Hungary Leader Demands List of 'Risk' Jews

In Echo of Nazis, Far Rightist Says Jews Undermine State

Far Right: Supporters of the neo-Nazi Jobbik party rally in Hungary.
getty images
Far Right: Supporters of the neo-Nazi Jobbik party rally in Hungary.

By Reuters

Published November 27, 2012.
  • Print
  • Share Share

A Hungarian far-right politician urged the government to draw up lists of Jews who pose a “national security risk”, stirring outrage among Jewish leaders who saw echoes of fascist policies that led to the Holocaust.

Marton Gyongyosi, leader of Hungary’s third-strongest political party Jobbik, said the list was necessary because of heightened tensions following the brief conflict in Gaza and should include members of parliament.

Opponents have condemned frequent anti-Semitic slurs and tough rhetoric against the Roma minority by Gyongyosi’s party as populist point scoring ahead of elections in 2014.

But Jobbik has never called publicly for lists of Jews.

“I am a Holocaust survivor,” said Gusztav Zoltai, executive director of the Hungarian Jewish Congregations’ Association. “For people like me this generates raw fear, even though it is clear that this only serves political ends. This is the shame of Europe, the shame of the world.”

Between 500,000 and 600,000 Hungarian Jews died in the Holocaust, according to the Holocaust Memorial Centre in Budapest. According to some accounts, one in three Jews killed in Auschwitz were Hungarian nationals.

Gyongyosi’s call came after Foreign Ministry State Secretary Zsolt Nemeth said Budapest favoured a peaceful solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict as benefiting both Israelis with Hungarian ancestry, Hungarian Jews and Palestinians in Hungary.

Gyongyosi told Parliament: “I know how many people with Hungarian ancestry live in Israel, and how many Israeli Jews live in Hungary,” according to a video posted on Jobbik’s website late on Monday.

“I think such a conflict makes it timely to tally up people of Jewish ancestry who live here, especially in the Hungarian Parliament and the Hungarian government, who, indeed, pose a national security risk to Hungary.”

APOLOGY

The government released a terse condemnation of the remarks.

“The government strictly rejects extremist, racist, anti-Semitic voices of any kind and does everything to suppress such voices,” the government spokesman’s office said.

Gyongyosi sought to play down his comments on Tuesday, saying he was referring to citizens with dual Israeli-Hungarian citizenship.

“I apologise to my Jewish compatriots for my declarations that could be misunderstood,” he said on Jobbik’s website.

Jobbik’s anti-Semitic discourse often evokes a centuries-old blood libel - the accusation that Jews used Christians’ blood in religious rituals.

“Jobbik has moved from representing medieval superstition (of the blood libel) to openly Nazi ideologies,” wrote Slomo Koves, chief rabbi of the Unified Hungarian Jewish Congregation.

Jobbik registered as a political party in 2003, and gained increasing influence as it radicalized gradually, vilifying Jews and the country’s 700,000 Roma.

The group gained notoriety after founding the Hungarian Guard, an unarmed vigilante group reminiscent of World War Two-era far-right groups. It entered Parliament at the 2010 elections and holds 44 of 386 seats.

Hungary has been among European states worst hit by the recent economic crisis and the centre-right government of Prime Minister Viktor Orban has struggled to exit recession.


The Jewish Daily Forward welcomes reader comments in order to promote thoughtful discussion on issues of importance to the Jewish community. In the interest of maintaining a civil forum, The Jewish Daily Forwardrequires that all commenters be appropriately respectful toward our writers, other commenters and the subjects of the articles. Vigorous debate and reasoned critique are welcome; name-calling and personal invective are not. While we generally do not seek to edit or actively moderate comments, our spam filter prevents most links and certain key words from being posted and The Jewish Daily Forward reserves the right to remove comments for any reason.





Find us on Facebook!
  • This is what the rockets over Israel and Gaza look like from space:
  • "Israel should not let captives languish or corpses rot. It should do everything in its power to recover people and bodies. Jewish law places a premium on pidyon shvuyim, “the redemption of captives,” and proper burial. But not when the price will lead to more death and more kidnappings." Do you agree?
  • Slate.com's Allison Benedikt wrote that Taglit-Birthright Israel is partly to blame for the death of American IDF volunteer Max Steinberg. This is why she's wrong:
  • Israeli soldiers want you to buy them socks. And snacks. And backpacks. And underwear. And pizza. So claim dozens of fundraising campaigns launched by American Jewish and Israeli charities since the start of the current wave of crisis and conflict in Israel and Gaza.
  • The sign reads: “Dogs are allowed in this establishment but Zionists are not under any circumstances.”
  • Is Twitter Israel's new worst enemy?
  • More than 50 former Israeli soldiers have refused to serve in the current ground operation in #Gaza.
  • "My wife and I are both half-Jewish. Both of us very much felt and feel American first and Jewish second. We are currently debating whether we should send our daughter to a Jewish pre-K and kindergarten program or to a public one. Pros? Give her a Jewish community and identity that she could build on throughout her life. Cons? Costs a lot of money; She will enter school with the idea that being Jewish makes her different somehow instead of something that you do after or in addition to regular school. Maybe a Shabbat sing-along would be enough?"
  • Undeterred by the conflict, 24 Jews participated in the first ever Jewish National Fund— JDate singles trip to Israel. Translation: Jews age 30 to 45 travelled to Israel to get it on in the sun, with a side of hummus.
  • "It pains and shocks me to say this, but here goes: My father was right all along. He always told me, as I spouted liberal talking points at the Shabbos table and challenged his hawkish views on Israel and the Palestinians to his unending chagrin, that I would one day change my tune." Have you had a similar experience?
  • "'What’s this, mommy?' she asked, while pulling at the purple sleeve to unwrap this mysterious little gift mom keeps hidden in the inside pocket of her bag. Oh boy, how do I answer?"
  • "I fear that we are witnessing the end of politics in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. I see no possibility for resolution right now. I look into the future and see only a void." What do you think?
  • Not a gazillionaire? Take the "poor door."
  • "We will do what we must to protect our people. We have that right. We are not less deserving of life and quiet than anyone else. No more apologies."
  • "Woody Allen should have quit while he was ahead." Ezra Glinter's review of "Magic in the Moonlight": http://jd.fo/f4Q1Q
  • from-cache

Would you like to receive updates about new stories?




















We will not share your e-mail address or other personal information.

Already subscribed? Manage your subscription.