A Hungarian government spokesman said accusations the campaign was antisemitic were "groundless".

The government of nationalist Prime Minister Viktor Orban unveiled billboards on Monday vilifying European Commission President Ursula Von der Leyen, the first time it has made her a personal target in a political campaign.

The billboards, part of Orban's campaign for 2024 European parliamentary elections, depict Von der Leyen alongside Soros' son Alexander, who chairs his Open Society Foundations, and read: "Let's not dance to their tunes".

George Soros and his liberal views have been a perennial target of Orban's Fidesz party over the past decade. Soros is Jewish and his central role in Fidesz propaganda has led some critics to accuse the party of antisemitism, which it denies.

"Hungarian taxpayers' money is again being used to pay for political propaganda that is deeply tainted by antisemitism," a spokesperson for the Open Society Foundations said in a reply to Reuters questions.

"This is a well-worn tactic by the Hungarian government--creating a vague and imaginary foreign threat to distract voters from real domestic issues..."

Orban has said there is zero tolerance in Hungary for antisemitism, while at the same time repeatedly portraying Hungarian-born Soros as a puppet master plotting to undermine his rule, including by supporting mass immigration.

The veteran prime minister banned a pro-Palestinian rally in Budapest after Hamas' attack on Israel last month.

"It's never been about George Soros's identity as a Jew. It's about his ideology and his radical activism. It's about his determination to meddle in politics in Hungary and other countries of Europe," government spokesman Zoltan Kovacs wrote on his blog on Wednesday, rejecting the allegation of antisemitism.

Orban has said Hungary is the safest country in Europe for Jews due to his government's tough stance on illegal migration.

In 2018, Central European University, founded by Soros in 1991, moved the bulk of its courses out of Hungary to Vienna following a long struggle between Soros and Orban's government.

(Reporting by Krisztina Than; Editing by Mark Potter)