UPDATE: Fox News is defending Glenn Beck from the Anti-Defamation League's criticisms of his attacks on George Soros. In a statement given to the New York Times on Thursday, Joel Cheatwood, a senior vice president at Fox News, said that the “information regarding Mr. Soros’s 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.”
ORIGINAL POST: The Anti-Defamation League has condemned Glenn Beck for his recent attacks on liberal billionaire George Soros. In particular, the ADL condemned Beck's comments about Soros' actions and experiences during the Holocaust, saying that they were "offensive" and "horrific."
For years, Beck has portrayed Soros as the key figure at the center of a widespread web of powerful left-wing organizations and individuals seeking to fundamentally alter American society and the world. These accusations came to a head this week, when Beck devoted two straight days of programming to a series of episodes revolving around Soros entitled "The Puppet Master."
In one segment, which aired on Tuesday, Beck summarized some of his charges, saying that Soros was behind the economic crisis and wants to bring about "one-world government."
Before that summary, however, Beck talked about the experiences that Soros, who is Jewish and lived through the Holocaust, had during his childhood in Nazi-controlled Eastern Europe. He said that Soros had, essentially, collaborated with the Nazis:
"[When he was] 14 years old, he had to help the government confiscate the land of his fellow Jewish friends neighbors. He didn't grow up in a very Jewish household. His mother was a strong anti-Semite -- his words, not mine -- but when he had to go over and take the lands from the people...who were being sent to the gas chambers, I can't imagine what that would do to a teenager, anybody, an adult. Well, what did it do to George Soros? In an interview with Steve Kroft, Soros was asked if he felt guilt at all about taking the property from the Jews as a teenager. He responded, 'no.' He also said, 'I don't deny the Jews their right to a national existence, but I don't want to be a part of it.'"
Beck also said that he was "probably more supportive of Israel and the Jews than George Soros is."
In footage that followed, Beck called Soros "an atheist who doesn't embrace his Jewish identity, and rarely supports Jewish causes or Israel."
Beck repeated the charges on his radio show, saying, "here’s a Jewish boy helping send the Jews to the death camps...[I'm] certainly not saying [he] enjoyed that, even had a choice...you think there would be some remorse as an 80-year-old man, or a 40-year-old man, or a 20-year-old man. When it was all over, you would do some soul searching and say, 'What did I do? What did I do?'"
Writing in the Daily Beast, Michelle Goldberg said that Beck was repeating a false right-wing canard:
"In fact, when Soros was 14 in Nazi-occupied Hungary, his father bribed an agriculture official to pretend that the boy was his Christian godson. Soros once had to accompany his protector to inventory a confiscated Jewish estate. Asked by 60 Minutes if he felt guilty about it, he said no, because he wasn't at fault. The slander that he was a Nazi collaborator has proliferated on the right ever since."
Abraham Foxman, the executive director of the ADL, objected strongly to Beck's attacks:
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.
While I, too, may disagree with many of Soros' views and analysis on the issues, to bring in this kind of innuendo about his past is unacceptable. 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.
The Holocaust was a horrific time, and many people had to make excruciating choices to ensure their survival. George Soros has been forthright about his childhood experiences and his family's history, and there the matter should rest.