* Press release…
The Illinois Jewish Legislative Caucus welcomes the report that the Chicago Tribune may finally have had enough of the bigoted and anti-Semitic rants of John Kass, and is ending his 23-year reign as “lead columnist” for the paper.
Kass authored a winding, conspiracy-filled diatribe blaming George Soros for violence in Chicago and other major cities. “The Soros-funded prosecutors, not the mayors, are the ones who help release the violent on little or no bond,” he wrote on July 22, 2020. Kass knows, as most journalists know, that Soros-themed conspiracy theories have proliferated amongst the fringe white supremacist and Twitterazi’s. Kass knew about the rise in anti-Semitism, he just didn’t care.
The Anti-Defamation League and others have chronicled the rise of anti-Semitic tropes based on the Soros theories. On June 2, 2020, the ADL noted:
“Although the vast majority of Soros-related conspiracy theories do not mention his Jewish heritage, the concern remains that they can serve as a gateway to the antisemitic subculture that blames Jews for the riots. This type of content can be found on mainstream platforms; a Twitter user wrote, “George Soros is paying for this he is a Jew America bows to the Jew [sic],” while another tweeted, “Antifa are on the payroll of the Jewish financier George Soros who often uses these paid thugs to intimidate any opposition towards the status quo that he and his Zionist allies have set up to control us.” Yet another claimed, “Soros is every bit the subversive, parasitic conspirator these people make him out to be. The problem they always neglect to mention is the fact that he’s a Jew.”
Not to be outdone, the Tribune Editorial Page Editor doubled down on support for Mr. Kass following his editorial and removal as lead columnist. Ms. McQueary also knows about the devastation of the anti-Semitic Soros fear-mongering, but cannot be bothered to apologize for it on her own editorial page. What message does this send to your Jewish readers? To your Jewish reporters?
Words matter, Mr. Kass and Ms. McQueary, so do a better job and stop peddling anti-Semitism. We assure you - we will hold you accountable to do just that.
Illinois Jewish Legislative Caucus
Illinois State Representative Jonathan Carroll
Illinois State Representative Kelly Cassidy
Illinois State Representative Daniel Didech
Illinois State Representative Robyn Gabel
Illinois State Representative Jennifer Gong-Gershowitz
Illinois State Representative Will Guzzardi
Illinois State Representative Mark Kalish
Illinois State Representative Bob Morgan
Illinois State Representative Yoni Pizer
Illinois State Representative Sam Yingling
Illinois State Senator Sara Feigenholtz
Illinois State Senator Laura Fine
…Adding… Strannik in comments…
Not all criticisms of a billionaire who happens to be Jewish are antisemitic, but columns that talk about a rich Jewish person undermining the fabric of society through Jewish money is a bit on the Protocols of the Elders of Zion side.
*** UPDATE *** David Goldenberg, Midwest regional director, Anti-Defamation League, Chicago…
John Kass’ column “Overwhelming sense of lawlessness growing” (July 22) perpetuates conspiracy theories against Jews that have been the gateway to anti-Semitism for centuries.
The scapegoating of George Soros for recent increases of violence in Chicago abandons the notion that correlation does not equal causation, as Kass directly alleges with insufficient evidence.
In leveling these absurd charges, Kass joins the ranks of those who employ long-standing anti-Semitic myths blaming Holocaust survivor Soros, his philanthropy and other Jews as manipulating government for their own benefit while plotting to control countries and global events.
The Anti-Defamation League’s Center on Extremism tracks attempts to spread these falsehoods, which have included in recent months laughable charges that Jews are funding antifa and violent protests and are responsible for the spread of COVID-19. While Kass gives oxygen to these anti-Semitic myths, the Tribune provided a platform.
Without question, Chicago has a rampant problem with violence. But the column offers no solution — and also does harm to the Jewish community.
Even if no anti-Semitic insinuation was intended, casting a well-known Jewish individual as a puppet master who manipulates high-profile events for malign purposes has the effect of mainstreaming anti-Semitic tropes and giving support, however unwitting, to bona fide anti-Semites and extremists who disseminate these ideas knowingly and with malice.
* Meanwhile, this defense of Kass relies on a lie about Soros…
Let me pause here for a minute to discuss George Soros and today’s leftists. Soros is genetically Jewish. That’s his sole connection to Judaism.
As a 14-year-old during World War II, Soros worked with the Nazis. That was not his fault. He was a teenager and did what he needed to survive.
What is Soros’s fault is that he feels no guilt or sadness about this collaboration. At 14, if he had possessed a normal moral sense, Soros should have known what he did was wrong. His is a psychopathic world view
* The actual story…
As part of their efforts to control and eventually eliminate the Jews of Europe, the Nazis sought the participation of the people whom they were attempting to destroy. In much of Nazi-occupied Europe, the Nazis set up “Jewish councils” and forced Jewish authorities — from religious leaders to trusted family patriarchs — to put Nazi policies and orders into practice.
In Hungary, the Nazis ordered the creation of the Central Council of Hungarian Jews in March 1944, intended to control the Jewish population without panicking them. The Council included both Zionist and Orthodox Jews, many of whom were aware of what the Nazis had done in neighboring countries but believed that they could somehow placate the Hungarian government and the Nazi authorities through smaller concessions — giving up furniture and other possessions, moving into ghettos created by the occupying German forces — and somehow avoid deportation to death camps until the war ended.
This was fruitless. As Ernő Munkácsi, the head of one of Hungary’s largest Jewish communities, put it in his postwar memoirs, “… the leaders of the Jews … lulled themselves into the unfounded optimism that we would be the exceptions, the tiny island in the sea of the destruction of European Jews.”
It was for the Jewish Council that 13-year-old George Soros worked for all of two days. He was asked to deliver messages across the city. When his father read one of the messages, he saw that they were in fact summonses, orders for Jewish individuals to report to a rabbinical seminar with food for two days and blankets.
There’s more, and even more here and here. It’s all bogus.