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A UK newspaper just accused George Soros of a “secret" Brexit plot

The article was criticized for playing into anti-Semitic tropes.

by Tim Hume
Feb 8 2018, 1:57pm

Getty Images

Billionaire financier George Soros gave £400,000 ($558,000) to a campaign lobbying to prevent Britain leaving the European Union, British media reported Wednesday.

The Hungarian-American philanthropist made the donation through his Open Society Foundation to the Best for Britain campaign, which wants to stop Brexit.

The group is pushing for a second referendum on the issue, through public advertising campaigns and lobbying MPs to vote against the government’s final Brexit deal. The group’s website says that “remaining a member of the European Union must be presented again to the country as one of the options” for the public.

The British government has repeatedly said the result of the 2015 referendum on leaving the bloc must be respected, and the issue will not be revisited.

The news of Soros’ involvement was first reported by The Telegraph, in a story that described the 87-year-old as backing a “secret plot to thwart Brexit.”

The framing of the article, co-authored by Nick Timothy, a pro-Brexit former adviser to Prime Minister Theresa May, was criticized for playing into anti-Semitic tropes.

Soros, who is Jewish, has repeatedly been the subject of anti-Semitic conspiracy theories, especially in Hungary, where he was born and still holds citizenship. Hungary’s increasingly authoritarian leader Viktor Orban has framed Soros as a public enemy, painting the liberal scion as responsible for flows of immigration into the European Union.

Timothy responded to the criticism on Twitter, saying he had not written about Hungary and didn’t endorse anti-Semitism or conspiracy theories.

Best for Britain’s chairman, former minister Lord Malloch-Brown, said there was nothing untoward about the donation, and the group had followed rules governing financial contributions “to the letter.”

As the challenges of leaving the European Union look increasingly fraught, pro-E.U. politicians and groups have been fighting on a number of fronts to try and prevent Brexit outright, or lobby for May to shift tack towards a “soft Brexit” that would retain some ties with the bloc. The “remainers” won a small victory in December, when MPs voted that parliament must be guaranteed a final vote on any potential Brexit deal struck with Brussels.

Cover image: Financier and philanthropist George Soros attends the official opening of the European Roma Institute for Arts and Culture at the German Foreign Ministry on June 8, 2017 in Berlin, Germany. (Sean Gallup/Getty Images)

This article originally appeared on VICE News US.