Growing anti-Semitism in Hungary

It would take far too long to list the growing number of small and not so small incidents with anti-Semitic overtones. Few capture the imagination of the foreign press. However, yesterday The Jerusalem Post reported that a rabbi's house situated not far from the Great Synagogue was stoned by unknown assailants during seder. A representative of the Jewish Agency was among the guests when stones were thrown through the windows of the house around 11 p.m. The guests were frightened but they went on with the seder when about half an hour later another rock was thrown through the window. At that time they decided to call the police who subsequently monitored the house and its surroundings. Nonetheless, another very forcefully thrown rock hit the window and those present are fairly certain that some kind of primitive projectile like a slingshot was used and from some distance. The police are investigating. The charge apparently is "causing material damage." TASZ (Társaság a Szabadságjogokért/Society for Human Rights) I think correctly pointed out that this is more than "causing material damage." This is violence against members of a certain group and thus a serious crime.

Anti-Semitic slogans and defacements of election posters with Jewish themes are daily affairs. One of the most notorious is a socialist poster depicting Attila Mesterházy which somebody completely "rewrote." For days internet users argued about the authenticity of the poster. They couldn't decide whether it was a photoshop job or for real. Opinions differed: some people claimed that if it was a photoshop job it was a bad one. Others, including people close to the socialist party, claimed that it couldn't be for real. Well, a couple of days ago, the issue was settled. 168 Óra sent out a photographer and took a picture of the real thing.Antisemitic poster For those of you who don't know the language. Instead of Mester- someone put in the word "szar-" meaning "shit." "Szarházi" could be translated as shithead. Attila became "zsidó" that is Jew. The words on the green background were changed to "új izraeli program" (new Israeli program) and at the bottom an untranslatable and stupid remark about the holocaust (holokauszt in Hungarian) that was changed into hollókoszt. Holló means raven and koszt means food that should be "fed to one's mother." Meaning the holocaust didn't really happen. On Mesterházy's lapel a Star of David can be seen.

Thus it should come as no surprise that some Hungarians of Jewish heritage don't feel safe in Hungary and feel like leaving the country. It cannot be a coincidence that a song sung by Zsuzsa Koncz, a famous Hungarian singer, and available on video on YouTube, is making a comeback. The lyrics were written by János Bródy and the music by Péter Gerendás in 1992 when István Csurka began his anti-Semitic campaign that led to his expulsion from MDF and the establishment of MIÉP that in the 1990s managed to get 200-300,000 people on the streets. In 1998 the party won more than 5 percent of the votes and therefore was represented in parliament. It is definitely worth listening to the song. For those who don't understand Hungarian here is a rough translation. The title of the song is: One-hundred-Year-Old Railway Station.

"There are times when one must go/When the sign appears on the wall/He wasn't young/But he felt that he might die of sorrow/When he stood by the rails one day at dawn/On that hundred-year-old station.

I say farewell, I say farewell/This is no longer my home/I say farewell, I say farewell/But I leave my heart here for ever/But I leave my heart here for ever.

On the streets hatred marched/And on the horizon reappeared the past/And he knew that he must go/Because everything begins the same/And he just stood there at dawn/On that one-hundred-year-old station.

I say farewell, I say farewell/This is no longer my home/I say farewell, I say farewell/But I leave my heart here for ever/But I leave my heart here for ever.

There was noise at the railroad station/And as if an old film had stood there for a long time/An old film, an odd film/And the picture looked so familiar.

I say farewell, I say farewell/This is no longer my home/I say farewell, I say farewell/But I leave my heart here for ever/But I leave my heart here for ever."

More than ten thousand people have viewed the video in the last few days.

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NWO
Guest
Anti-Semitism has always been a problem in Hungary. And like other countries, it gets worse at times of economic crisis. This is the case in Hungary now where one can hear anti-semitic comments in casual conversation and see anti-semitic graffitti everywhere. BTW, during the 2002 and 2006 election cycle there was exactly the same type of defacing of political posters. But I would not overstate (yet) the situtaion. As all the articles about the Passover disturbance stated, while one seder was “disturbed” (and I do not want to make light of this as it is a serious incident), a thousand were not. And there is no evidence that this was organized by Jobbik or the Magyar Garda or any other organized political group. I do not expect a rising tide of further anti-semitism under a FIDESZ government; in fact, I think senior officials in FIDESZ will be sensitive to this issue (and if anything open itself up to attacks from a disgruntaled radicals that FIDESZ is also full of Jew lovers). The level of hatred in Hungary is depressing. People like Hegedus and Pörsze are truly despicable, and I will be deeply troubled if and when openly anti-semitic candidates are… Read more »
Eva S. Balogh
Guest

NWO: “It is sad what is happening, but let us not pretend that the Passover night incident was the first rock thrown in a new Hungarian Kristallnacht.”
Sure, but Hungarian Jews feel threatened and very upset. Understandably.

Thrasymachus
Guest

I warned you. I warned you all repeatedly. That an acceleration in anti-Semitism would be a direct consequence of the introduction of the anti-holocaust-denial law, and its violation of Hungary’s constitutional protection of freedom of speech, that you ALL clamoured for!
Did you listen? Did you heck!
And here we are.
And before you all fall over each other to call me a Nazi… again. When all that has happened is me reminding you, again. Of what I predicted coming to pass, again. Read Adam LeBor’s recent piece on this in The Jewish Chronicle.
http://www.thejc.com/comment-and-debate/comment/29844/a-bad-law-against-holocaust-denial
Mr LeBor is a journalist for the London Times. And is highly respected here as an occasional comment poster.

Eva S. Balogh
Guest

Thrasymachus: “I warned you. I warned you all repeatedly. That an acceleration in anti-Semitism would be a direct consequence of the introduction of the anti-holocaust-denial law”
Anti-semitism is growing steadily for a number of years. The new holocaust-denial law has nothing to do with it. The real cause of it is the appearance and propaganda of Jobbik.

Karl Pfeifer
Guest
@Thrasymachus@ No, your logic is wrong. In Austria a law exists which is forbidding the denial of National-socialist crimes. Not only of holocaust since the first victims in Austria were Thousands of so called handicapped persons who were killed in Hartheim (Upper Austria) before the Holocaust started. To believe, that those throwing stones into a window of a rabbi were motivated by a law is not realistic. There is a rabble, which is only motivated by hatred against those who are perceived as different. I doubt the capability of most Hungarians to recognise (except in the case of religious persons) a Jew. And the great majority of Hungarians outside Budapest and some towns do not know any Jew. And in Austria the law had some salutary effects. For instance when Barbara Rosenkranz the candidate for the presidency in Austria made some ambiguous remarks on this law public opinion turned against her. So instead of blaming laws or the economic crisis, it would be preferable to look into the question why do so many Hungarians need antisemitism in order to define themselves as “true Hungarians” (igazi magyarok). To recognise facts of History can hurt the national ego, for there was no… Read more »
Thrasymachus
Guest

@Eva S. Balogh
“The new holocaust-denial law has nothing to do with it. The real cause of it is the appearance and propaganda of Jobbik.”

Thrasymachus
Guest

@Karl Pfeifer
“No, your logic is wrong.”

Karl Pfeifer
Guest
@Thrasymachus@ strange logic, to blame Rakosi for today’s rampant antisemitism, why don’t you go back to Bela Kun? Do you know that more Hungarians were hanged by the Kadar-regime than by the Rakosi regime? Do you believe a Hungarian taken to the gallows after the uprising of 1956 was crushed had a better feeling because Kádár was baptised as a catholic? There were 20 years of free speech in Hungary. The upper court of Budapest has overturned the conviction of Lóránt Hegedüs jun, because to demand the exclusion of Jews is not incitement. No Austrian clergyman would express such things, not because of law, but because the great majority of Christians would not accept it. Hungarian anti-Semitism has nothing to do with Rakosi, Bela Kun or with actual Jews. It is a problem of national identity as I have stated. So where is Hungary now with “free speech”? Gábor Vona can promise to close down a few tv stations, and that does not disturb “protectors of free speech” of Jobbik. I have published a long text on why I am for the Austrian laws forbidding National-Socialist activities. You can find it on http://www.engageonline.org.uk/journal/index.php?journal_id=10&article_id=40 As far as Hungary is concerned, we… Read more »
Thrasymachus
Guest

@Karl Pfeifer
“@Thrasymachus@ strange logic, to blame Rakosi for today’s rampant antisemitism, why don’t you go back to Bela Kun?”

Vándorló
Guest

@Thrasymachus: Lots of nonsense in your ramblings, so only going to pick on one specific fact since I’m short of time. The three water-cannon that were bought in April 2007 following the riots were Mercedes (who are owned by Daimler AG, a German company). As I commented elsewhere at the time: ‘They have just bought three new (Mercedes) water cannon that can deliver 1200 litres of water at 12 bar pressure per minute. All for the bargain price of 2.2 billion forints.’ It had nothing to do with Israeli money etc… http://www.hirtv.hu/belfold/?article_hid=147377

Thrasymachus
Guest

@Vándolró
“Lots of nonsense in your ramblings, so only going to pick on one specific fact since I’m short of time.”

Vándorló
Guest

@Thrasymachus: Apologies for the ‘hit and run’, but I do have a program to finish and this is just to keep my mind from going off the rails.
If it speeds up things, statements and quotes are all clearly reported. Their interpretation is another thing entirely. I don’t agree the Israeli spy planes was a scandal, more your standard Hungarian administrative botch job. I’d say if Turkey was happy to let them through their air space that says enough for me (given Turkey’s role in brokering with Syria etc…).
I don’t see how enactment of a law could possibly justify or explain direct physical violence. In normal democracies you take your anger out on the law makers by appropriate means and work to achieve a consensus. Either that or you put up with the “tyranny of the majority”. Bricks through windows of civilian houses can never be excused as you would like to.
Anyway, since we are talking provocative middle eastern connections, what do you make of the stories that keep surfacing about Vona, Eduardo Rózsa-Flores and al-Kaida? http://www.hetek.hu/fokusz/201004/terroristaszalak_a_magyar_belpolitikaban

Thrasymachus
Guest

@Vámdorló
“I don’t see how enactment of a law could possibly justify or explain direct physical violence… …Bricks through windows of civilian houses can never be excused as you would like to.”

OneTwoThree testing
Guest
You might have added Fidesz posters that are being defaced with “Likud” @ Trashman. All these things you list are incidents,half truths and untruths,which only to anti-Semites are evidence of some vast conspiracy. Jocular remarks made by Simon Peres are blown up by anti-Semites out of all proportion. Peres most likely didn’t consider public opinion effects of his remarks in Hungary, because he doesn’t CARE about Hungary.No-one in their right mind believes Israel has any significant interest over here at all. A valid opinion held by a private citizen (Wiesel) is witout a shred of evidence insinuated to be instrumental in Solyom’s change of heart. As if Wiesel put a gun to his head! The water cannon story you listed is an outright lie,as shwon above. Why Bajnai’s first visit was to Israel? The visit had probably been planned months, if not years ahead. It is simply the mechanics of government rolling on after a change of figureheads. Everyone who has followed the spy plane story know this kind of thing goes on all the time. It is only a scandal because it was an ISRAELI plane. To any sane person, all these incidents are just that – incidents. Only… Read more »
Thrasymachus
Guest

@OneTwoThree testing
“It is only a scandal because it was an ISRAELI plane.
To any sane person, all these incidents are just that – incidents. Only anti-Semities make them into something bigger than what they are.
These incidents don’t fuel anti-Semitism. Anti-Semitism blows up these incidents.”

Eva S. Balogh
Guest

OneTwoThree: “You might have added Fidesz posters that are being defaced with “Likud” @ Trashman.”
I was thinking of including one where someone made an Orthodox Jew out of Orbán. I saw a picture like that in Népszava.

Eva S. Balogh
Guest

Anti-semitism has a long history in Hungary but according to all polls the number of extremists, including anti-semites, doubled in the last few years. And that growth has a lot to do with Fidesz’s behavior since Orbán lost the elections in 2002. It is Fidesz that is most responsible for the appearance of Jobbik. Their behavior opened the gate to the flood of filth that is spreading in the country

Pete H.
Guest

@Thrasymachus,
Your concern regarding most of your points is a result of your viewing them through an antisemitic lens.
Israeli spy planes – not a spying mission, but rather a long-distance training mission by a country with a military cooperation agreement with NATO. Hungarian agencies have serious communication issues. That’s the only reason for concern.
Joke about Israel buying up real estate – does that fact that Israel investments in Hungary are minor compared to EU members states and even dwarfed by US investments matter to you? Most foreign investment in Hungarian real estate is by Austrians and Germans. Were are the anti-Germanic feelings about this?
If you can’t see how a party that resurrects the symbols of the Hungarian holocaust (Garda = Arrow Cross Squads) and calls for the rehabilitation of more of them (Gendarmes) does not further normalize antisemitism, than you are blind to the ugliness Jobbik has stoked in Hungary.

Thrasymachus
Guest

@Pete H.
“Your concern regarding most of your points is a result of your viewing them through an antisemitic lens…
…Most foreign investment in Hungarian real estate is by Austrians and Germans. Were are the anti-Germanic feelings about this?”

Eva S. Balogh
Guest

Thrasymachus: “By the way where are the Austrian military jets buzzing Ferihegy? ”
Daily all sorts of foreign planes fly over the country. NATO planes don’t even have to ask for permission. The Israeli pilots received permission to fly over Turkey, Bulgaria, Romania, and Hungary. Just as Hungarian planes are flying all over with either permission or by simply announcing their intentions.
It is not really worth talking to you because you don’t even know the facts or if you know them you manage to twist everything according to your peculiar views. I think we are all just wasting our time answering your letters.

Pete H.
Guest

@Thrasymachus
I think it may be you who lost an argument when you claim Israeli Jets were “buzzing” Ferihegy. When in reality they just performed a very orderly “touch and go” maneuver that was approved by NATO.
Answer your question? – the Israelis wouldn’t even wink. They have no reason to think Hungary is a threat and neither does Hungary have any sane reason to think Israel is a threat.
And I am only concerned about being taken seriously by people who make serious arguments in turn.

Thrasymachus
Guest

@Eva S. Balogh
“It is not really worth talking to you because you don’t even know the facts or if you know them you manage to twist everything according to your peculiar views. I think we are all just wasting our time answering your letters.”

Thrasymachus
Guest

@Pete H.
“…the Israelis wouldn’t even wink. They have no reason to think Hungary is a threat and neither does Hungary have any sane reason to think Israel is a threat.
And I am only concerned about being taken seriously by people who make serious arguments in turn.”

Pete H.
Guest

“And as for your contention that Hungary has no sane reason for thinking Israel a threat? Ask any Palestinian, and they will tell you unequivocally that, “Territorial expansion while assuring you they are doing nothing of the kind, is, err, precisely what the Israelis…
…ALWAYS DO!”
I’m not saying that I believe this. But I AM asking you to do is explain what you have to refute it; that isn’t, when it boils down to it, nothing more than just your own wishful thinking and conjecture?”
Funny, what I learned when studying rhetoric is that extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence. Not that they require extraordinary refutation. But, be my guest and continue to swim in your conspiratorial swamp.

Thrasymachus
Guest

@Pete H.
“Funny, what I learned when studying rhetoric is that extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence. Not that they require extraordinary refutation.”

Karl Pfeifer
Guest
@Thrasymachus@ has found the stone of wisdom: If there is Antisemitism in Hungary Jews are to blame for it. And in first line President Peres, who made a jocular remark, about Israeli real estate entrepreneurs who buy up Manhattan, Poland, Rumania and Hungary. Only in Hungary Antisemites were glad to have an excuse, nobody cared in the other countries mentioned by Peres. Heti Válasz has done some research and found out the Israelis are minor players on the Hungarian real estate market. But @Thrasymachus@ facts only disturb the antisemitic discourse and “logic”. So you’ll continue to accuse Peres, Israeli airplanes etc. Nobody can refute an antisemitic discourse, for the antisemite is sure, the Jews have given cause. This was also the argument of Zsolt Bayer, when he wrote his famous text about the Jewish journalists who justify antisemitism (I quote from memory). Of course one can’t compare 1:1 Austria with Hungary. And I agree the history was quite different after 1945. For now a lot of Hungarians try to forget, that they did arrange themselves with the Kádár-regime and hallucinate the Kádár-regime as a rule of Jews. I remember one MSZMP member who told a friend of mine from the… Read more »
Erik the Reader
Guest

I don’t think that anti-semitism has a higher percentage in Hungary then in Usa or other country. Unfortunately leftists use anti-semitism as a tool labeling anti-semites also those who are not, (e. g just because some happen not to agree with Israeli policy). There is even a joke in Hungary which sais “Anti-semites are not those who do not like Jews, but those who are not liked by Jews”.
Don’t take it as an insult.
Anti-semitism should have no place in Hungary or in any country. As Christians we should not forget that Jesus was Jewish.

Erik the Reader
Guest

What about the Israeli spy planes flying above Hungary? Should we close an eye on that? As I saw Eva did not touch this touchy subject. 😀
The fact that there are always anti-semites people doest not make a whole country anti-semite.

Vándorló
Guest

@Karl Pfeifer: Concerning stats on the sources of capital for real-estate investment in Hungary, is this the article you were referring to ‘Tévhitek a “New York-Tel-Aviv-tengely”? térfoglalásáról’ http://hetivalasz.hu/itthon/tevhitek-a-new-york-tel-aviv-tengely-terfoglalasarol-25468
If you have any other sources of data on this I’d be very grateful

Vándorló
Guest

@Karl Pfeifer: To sort of answer my own question/request, there are an interesting series of articles by Bódis András in HétiVálasz covering property, government contracts etc… One is available in English for those that don’t read Hungarian: http://hetivalasz.hu/english_business/asset-managers-25900/
I find the repeated habit of governments classifying public procurement and tender details secret for 10+ years to be a damning indictment in itself.
One only has to laugh at Bajnai’s recent proposal to put on the statute book a law that would make it obligatory to disclose the contract terms for all contract over 1 billion forints; with the intention to lower this to 200 million some years hence. The ‘freedom of information act’ already allows people the right to this information – though government does all it can to to adhere to its own laws, typically stringing people along for 3+ years after a request.
Perhaps this is little helping the cause of social unrest and fueling unnecessary suspicion.

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