George Soros on Sunday fended off accusations by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu claiming the former is behind a campaign smearing the Israeli government for planning to deport thousands of African asylum seekers and calling on it to reverse its policy.
"George Soros is also funding the protests", Netanyahu said, according to leaks from the meeting carried by Channel 10. "Obama deported two million infiltrators and they didn't say anything", Netanyahu told Likud ministers. Soros, who is Jewish, has been the subject of conspiracy theories that many consider anti-Semitic in his native Hungary as well as the United States.
A string of demonstrations have been held in protest of Israel's plan to remove African infiltrators to Rwanda and Uganda.
A wide-ranging array of Israeli and Diaspora Jewish groups have harshly criticized the plan, including pilots from the national airline El Al, the Anti-Defamation League, the Reform and Conservative movements of Judaism and the stars of the popular Israeli sketch comedy show "Eretz Nehederet."
Netanyahu's comments about Soros were criticized by Tamar Zandberg, a member of Knesset from the left-wing Meretz party.
Zandberg said that Hungary has been "carrying out an antisemitic campaign against Soros" for the past year, a campaign which she said the Foreign Ministry has warned against, and which Hungarian Jews fear.
"Netanyahu's decision to light a fire around that antisemitic campaign and to to join it is a direct continuation of the risky ties that exist between the Likud and the extreme right wing parties in Europe", she said.