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The newly elected mayor of Budapest thinks he can fool the western media by trying whitewash the opposition’s de facto alliance with Hungary’s anti-Semitic far-right. But Jobbik is still the same, anti-Semitic, anti-Roma group of far-right radicals.
Yes, what happened recently at the Aurora Center is a shameful act, one that should and will be prosecuted. But no, it does not have anything to do with the Hungarian government, and it’s high time that our international friends understood that.
Last month, I wrote about the research of the Action and Protection Foundation (APF), a Hungarian civic group founded in 2012 by the Unified Hungarian Jewish Congregation, specifically the group’s monitoring and analysis of anti-Semitic incidents and hate crimes.
The Times never responded to my request to have a chance to reply. Perhaps that’s because, as journalism goes, this ranks among the most atrocious pieces of reporting on Hungary that I’ve seen in some time.
Just when you thought the story couldn’t get any worse. Hungary’s far-right, extremist party, Jobbik, decided in December 2018 to dismiss one of its vice presidents because of his anti-Semitic statements and replaced him with another who backed the idea of drawing up a list of Jews.
A few months ago, in the lead up to last year’s general elections, this member of Hungary’s opposition was touring the country saying his party refused any cooperation with far-right, extremist Jobbik, a party he claimed to be “full of Nazis” that are “now presented in different packaging.” You won’t believe what he just said in a television interview.
For years, critics in the international media and other circles have tried to stick Prime Minister Orbán with the anti-Semitism charge. The prime minister endured repeated demands from these people to denounce or distance himself from the rhetoric of Hungary’s far-right party Jobbik, as if he were responsible for their extremism.
The announcement yesterday that the government of Hungary is putting forth 1.5 million EUR to fight anti-Semitism in Europe gives us an opportunity to talk frankly about this problem. Or better yet, let’s take a hard look at who is just talking and who is doing something about it.
“We will never forget that the Hungarian government, at that time, could not defend its Jewish citizens, but today the safety of all Jewish citizens in Hungary is guaranteed and anti-Semitism meets with zero tolerance,” the prime minister said
The third annual Jewish Art Days Festival invigorated Budapest’s already lively cultural scene between May 28 and June 10. Filling more than 20 venues with dozens of programs across the capital, the festival is becoming an early-summer tradition in the city and yet another sign that Hungary’s Jewish community is seeing a renaissance of their culture.
Taking out of context and misinterpreting a statement that Prime Minister Viktor Orbán made several weeks ago, an article published recently in Die Welt raises – again – the tired and groundless charges of anti-Semitism.
In recent days, the chairman of Hungary’s far-right political party Jobbik publicly declared his intention to form an alliance with left-wing opposition parties LMP and Momentum. The latter have not ruled out the possibility.
During a historic visit – the first of a head of government of Israel in 30 years – Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu thanked Prime Minister Viktor Orbán for “standing up for Israel in international forums,” and the Hungarian prime minister delivered a sharp rebuke of the failure of Hungary to defend its Jewish citizens during World War II, saying the country had sinned.
Several days ago, Prime Minister Orbán was speaking about a group of leaders that served during a tough period in Hungary’s history, the inter-war period, and his remarks generated some controversy. Inevitably, some raised the worn-out charge of anti-Semitism. Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade Péter Szijjártó put them properly in their place.
The heritage of a particular American billionaire speculator is not relevant to his agenda. Criticizing the radical policies he’s pushing all over the world – completely lacking any democratic mandate or accountability – is not anti-Semitism. Suggesting otherwise amounts to a cheap tactic to silence his critics and support the far-from-mainstream Soros agenda.
PM Orbán highlighted that illegal immigration is bringing a culture of intolerance and growing anti-Semitism into Europe. The prime minister wrote that “I do not expect either thanks or recognition for our fight against illegal migration, but a modicum of assistance from your community would be appreciated”
“We will continue to protect the Jewish community in future against any and all attacks of an anti-Semitic nature and against any attempts to endanger or discriminate against Hungary’s Jewish community,” Hungary's foreign minister said
Browse the international media coverage of Hungary over the last several weeks and a handful of keywords stand out: migration crisis, NGOs, transparency, media, Central European University and George Soros. While much of the coverage lacks balance, the keywords themselves can be instructive, shedding light on a far-reaching, ideologically driven and wholly undemocratic network that pushes George Soros’s “open society” agenda.
Political debates can get nasty. A certain amount of give-and-take comes with the territory, and as a spokesperson, I’ve experienced it firsthand. There are red lines that should not be crossed, though, and assailing the dignity of the victims of mass genocide crosses the brightest of them. Every reasonable person, including European Commission Vice President Timmermans, should know that no matter how deep the political disagreement, Holocaust victims should not be exploited as weapons in such a fight.