And a look at what it’s got to do with Israel, social division in the Jewish state, and the impact on American-Jewish support.
Aug 21, 2023
Starting in the 1990s, author Rachel Ehrenfeld warned about the dangers George Soros’s policies posed to America.
Conservatives have long warned against George Soros, the Hungarian-born billionaire famous for pouring money into left-wing causes, but Rachel Ehrenfeld, author of “The Soros Agenda,” was one of the first to speak out about what she describes as the subversive threat Soros poses to America and the West.
Ehrenfeld first became aware of Soros’s plans in the 1990s due to her research on drug addiction and drug trafficking (Soros’s first foray into American public policy was drug legalization). “I knew that drug legalization would cause a massive increase in the number of drug addicts,” writes Ehrenfeld.
“Moreover, I recalled that enabling easy access to narcotics was mentioned in the ‘Soviet Military Encyclopedia’ as an important weapon during so-called peacetime. It was recommended because when easily accessible, narcotic use spreads like fire, undermining the targeted country’s society, economy, and political integrity,” she continues.
In February 1995, as result of her expertise on drug issues, Ehrenfeld found herself invited to a dinner at Soros’s home in New York City. He posed as open-minded and prepared to debate the drug issue, so she decided to correct him when he praised the Swiss. (Ehrenfeld had just returned from Switzerland, where she met with experts involved in a government-sponsored project to supply addicts with heroin, morphine and free needles—an experiment which proved a disaster.)
“[P]olitely, I interrupted Soros, pointing out he was ill-informed. He seemed stunned that I dared contradict him and forcefully repeated his praise of the Swiss. When I insisted he was wrong, the angry Soros turned around and left the big living room. The other guests, who until then stood around us, listening, moved very fast away from me. The scene reminded me of something Woody Allen would have created,” she writes.
Ehrenfeld recognized that Soros was determined to change America’s drug policy. In a Feb. 7, 1996 Wall Street Journal op-ed, she cautioned that Soros’s “sponsorship unified the movement to legalize drugs and gave it the respectability and credibility it lacked.” She also warned that if Soros went unchallenged, he would alter the political landscape in America. She even visited senators and Republican mega-donors to tell them Soros must be countered. Nobody took action, she said.
“It took twenty-six years for Americans to catch up with the profound changes Soros has set out to achieve—and has achieved—in America,” she writes.
It is difficult to completely understand Soros’s motivations, Ehrenfeld says, in part because the “bottom line is what we really know about Soros is what he tells us. There isn’t anyone around to say, ‘I remember him from the neighborhood.’ It’s a little bit strange. Those who worked with him refuse to talk. They’re intimidated.”
What is clear is that Soros turned against the laissez-faire capitalism that made him rich. “It is exactly because I have been successful in the marketplace that I can afford to advocate these values,” Soros said of himself. “I am the classic limousine liberal.”
“The Soros Agenda” dissects Soros’s strategy, focusing mainly on his actions in America; how he went about influencing the political and social landscape by funneling an enormous amount of money through an “intricate, multilayered web” of foundations. Ehrenfeld notes that Soros’s Open Society Foundations (OSF) has been rated the “least transparent” out of 200 think tanks in 47 countries.
She also looks at the impact of his activities, which she says have fomented “violence and division in the country, weakening it from within while decreasing its influence in the world.”
Ehrenfeld is founder and president of the New York-based American Center for Democracy and its Economic Warfare Institute.
She recently spoke with JNS.
Q: What made you aware so early of the danger Soros posed?
A: When I saw how he went about his effort to legalize drugs. If he wanted to change the law, he should have gone to Congress like everybody else. He didn’t do that. He first started his own foundations. He wanted initially to legalize all drugs. Only when there was pushback from Arizona, he decided, “OK, so let’s go after marijuana first.”
I studied a lot about the Soviet Union. I studied a lot about communism. I studied a lot at a very young age about disinformation. And something clicked. It struck me that this was just the first push. And the way he went about it—again, there was really a lot of propaganda. He was able to enlist many people, many celebrities to promote the agenda locally. He promoted it when [Barack] Obama came to power. Had [John] Kerry won the election [in 2004], Kerry probably would have done something to promote it, too.
With [Bill] Clinton, there were all kinds of stories about him and drugs. It was not the right time. The campaign had to be built up, and Soros did that. More or less at the same time, Soros started also with open borders. It seemed to be more than just a rich man who has a fancy to do something.
Moreover, most very rich people give to libraries, hospitals, museums. He didn’t.
So the whole Soros phenomenon struck me. Also, what I heard and what I saw in the introduction at his home. It was very clear that this was a long-term agenda. There was a bigger plan. It was only the beginning.
Q: You write that Soros wanted to undermine the American justice system, and to challenge it, he settled on drug legalization. Why did he choose that issue first?
A: Precisely because it was something that everybody agreed upon. Drug use was shunned, it was a criminal thing to do. We had just come off [former First Lady] Nancy Reagan’s successful “Just Say No” to drugs campaign. The war on drugs was actually succeeding. Every 6-, 7- and 8-year-old knew, “Say no to drugs.” And everybody remembered the advertisements on television where they showed an egg frying and the line, “This is your brain on drugs.” It was simple, but it was successful.
There were people using cannabis in the United States, especially in places like Hollywood. There were baby boomers in New York. I had a secretary who belonged to that generation. They were kind of hippies living in wonderful, big, rent-controlled apartments on the Upper West Side. They would smoke weed on the weekends. But they were really the minority. And they were not flaunting it. And they didn’t preach legalizing it.
Q: So precisely the fact that the drug war had been won, at least in terms of convincing the American people to fight it, that Soros chose to tackle it?
A: Yes, this was really a very brazen attempt to try to see how far he could push to change the United States. He said he wanted to change the United States. Unbeknownst to me, already after the fall of the Soviet Union he started telling, for example, the Hungarians that capitalism is bad. We don’t want capitalism. He started talking about how the United States was also bad.
Q: Concerning America, what do you think is his most destructive act—is it open borders, drug legalization, helping elect anti-incarceration district attorneys, stoking racial divides?
A: It’s all of the above, really. But not everything came at the same time. It was cumulative, creating chaos by destabilizing law and order. Initially, in the beginning, things like climate justice, environmental justice, gender justice, were not on the agenda at all. But as more progressives joined, he expanded the scope of his support really to all deviant behavior to create more chaos.
Q: Do you agree with comments by people like attorney Alan Dershowitz, who has said that George Soros has done more than anyone to turn Americans against Israel?
A: [Former U.S. Ambassador to Israel] David Friedman also has said that nobody has done more damage to Israel than George Soros. He’s funded the New Israel Fund, the Palestinians, Birzeit University, anti-Israel organizations in Israel. I quote Soros saying tribalism is not for him. So he doesn’t live in Israel. But he did everything in order to destabilize the place.
Q: Soros always cries antisemitism when he’s attacked. What’s the best way to undermine such a defense?
A: When people like Benjamin Netanyahu, David Friedman, Dershowitz and myself keep telling people this is not antisemitism. Unless you say that he’s Jewish and this is why he’s doing it. The religion he was born into has nothing to do with it. Soros says he’s agnostic.
Since the book came out, several Jewish publications have refused to publish either excerpts from the book or review the book. I’ve received hate mail following interviews, many from Jews. It’s worrisome.
Q: Are you worried for Israel given that his son, Alexander, who’s slated to take over, has expressed more interest in Israel and Judaism than his father?
A: Alex is a big supporter of Jewish causes if by Jewish causes you mean anti-Israeli organizations.
It was interesting to see in the Wall Street Journal announcement with Alex Soros in June—I wouldn’t call it an interview, it was more a glorified PR ad—it showed a picture of Alex with his father at his bar mitzvah. I saw that as really a threat: “You criticize what I do, you will be accused of antisemitism.”
Alex has been trying to increase the division between the observant Orthodox and the … secular in Israel. He’s said that Jews in America are still conveying their support to Israel no matter what, and they don’t understand when they are supporting Israel, they are supporting apartheid. Soros, his father, was the first one to support the apartheid conference in South Africa.
Why they are so bent on hating Israel and trying to destabilize the Jewish state is beyond me. They are not the first self-hating Jews. Unfortunately, they have a lot of influence.
Q: You write that Soros should be held responsible for his actions. What did you mean by that? Has he done anything illegal?
A: …[N]obody has tried to take him to court about this. I’m not the one to point out what he did legally or illegally. I just know that the foundations are not supposed to be active politically. They are. Every organization to get money from him is active politically, promoting his agenda and promoting the people that would promote his agenda if they got to any position of power. So as far as I understand it, yes, it’s political action. And they shouldn’t be doing it as long as they are registered as charities.
Q: George Soros is in his 90s. Can we expect his influence to wane?
A: He turned 93 on Aug. 12. Listen, he may live longer than me. We don’t know when our time is up. He certainly has the best medical treatment anybody can have. He’s not playing tennis at the Southampton club anymore. However, he is continuing to give money to Democrat candidates. So the money is continuing to flow. As long as he has breath, he can continue to do what he’s doing. Don’t count him out.