The Ten Worst Purveyors of Antisemitism Worldwide, #6: The Jobbik Party
I think now is the time to tally up how many people of Jewish ancestry there are here, and especially in the Hungarian parliament and the Hungarian government, who, indeed, pose a national security risk for Hungary.
Those words were spoken in the Hungarian parliament on November 27, 2012, by Márton Gyöngyösi, an MP of the neo-Nazi Jobbik Party.
As The Economist noted at the time:
Lists have a terrible resonance for Hungary’s Jews. When the Nazis invaded in March 1944 they used the lists of members of the Jewish community to organise one of the swiftest and most efficient episodes of the Holocaust. With the ready assistance of Hungarian officials and the Gendarmerie 430,000 Jews were deported to Auschwitz in a few weeks, most to their deaths. On some days the gas chambers and crematoria processed more than 1,000 people an hour.
Yet the government of the ruling conservative Fidesz Party only gave what The Economist called a “lacklustre response.” True, Gyöngyösi’s words sparked a protest demonstration in front of parliament on December 2 with speeches from politicians across the spectrum. Yet it took Fidesz prime minister Viktor Orbán until December 3 to finally say in parliament that Gyöngyösi’s statement was “unworthy of Hungary”—hardly a stinging condemnation.
And the reason for such gingerness is that Jobbik—now Hungary’s third largest party, having won 17 percent of the vote in the 2010 elections—is too popular. Politicians, particularly on the conservative side of the spectrum, compete for its votes and don’t want to denounce it too sharply.
As for Gyöngyösi, he gave a partial retraction, saying that “only” those Jews with dual Hungarian-Israeli citizenship should be put on his list of security threats and that he “apologise[d] to my Jewish compatriots for my equivocal statement.”
Yet last May Gyöngyösi was back in form, saying Hungary had become “subjugated to Zionism…a target of colonisation while we, the indigenous people, can play only the role of extras.”
The 35-year-old Gyöngyösi is “a far cry from the stereotype of the ultra-right skinhead or boot-boy. He is well-dressed, articulate, speaks fluent English and is the son of a diplomat….”