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Feb 08, 2019 - Zoltán Kovács

[VIDEO] Liberal opposition leader: it’s not Nazism if someone makes 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.

Rewind the tape to a few years ago. A member of parliament from the far-right Jobbik party who is today their parliamentary group leader, Márton Gyöngyösi, caused scandal with this remark:

"[It is] timely to tally up people of Jewish ancestry who live here,” said the man who is currently Jobbik’s vice president, “especially in the Hungarian Parliament and the Hungarian government, who, indeed, pose a national security risk to Hungary."

The Orbán Government condemned Gyöngyösi and his party in the strongest possible terms. His remarks made headlines all over the world and rightfully so.

“Márton Gyöngyösi of the far-right Jobbik party called in parliament for Hungarian Jews to be catalogued and screened as potential national security risks,” The Economist wrote, while The Wall Street Journal talked about an “outrage in Hungary over Jewish list”. Carnegie Europe said, “It is high time that Viktor Orban took a stand against far-right wing party Jobbik in order to stop the rise of anti-semitism in Hungary.” The Washington Post even included Gyöngyösi’s outrageous lines in its TOP 8 collection of “ridiculous, racist things actually said by far-right EU politicians”.

And now, get this:

In an interview with news channel Hír TV on Tuesday, Gergely Karácsony, the former prime ministerial candidate of the Socialist and Dialogue for Hungary coalition who is also currently running for mayor of Budapest, had some shocking things to say about Jobbik and those remarks. Here’s how it went down.

Following a back and forth with the reporter about how Karácsony wouldn’t have a problem cozying up to the far-right extremist party he had a few months ago explicitly labeled anti-Semitic, the conversation took an unsettling turn – watch the video with subtitles here.

Hír TV: Pardon me, so it’s not Nazism, in your opinion, to draw up a list all MPs who are Jewish?

Karácsony: No.

That’s outrageous and deeply disturbing. It deserves the same opprobrium as the original Gyöngyösi statement and should be widely reported in the international press. But what are we hearing from the international media?

Crickets.

A few weeks ago, I challenged the members of the international press corps to ask these leaders of opposition parties who are now cozying up to Jobbik whether they condemn Jobbik's anti-Semitism, whether they have any problem entering into an agreement for the EP elections with a party that has such a disturbing history of anti-Semitism.

So far none of the international press corps has accepted the challenge. The demonstrations we saw in December (which have now fizzled out) received widespread coverage. But their turning a blind eye to this troubling coalition of Hungary’s liberal left with a far-right extremist party betrays the media’s entrenched bias and marks a sad dereliction of their professional responsibility.