oversize fixation his family’s name has engendered among conservatives.
What are they saying?
“I would love to get money out of politics,” Soros told the Journal, adding that “as long as the other side is doing it, we will have to do it too.” The admission suggests that the Soros Foundation will “play a key financial role in the 2024 presidential race,” Politico said.
Republicans, meanwhile, have already zeroed in on the younger Soros’ political work as well, citing reports that he’s “already visited the Biden White House 17 times” on the official GOP Twitter account after the WSJ interview was published.
Soros “maintains close contact with Democratic lawmakers, which he often brags about and posts about on social media,” Fox News stated, after Alexander shared a picture of himself posing alongside Vice President Kamala Harris several days before the interview with the Journal.
Alexander Soros “may not have the [‘Star Wars’] Emperor Palpatine look that his father has,” conservative author Matt Plumbo told Fox News after the Journal interview was published, but “he is arguably going to be more dangerous.”
Citing “the young man’s profile on the Open Society website,” the ultra-right-wing Breitbart publication linked to by the GOP on Twitter made special note to highlight Soros’ position as “the founding chair of Bend the Arc Jewish Action and sits on the boards of Bard College, the Center for Jewish History, Central European University, the European Council on Foreign Relations and International Crisis Group.”
White nationalists and far-right-wing figures often cited the elder Soros, as part of a larger conspiracy, for directly organizing migrant caravans into the United States — a narrative that ultimately led to the 2018 Tree Of Life synagogue shooting in Pittsburgh.
“The Soros Foundation hasn’t supported many Jewish causes,” under the elder Soros, the Journal wrote. Alexander, by contrast, “has visited Israel several times, and he celebrates such Jewish religious holidays as Rosh Hashana and Passover, which his father doesn’t.”
In a recent CNN opinion piece, Alexander acknowledged his family’s place at the center of antisemitic right-wing conspiracy theories, saying, “This is not an abstract issue for me.” Lauding the Biden administration for its just-released National Strategy to Counter Antisemitism, Soros wrote that it’s his “fervent hope that we can move from responding to tragedies to preventing them from happening.”
While his father says the pair “think alike,” the younger Soros is reportedly interested in expanding the family’s philanthropy to include other traditionally left-leaning causes, including “voting and abortion rights, as well as gender equity,” the Journal reported.
“We are going to double down on defending voting rights and personal freedom at home and supporting the cause of democracy abroad,” Soros confirmed to the Foreign Times through a spokesperson. This isn’t to say Alexander will be working hand in glove with some progressives on everything. “I have some differences with my generation in regard to free speech and other things, ” the younger Soros said. I grew up watching Bill Maher before bed, after all.”
Beyond the social and political funding that seems likely to remain at, or possibly exceed, current levels, some have begun questioning what Alexander’s rise within the Soros empire means for the family’s business itself.
“What’s unclear is whether Alex Soros is as interested in the hedge fund side of the operation as his father,” Axios stated, speculating that “it’s possible that could be wound down slowly.”
On Twitter, Soros weighed in on his new role in the family business, responding to People for the American Way CEO Svante Myrick’s comment that “Alex cares about football, philosophy and politics” by joking, “You even got them down in the right order!”
Source: The Week