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The ‘Stop Soros’ bill as an episode in a clash with liberal elites

June 4th, 2018

As Parliament begins to discuss the bill on stricter rules aimed at preventing illegal immigration, commentators place the planned legislation in the context of the government’s feud with the international liberal mainstream.

In their regular weekly editorial, the editors of Magyar Narancs describe the Stop Soros Bill as ‘a wicked one’ but admit that it doesn’t include the most controversial provisions of the original draft. Most importantly, it doesn’t empower the Minister of the Interior to screen NGOs and ban their operations if they are found to be in violation of immigration rules. Nevertheless, the editors believe that the bill is aimed at preventing asylum seekers from receiving assistance while their requests are processed. Meanwhile, they continue, the description of the ‘crime’ the bill is supposed to punish is obscure and contradictory. This is good news, they believe, as it should make this future law impossible to implement. It is bad news, they continue, because ‘a nobbled court’ might jail anyone on this basis.

In Demokrata, Gyula T. Máté depicts the history of Human Rights Watch, which started out as the US Helsinki Watch Committee 40 years ago, but was then ‘taken over’ by George Soros’s people, he writes, and is by now funded predominantly by the Hungarian American investor. The pro-government columnist was stung to write about HRW by its campaign in Germany to convince the European People’s Party to expel Fidesz from its ranks on the grounds of illiberal practices, including the Stop Soros Bill. Máté mentions four former Soros executives as well as the donor’s former wife who are on the board of HRW and quotes founding chairman Robert Bernstein who said ‘HRW lately has been following clearly political objectives and bends the facts accordingly’. Former Washington bureau chief Tom Malinowski said that HRW has become ‘a propaganda organisation’. In 2014, Máté writes, over a hundred academics published an open letter questioning the independence of Human Rights Watch. The author admits that HRW was originally founded with the intention of protecting human rights, but claims that when George Soros’s millions of dollars reached the coffers of the organisation, it became ‘a shock troop of the Washington liberal elite’.

In his Figyelő editorial, Tamás Lánczi finds it important that by now even George Soros argues against compulsory migrant relocation and even says he never supported it. Francis Fukuyama, one of the leading ideologues of liberalism, acknowledged that the Hungarian Prime Minister was right about immigration, he remarks. Meanwhile both Mr Soros and Mr Fukuyama continue to blame Central and East European countries for the migration crisis, and the crisis of the European Union in general, although it has become clear by now that Viktor Orban merely said the obvious – ‘the King has no clothes’. He mentions as an example of the arrogance of the western mainstream, the international pressure on the Italian president not to appoint a government formed by two populist parties. (In the meantime President Mattarella did appoint Giuseppe Conte as Prime Minister on 1 June, after his original candidates for the posts of finance and foreign ministers had to be replaced). Mr Soros’s people meanwhile are trying to reverse the outcome of the Brexit referendum. Such attempts, Lánczi believes, will only deepen the grave of the European Union.

In Hetek, Gábor Gavra accuses the ‘European mainstream’ of applying double standards in condemning ‘populist’ events. While Italy’s president prevented the winners of the election from forming the government they wanted, the European elite warmly welcomed the outcome of the Irish referendum which authorised abortion. Democracy is thus considered an absolute value if the majority votes for what the elite believes advisable, but not whenever voters do not choose the politically correct opinion. Such a selective interpretation of democracy, Gavra writes, is the greatest threat to Western societies.

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