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Anti-Sorosism: Reviving the 'Jewish World Conspiracy'

Richardson, John; Wodak, Ruth

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Authors

John Richardson

Ruth Wodak



Abstract

This chapter presents a Discourse-Historical Analysis (DHA) of the antisemitic conspiracy theory at the heart of ‘anti-Sorosism’. Anti-Sorosism is a term used to label the global campaign against George Soros, a Jewish American philanthropist of Hungarian origin, launched by extreme-right activists (see Wodak 2020). We argue that anti-Sorosism is a modern synecdoche of the antisemitic ‘Jewish world conspiracy’. In addition to extreme-right individuals and organizations, several mainstream right-wing politicians have blamed George Soros for many complex global and local phenomena such as migration, the political decisions of the EU, the COVID pandemic, and so forth. Indeed, the Hungarian prime minister Viktor Orbán has instrumentalized Soros time and again as a Feindbild [enemy image] when campaigning against the rules and regulations of the European Union as well as when justifying and legitimizing his restrictive immigration policies.

In this chapter, we will first briefly trace the origins of this archetypical conspiracy theory throughout the 19th and 20th centuries up to the present. The chapter then turns to a case study examining posters produced by Hungary’s governing party Fidesz. Following a summary of the DHA and contextualization of the politics of Fidesz, and its leader Viktor Orbán, we then proceed to the multimodal discourse analysis of a series of posters produced and displayed in Hungary. We conclude by arguing that conspiracy theories help to simplify complex issues and to provide clearly separated Manichean divisions of the ‘innocent’ and of those ‘to blame’. In doing so, they help achieve a strategic political function for the Orbán government.

Citation

Richardson, J., & Wodak, R. (2022). Anti-Sorosism: Reviving the 'Jewish World Conspiracy'. In Conspiracy Theory Discourses (395-420). https://doi.org/10.1075/dapsac.98.17ric

Acceptance Date May 5, 2022
Publication Date Dec 15, 2022
Publicly Available Date Dec 16, 2023
Pages 395-420
Book Title Conspiracy Theory Discourses
ISBN 9789027212702
DOI https://doi.org/10.1075/dapsac.98.17ric
Publisher URL https://benjamins.com/catalog/dapsac.98.17ric

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