George Soros is an easy hate figure for the Hungarian government. The ruling party’s campaign slogan last year was simple enough: "Don't let Soros have the last laugh." One of his pet projects in his homeland, the Central European University, was forced to move to Vienna recently as liberal media is on the defensive in Budapest.
But Poland is not Hungary, despite what it might seem. Dog whistling anti-Semitism is no longer a serious strategy. Or is it?
When Polish newspaper publisher Agora and a fund backed by Soros last week won a bid to buy Poland’s second-largest radio station the reactions were not that dissimilar, broached largely in a language of protecting 'national' media. As opposed to what, some asked?
Agora, whose assets include the Gazeta Wyborcza daily and a talk radio station agreed to buy 40% of Eurozet for 130.8 million zlotys ($34 million) from Prague-based Czech Media Invest. SFS Ventures, a vehicle that includes a Soros-backed fund, are to buy the rest.
Both “Exotic” and “Ours”
“Individuals that don't stand up for the prominent place of Catholicism and its symbols in the public sphere and advocate instead a civic-secular Poland, are turned into ‘Jews,’” Genevieve Zubrzycki, a sociologist at the University of Michigan, argues.
Precisely because Jewishness carries specific significations and symbolic capital that other minorities in Poland do not possess, it is primarily through Jews and Jewishness that a modern multicultural Poland is articulated,” she says.