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Erin K. Jenne, Andras Bozoki, Peter Visnovitz: Antisemitic Tropes, Fifth Columnism and "Soros-Bashing": The Curious Case of Central European University

Hungarian Prime Minister Orban and his media allies discursively interpellated specific individuals and states as “financiers” and “global powers” as cogs in a global “Soros network,” our Research Affiliates Erin Jenne and Andras Bozoki, and Peter Visnovitz write in their chapter in Enemies Within, published by Oxford University Press.

The volume is the first work solely devoted to the comparative study of fifth-column politics. It includes case studies from numerous countries and uses primary sources in eight languages, and includes new interpretations of well-known events.

The chapter investigates the ways “in which the post-2010 Fidesz government under Viktor Orban used antisemitic tropes to configure George Soros—once hailed as a champion of market reform, freedom, and democracy—as an ontological threat to the Hungarian nation that should therefore be expunged from the country, together with “his networks,” including the Open Society Institute and Central European University.”

To show the government’s communication strategy in action, the authors combined “an analysis of antisemitic discourse on the far right with a media content analysis of Sorosozás in government-backed online news portals from 2015 to 2020.” They show that “from 2010,

In doing so, they drew upon well-established fifth-column narratives originally constructed and refined by ideologists from the Kadar era who employed a latent antisemitic code in their writing.”

“At one time vehemently rejecting such discourse, Orbán and his government allies have become its chief articulators” with devastating effects for the Central European University in Budapest, they argue.

Learn more about the book here.

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