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Europe’s Selective Outrage about Anti-Semitism

It appears that anti-Semitism is condemned only when it can be pinned on euroskeptics.

by
John Rosenthal

Bio

October 29, 2009 - 12:00 am
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For evidence that such comments are hardly unusual for Molnar, see veteran Austrian journalist Karl Pfeiffer’s report here. Moreover, as Pfeiffer and others have documented, Fidesz has a long history of coquetting with openly racist and anti-Semitic currents in Hungarian politics and society. In a recent article in the Berlin alternative weekly Jungle World, Pfeiffer notes that:

In spring 2008, the journalist Zsolt Bayer, who is close to Fidesz, published an article in the conservative daily Magyar Hirlap, in which he railed against Jews [i.e., purportedly Jewish authors] whose “mere existence justifies anti-Semitism.” “Let’s not let them piss … in the basin of the [Hungarian] nation,” Bayer wrote. A few days after the publication of the article, Orban posed for a photograph with Bayer. Viewers of Hungarian television also saw images of a close friendship [between Bayer and Orban].

Writing on the same episode in a piece for the website of Austrian public television ORF, Hanna Ronzheimer comments:

That anti-Semitism is becoming increasingly acceptable in polite company [in Hungary] is also the fault of Fidesz. With its political mottos and its simplistic and absurd portrayals of [Hungary’s] supposed enemies, it nourishes already existent prejudices about Jews as cunning capitalists and traitors against the nation.

According to a study conducted by the Hungarian sociologist Pal Tamas and cited in the German daily Handelsblatt, some 50% of Fidesz voters are receptive to anti-Semitism and xenophobia.

So, in short, if the Conservative Party’s current association with the Poland’s Law and Justice Party is supposed to be a problem, why was the Conservative Party’s previous association with Hungary’s Fidesz not one?

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John Rosenthal writes on European politics and transatlantic security issues. You can follow his work at www.trans-int.com or on Facebook here.
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