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Nov 12, 2019 - Zoltán Kovács

Karácsony in Der Spiegel: Jobbik got rid of its far-right figures. No, they haven’t

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.

Here’s what Gergely Karácsony, the man recently elected mayor of Budapest, said in an interview with German daily Der Spiegel last Friday:

Karácsony: […] Due to the circumstances, the opposition had to develop an antidote.

Spiegel: Does this justify cooperating with a far-right party like Jobbik?

Karácsony: Jobbik was originally a truly radical party; its members adhered to an ultranationalist mythology. But the Jobbik we work with is different. It got rid of its far-right figures and strives to become a people's party.

Wait, what? Jobbik “got rid of its far-right figures” and “strives to become a people’s party”? While Jobbik indeed tries its best to pull off a dramatic political makeover, Lord Mayor’s statement about Jobbik couldn’t be more wrong.

Remember Márton Gyöngyösi, who currently serves as Jobbik’s member of the European Parliament? In 2012, he gained notoriety for proposing to draw up a list of all people of Jewish origin in the Hungarian Government and Parliament due to the grave national risk that they posed. Despite the openly anti-Semitic nature of his words, Gyöngyösi is still a ranking member in Jobbik’s circles and stands as their group leader in the Parliament. His statement was never renounced by the party.

There’s more, sadly. Another current Jobbik MP, Gergely Kulcsár, has referred to the Holocaust as the “the Hoaxocaust.” He gained notoriety in 2011 when he spat in the “Shoes on the Danube Bank,” a well-known Holocaust memorial in Budapest. He even sent a photo of it to his fellow party members with a caption. “This afternoon,” wrote Kulcsár, “I felt like I could use some recreation, so I visited this happy place by the banks of the Danube, which you can see in the photo. The photo was taken after spitting into the shoes.”

Did such a horrific act trigger Kulcsár’s expulsion from the party? Of course not. They even put him forward for as the unified opposition candidate in Debrecen during the local election campaign (he was later quietly withdrawn).

So, Spiegel’s question still stands: Does this justify cooperating with a far-right party, like Jobbik? No, it does not. Not under any circumstances.