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Sep 11, 2020 - Zoltán Kovács

That moment when the liberal opposition nominated a far-right candidate with a disturbing history of anti-Semitism, Part III – How they completely ignored the story

Sometimes the silence carries greater significance than the stories that get published. This silence here is an appalling example of the liberal mainstream and its media.

 

Going back to the days when he was first elected prime minister in 1998, liberal, mainstream media outlets have been assailing Prime Minister Orbán’s governments with a recurring list of criticisms, and one of the most persistent is the charge of anti-Semitism. It’s always been about distracting from our achievements and altering facts to underpin their distorted narrative.

The mainstream media’s claim of our alleged anti-Semitism became a high-point card in the hands of liberal circles, one they would not hesitate to play when they had nothing else.

Given this high level of scrutiny regarding Jewish life in Hungary, it is particularly shocking to see that no one from the left-liberal anti-Semitism police have cared to comment on the case of far-right Jobbik member László Bíró’s nomination as the joint opposition candidate in an upcoming by-election. You can read the details here and here, but in short, he’s a man with a long history of disturbing anti-Semitic comments and anti-Roma slurs, and now he’s their official candidate.

Where is Michael Roth, the German minister of state who expressed concern about “rampant anti-Semitism in Hungary” when Hungary’s “democratic” left-liberal camp is clearly in bed with the anti-Semitic, anti-Roma far-right? Where is POLITICO Europe and its “independent expert” correspondent who has written many times on anti-Semitism in Hungary? Where are all those voices who so persistently used that tired anti-Semitism card against Hungary, and particularly PM Orbán and his governments, whenever it served their purpose?

Where are they now that the self-proclaimed “democratic” opposition has joined forces with the far-right, behind a candidate with a disturbing history of stomach-turning comments?

Last year, Patrick Kingsley at The New York Times wrote that “Mr. Orbán and his party, Fidesz, have used anti-Semitic tropes to promote his vision of Hungarian nationalism”, but they have nothing to say now about the opposition rallying around László Biró. And then there’s German daily Bild, which ran a story in February with the title “How anti-Semitic is Viktor Orbán?”. Again, no response yet from Bild to the real anti-Semitism in Hungary.

Nick Cohen at The Guardian was among those criticizing PM Orbán for his alleged “novel combination of anti-Jewish and anti-Muslim bigotry” that he used to “scare Hungarians into voting for him” in the last general elections in 2018. As of today, the British newspaper hasn’t found this story of a candidate’s disturbing history of openly anti-Semitic behavior worthy of coverage.

If a coalition of parties on the right anywhere in Europe were to put forward a candidate like Bíró with his shameful history of anti-Semitic and anti-Roma slurs, these media outlets would be all over the story. But this time it’s a coalition of leftists and liberals – and opponents of PM Viktor Orbán – so they hold their noses and keep quiet. The silence is deafening.