Virginia gubernatorial hopeful Glenn Youngkin accused of anti-Semitism after saying George Soros plants 'political operatives' on school boards

Republican gubernatorial candidate Glenn Youngkin speaks to members of the press after casting an early ballot September 23, 2021 in Fairfax, Virginia.
Republican gubernatorial candidate Glenn Youngkin speaks to members of the press after casting an early ballot September 23, 2021 in Fairfax, Virginia. Win McNamee/Getty Images
  • Glenn Youngkin said Jewish billionaire George Soros was planting "political operatives" on school boards.

  • The GOP Virginia gubernatorial candidate has been accused of anti-Semitism by some Democrats.

  • A spokesman for Youngkin said the accusations were "ridiculous partisan nonsense."

Virginia gubernatorial candidate Glenn Youngkin has been accused of anti-Semitism after he said that Jewish billionaire George Soros plants "political operatives" on school boards in the state.

Youngkin, who has been endorsed by former President Donald Trump, made the comments at a rally at in Burke, Virginia on Tuesday.

"The blame for these wrongs and the present chaos in our schools lays squarely at the feet of 40-year politician Terry McAuliffe. It just does," Youngkin said, referring to his opponent and former Virginia governor.

"But also at George Soros-backed allies. They've inserted political operatives into our school system disguised as school boards."

Youngkin was speaking about various controversies plaguing Virginia's school system, particularly protests from parents over the teaching of critical race theory at Loudon County schools.

Democrats have accused Youngkin of anti-Semitism over his comments about Soros, a popular target of right-wing conspiracy theories.

These conspiracy theories invoke anti-Semitic tropes, casting Soros as a puppet master secretly controlling the global economy and politics.

"Evoking George Soros as a shadowy funder is an anti-Semitic conspiracy theory. This is an unacceptable statement from Glenn Youngkin," Rep. Elaina Luria wrote on Twitter.

Jewish Rep. Eileen Filler-Corn, who represents the district where Youngkin made the comments, also criticized the candidate.

"The next time you visit my home precinct - represented by a Jewish school board member no less - leave your division and antisemitic tropes at home," Filler-Corn wrote on Twitter.

Youngkin's campaign spokesman Matt Wolking said the anti-Semitism accusations were "ridiculous partisan nonsense," The Hill reported.

"Glenn Youngkin stated facts reported by The Washington Post, so by Elaine Luria's absurd standard, The Washington Post is anti-Semitic," Wolking said in a statement, cited by the outlet.

"The millions of dollars that Soros gives to Virginia Democrats and PACs funds the efforts that elect school board members."

The Washington Post said it asked Youngkin's camp for examples of Soros backing school board candidates in Virginia.

His spokesman Matt Wolking sent the paper links to articles about money connected with Soros going to prosecutor races but nothing about school board candidates.

In 2019, the paper also reported that a political action committee funded by the Democratic mega-donor had spent nearly $1 million to promote progressive candidates in primaries in Virginia primaries.

The Republican Rabbi Aryeh Spero, who is the president of Jewish group Caucus for America, said the accusations were "specious chutzpah."

"Mr. Soros actively and openly engages in politics and in influencing state and local governments and is, therefore, a legitimate object of criticism, especially concerning the leftwing policies he's tried to force on America through his massive underwritings."

"Thus, this accusation is just another dishonest attempt to win an election by playing the 'anti-Semitism card,'" he said, according to The Jewish Voice.

Glenn Youngkin is currently locked in a tight race for governor with Terry McAuliffe. The election is on November 2.

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