Although some pundits, mostly on the left, have denounced criticism of left-wing billionaire George Soros as anti-Semitic, it is important to note that Israel has officially stated that criticism of Soros is legitimate because he "continuously" seeks to undermine the Israeli government and he funds organizations "that defame the Jewish state."
These same Soros-funded groups also seek to prevent Israel from defending itself, according to the Israeli government.
In July 2017, Israel's ambassador to Hungary criticized a government-funded billboard campaign that showed a photo of Soros and stated, "Let's not allow Soros to have the last laugh." The campaign was deemed anti-Semitic by some organizations, including the Soros-backed Human Rights Watch.
Soros, 88, is a Hungarian-American citizen with an estimated net worth of $8 billion; he has donated a reported $32 billion over the years to various left-wing causes through his Open Society Foundations.
After the Israeli ambassador's remark, Israel's Ministry of Foreign Affairs issued a clarification.
It stated, "Israel deplores any expression of anti-Semitism in any country and stands with Jewish communities everywhere in confronting this hatred. This was the sole purpose of the statement issued by Israel’s ambassador to Hungary."
"In no way was the statement meant to delegitimize criticism of George Soros," stated the ministry, "who continuously undermines Israel’s democratically elected governments by funding organizations that defame the Jewish state and seek to deny it the right to defend itself."
In a May 18, 2018 letter to the World Jewish Congress, Hungary's Prime Minister Viktor Orban wrote that the Open Society Foundation and Soros "bear personal responsibility for the growth of anti-Semitism in Europe. They have brought people to Europe -- among migrants -- whose political and religious views have dramatically increased the vulnerability of our Jewish communities."
"In contrast, Hungary and its government protects European Jewish communities when it prevents the uncontrolled entry of migrants into the European Union," said Orban. "Our policy has moral and theoretical reasons, and also serves the idea of Jewish-Christian coexistence, in which we continue to believe with conviction."
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has frequently criticized Soros. However, Netanyahu has praised Hungary's Orban as a "true friend of Israel," a leader who has fought against anti-Semitism and supported the Jewish state, reported the Voice of America news.