Jobbik’s foreign relations expert: Márton Gyöngyösi

We have suspected for a long time that Jobbik, the Hungarian neo-Nazi party with parliamentary representation, has developed fairly strong ties with certain Islamic countries. For example, we knew that Gábor Vona, the party chairman, visited Yemen as early as 2003. It was also rumored that Jobbik was getting financial assistance from Iran. In any case, Jobbik’s relations with Tehran were so close by 2009 that Vona demanded that Iranian observers be present at the 2010 elections.

At that time we knew relatively little about possible connections between Iran and Jobbik, but lately more attention has been paid to this extremist party’s relations with the anti-Israeli Islamic world in general. Márton Gyöngyösi, Jobbik’s foreign relations expert and deputy chairman of the parliamentary committee on foreign relations, shed some light on this matter in an interview he gave to the British weekly, Jewish Chronicle. Among other things he claimed that “Jews were colonizing Hungary and that Israeli treatment of Palestinians amounted to a Nazi system. Apparently, he also questioned whether Jews “have the right to talk about what happened during the Second World War.” He questioned whether 400,000 Hungarian Jews were really killed or deported from Hungary to Nazi death camps during World War II. “It has become a fantastic business to jiggle around the numbers,” he told the newspaper.

During the interview the question of Iran came up. The paper mentioned that a year ago, in January, Gábor Vona took the Iranian ambassador to Hungary to the small Jobbik-led town Tiszavasvár which he called “the capital of our movement.” In October Jobbik hosted a large Iranian delegation to Hungary. At this gathering Vona declared: “For Iran, Hungary is the gate to the West.” Gyöngyösi told the Jewish Chronicle that “Iran is in the center of a Middle East axis that Israel and the US want to subjugate and keep under their control. Iran is an extremely peaceful country and never started a war, unlike Israel which has declared wars on anything and everybody around it.”

It didn’t take more than two days for the Gyöngyösi interview to be picked up by the Jerusalem Post. The editors of the Post asked a leading expert on Eastern European and Baltic-based anti-Semitism, Professor Dovid Katz, about his assessment of the situation in Hungary. Katz claimed that “the situation in Hungary is much more volatile than it looks. Much of what Jobbik is saying is embraced by Fidesz. A certain type of anti-Semitism is camouflaged as center-right.” Katz elaborated: “Jobbik, by carrying out the work of the ‘Nasty Far Right’ is in effect enabling the ‘Camouflaged Far Right’–the Fidesz government itself, presenting itself as center-right to the naives of Western Europe–to pursue deeply anti-democratic, anti-Semitic and fascist-glorifying policies.” Indeed, we know that the Hungarian government is using fear of the extreme right to shield the Orbán government from the onslaught of criticism coming from the European Union and the United States. Let me quote from the Jewish Chronicle: “An official in the Hungarian Foreign Ministry told  … ‘We are very, very worried. The prime minister [Viktor Orban] could easily fall in the coming months, taking the ruling party down with him, and Jobbik is well-placed to become the largest party in Parliament in an election.'” So, hands off, West!

Who is this Márton Gyöngyösi? A very odd addition to Jobbik for sure. He was born in 1977 and he spent the bulk of childhood in Egypt, Iraq, Afghanistan, and India because his father worked as a foreign trade expert during the Kádár regime. He finished high school in Hungary, but he moved on to Ireland where he received his B.A. in economics and political science at Trinity College. While an undergraduate he spent a year at the Friedrich Alexander Unversität in Nuremberg. He speaks excellent English and German.

 

The sign says “Tom Lantos will never be an ideal for Hungarians”

After graduation he spent four more years in Dublin working for the KPMG group. It was only at the end of 2004 that he returned to Hungary. He continued to work for KPMG for a while but later moved on to Ernst & Young. He showed up in Jobbik circles only in 2006 and soon enough was part of Gábor Vona’s inner circle.

Within Jobbik all sorts of stories circulate about him. According to one source, some in the party suspected him of being an informer for the Hungarian secret police. According to another former leading light of Jobbik, it was Gyöngyösi who suggested the “Arab orientation” to the party leadership. The pro-Russian stance was already fairly strong when Gyöngyösi showed up and he embraced it as well. By 2010 Jobbik seemed to follow an anti-euroatlantic foreign policy. One ought to look east. After all, China and Russia are bigger than the United States and Europe. Moreover, Hungarians’ roots are in the East, so went the argument.

For Gyöngyösi Russia was the first victim of bolshevism, and if Vladimir Putin was acceptable to Aleksandr Solzhenytsin then he should be okay for the Hungarians as well. Gyöngyösi admires China because “the Chinese government in record time brought prosperity to its people.” It seems to me that it is not only Gábor Vona who shares Gyóngyösi’s interest in the East but the Hungarian prime minister as well. Orbán uses very similar language when talking about China, Russia, or the Middle East.

Gyöngyösi asked a reporter of Barikád, the official newspaper of Jobbik: “You think that any sane Chinese cares that he lives in a country that is communist in name?” Some fiercely anti-communist far-right Jobbik members were taken aback: “As if we had flown back in time to the age of the socialist brotherhood,” they said.

Jobbik’s Iranian connection is becoming more and more visible by the day. On December 2, 2011, Jobbik organized a demonstration in front of the U.S. Embassy protesting U.S. policy toward Iran. Gyöngyösi was one of the speakers in his capacity as chairman of the Hungarian parliament’s Iranian-Hungarian friendship group. He was also the one who organized the Iranian ambassador’s visit to Tiszavasvár. On January 8, Gyöngyösi participated in a program disseminating information about the Koran. Joining Gyöngyösi were the ambassadors of Iraq, Qatar, Morocco, Palestine, and Malaysia.

As for Gyöngyösi’s interview with the Jewish Chronicle, the Hungarian foreign ministry published a strongly worded condemnation of Gyöngyösi’s opinions about Israel and the Holocaust. So did the Christian Democratic People Party (KDNP). MSZP decided to go the police and demand an investigation of Gyöngyösi’s denial of the Holocaust, which is a crime in Hungary.

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riviera1
Guest

I remember how shocked I was back a few years ago when an aged Solzhenitsyn was shown back in Russia kowtowing
to Putin in Red Square. Who would’ve thought that that
gruesome scene would serve as an example to the likes
of Gyongyosi?

Törpefejű
Guest

A good report, but I’m not sure how unusual this Gyongyosi character is for the Jobbik milieu – young, educated, experienced with the West, and able to spin forth a seamless blend of atavistic Jew-hatred and sophisticated quasi-leftist “anti-imperialist/anti-neocon” rhetoric. My real fear is that at some point this sort of figure will become the mainstream “opposition” to Orban, maneuvring out first the old anti-Communists, then the Hunnic-Turkic nationalists (after all, Russia and China hardly treat the Central Asian nations well), and making arguments that will fall on receptive ears even in the West.

pusztaranger
Guest

Jobbik is more vocal about its cooperation with Iran, but the government is also busy establishing business ties. The Iranian embassador was touring the country in 2010/2011, having business meetings with the Fidesz-administration on ministerial, comitate and local level, also with university deans and leading chamber of commerce members, only it didn’t make national news. Details here (in German):
http://pusztaranger.wordpress.com/2011/11/04/ungarns-%E2%80%9Coffnung-nach-osten%E2%80%9D-irans-neues-tor-zur-eu/
http://pusztaranger.wordpress.com/2011/12/05/2691/
Looks like Jobbik is supposed to keep the media busy so the government can do its negotiations in the background.
Here is Budapest mayor Tarlós with the Iranian delegation last fall:
comment image?w=497&h=330

Leo
Guest

… he claimed that “Jews were colonizing Hungary and that Israeli treatment of Palestinians amounted to a Nazi system…”
Traditional anti-Jewish ravings, how boring! Meanwhile, indigenous West European extremism has moved on. Here the fear of Islam is so strong that representatives of the extreme right may now be definitely pro-Jewish. That at least is true for our Dutch populist Geert Wilders (whose program has otherwise many similarities to that of Fidesz – though the Hungarians apparent Christianity is lacking).
Does this represent a break between West and East/Central European right-wing populism? Out of curiosity I checked the website of our tiny NVU (the local Jobbik). But they apparently fear and despise all foreigners (including Americans) without distinction. Still it may be telling that they claim to fight for the preservation of a “Germanic-Christian” culture (and not the usual Jewish-Christian tradition).

Member
I think we have to separate things here. Having business relations or trying to build business relations with a country is not a sin. The problem with the cosy relationship Hungarian dignitaries try to build is in the context. It is not a business relationship, it is sucking up to certain countries by throwing morals and values under the train. I totally can see how Orban uses the Jobbik as a royal flash. While Orban telling the EU in Brussels how much Fidesz has done for minority rights. The truth is that they let the extreme-right to flourish, in order to make them look like the only popular alternative party. Orban said in his speech at the plenary session of the European Parliament on 18 January 2012 that “we have outlawed and disbanded paramilitary organizations, therefore every minority in Hungary is protected, including the national minorities, but also the Roma and the Jewish minorities”. Yes, on paper it looks good (and I am sure Morvai can salivate on this), but they let Vona (Jobbik) march into the parliament in his uniform with no consequence, they let paramilitary organizations threaten Gyongyospata, they allow far-right elements to continually publish hate propganda, they… Read more »
Joseph Simon
Guest
Some1. I HOPE YOU WILL READ THIS ‘ECHT’ LETTER. Hankiss Ágnes Európai parlamenti képviselő Tisztelt Képviselőtársaim! Budapest, 2012-02-08 A minap otthon, Budapesten láttam egy televíziós riportot, amely az Európai Parlament egyik szocialista képviselőjével készült. Képviselőtársunk az úgymond Magyarországon dühöngő antiszemitizmusról beszélt. A magyar zsidóság sorsa felett aggódva, lényegét tekintve ugyanazt mondta, amit az elmúlt hónapokban már mások is, a politikai baloldalon, és a hozzájuk közelálló sajtóban. Nem azért rendített meg, amit hallottam, mert ne találkoztam volna már korábban is a Magyarország kormányát befeketítő rágalom-hadjárattal. Hanem azért, mert képviselőtársunkat értelmes, józan és nyitott embernek ismertem meg, akivel közös bizottságban és közös témákban dolgozva, nem volt nehéz kompromisszumot találni. Ezért ütött szíven, hogy mély átéléssel mondja a valótlant, hiszi amit mond, mert nyilván olyanoktól hallotta, akiknek fenntartás és ellenőrzés nélkül hitelt adott. Tiszteletreméltó képviselőtársamat tehát csúnyán becsapták. Minden bizonnyal olyanok, akiknek a politikai hatalom visszaszerzéséért folytatott háborújába az is belefér, hogy akár saját frakciótársaikat is félrevezessék. A lopakodó vádaskodás piszkos eszköz. Lopakodó, mivel nem bírja el a bizonyítást és a szembesítést. Szembesítés esetén ugyanis a vádaskodó visszavonul – de csak azért, hogy azután, mintha mi sem történt volna, elkezdje elölről. A megtámadott pedig nem mer védekezni, mert fél, hogy a védekezés is… Read more »
Eva S. Balogh
Guest

Pusztaranger: “Jobbik is more vocal about its cooperation with Iran, but the government is also busy establishing business ties.”
The Iranian and the Hungarian post offices jointly published stamps depicting Persian and Hungarian (Jász) motives in November 2010. I wrote about it here:
http://esbalogh.typepad.com/hungarianspectrum/2010/11/a-footnote-to-hungarian-iranian-friendship.html
That is definitely more than just simple business dealing.

Ron
Guest

Joseph Simon: Your point is?
Btw here is the English translation of Agnes Hankiss from her website:
http://hankiss.fidesz-eu.hu/news_display/stealthy_accusations_are_nasty_tools_mep_hankiss_letter_to_members_of_the_libe_committee/

Member
Jospeh Simon; 1.This is an English blog!!! It is for English speaking people, and as such you should exercise some courtesy. 2. If you copy and paste, please provide the link or the resource to the document. Although it seems to worked for Hungary’s President, Pal Schmitt, Hungarian Spectrum would like to held higher standards. Can you do that? 3. Hankiss is one of the beneficiaries of Fidesz. She has been “paid off” and her “eyes are covered”. She published her piece in Magyar HIrlap, and that says enough. If Fidesz would be out, Hankiss would be out of her job. Hankiss is not any different then Deutsch. THere were many Jews under WWI too who sucked up to all, in order to save their skin. Hankiss is ucking up and disregards the facts. Joseph, Can you tell me where did I make a mistake in my post? Did Vona marched in to the parliament in outlawed paramilitary uniform ? Were there any consequences of Vona using paramilitary uniform? DId paramilitary groups are regularly marched and threathened, intimidated the minorities there? Does DId Orban gave a national prizes to known anti-semites in the last year also? Does nazi celebrations can… Read more »
Member

@Jospeh: The Jobbik itself is a clear proof of the growing anti-Semitism in Hungary. Do you think that twenty something percent of the Hungarian voters agree with everything but the racism? Nowhere in Europe has an openly anti-Semitic party such a high supporting base.
PS: We explained a hundred times: copy the **link** and not the whole text. Especially if it is in Hungarian. Verstand?

Tyrker
Guest
“Jobbik itself is clear proof of growing anti-Semitism in Hungary” Rubbish. The key to Jobbik’s success is that they have been able to pinpoint a number of issues thitherto neglected by the far right (deteriorating crime rates in the countryside, the problems of Hungaro-Gypsy co-existence, the corruption and incompetence of mainstream politicians, privatisation panamas, other parties’ indifference to local issues etc.) that allowed them to garner support from far more people than the “5% idiots” who could be mobilised using anti-Semitic rhetoric alone. It’s a big concern that Jobbik’s voter base is expanding as rapidly as it does – but it’s utterly wrong to suppose this is because of growing anti-Semitism. Currently, Jobbik is the only party in Hungary that takes the task of building itself up from scratch seriously – and this attitude is paying off. The majority of their supporters – not the hardcore troublemakers and thugs you can sometimes see at their demonstrations, but the students and salt-of-the-earth people who make up the bulk of their voter base – are not anti-Semitic; in fact they couldn’t care less about Jews. They have their own set of problems and feel Jobbik is the only party that cares about… Read more »
Mutt Damon
Guest

@Tyrker Don’t call my opinion rubbish! That’s pretty dumb.
Anti-Semitism is part of the package. Would you vote for a party that says the Jews are colonizing Hungary? I have to assume that their voters have no problem with it. Perhaps many of them actually became anti-Semitic after turning to the Jobbik. Also, if they disagree with it, they should voice that disagreement somehow. Sorry, I don’t buy it – but I wish that you are right.
On the other hand you are absolutely right in saying that the radicalism is most attractive in their rhetoric. I know from my family that relatively young people in their 30s are drawn to simple solutions of the Jobbik.
Passivity is a growing sign of anti-Semitism. There’s no such thing as joining an anti-Semitic party because we don’t care.

Kirsten
Guest
Tyrker, even if I am willing to believe that some people who support Jobbik have turned to that party because of their many problems that you named, it is difficult to overlook that anti-semitism is part of Jobbik’s answers to these problems. It is easy to believe that the main problems of Hungary currently are quite unrelated to the Jewish community (except perhaps for the problem that some Hungarians find it difficult to face their collective past, communist, other authoritarian, collaboration with the Nazis). But this missing current “Jewish problem” does not change much that anti-semitic rhetoric is part of Jobbik’s attitudes and approaches (they do see a “Jewish problem”). At some moment it is difficult to separate who is actually an anti-Semite and who simply does not care because he is so sure that the main problems are corruption and incompetence and who (with the help of whatever narcotics) believes that Jobbik will be competent and clean – given their most probably excellent programme of which as you say many people are just ignorant. Reading that “One ought to look east. After all, China and Russia are bigger than the United States and Europe. Moreover, Hungarians’ roots are in… Read more »
I love Hungary
Guest
JOBBIK is a truly THE “traditional” Hungarian Party. They support a strategy of choosing alliances with the people/ nations who will partner with them in their quest to safegaurd future Hungarian generations’ opportunities to cry, “the world just doen’t understand our pain”- while blaming “external events and powers” in their “past” for their country’s small size, even smaller reputation amd even smaller economy. I thank Joseph Simon and JOBBIK, for assuaging the World’s collective guilt. JOBBIK and about half of FIDESZ are clear cut demonstartions of why, historically, the world has been a bit “gun shy” of a powerful Hungary. While I still find the principles of Triannon abhorrent, I can really visualise a strong example of history repeating itself, when I see the EU attempting to deal with FIDESZ today- and can empathise with the powers of the WW I era who sought to neutralise Hungary’s capabilities to cause damage. The “history repeating itself” comparison with regards to the Crossed Arrows and JOBBIK is too obvious to mention without insulting a reader’s intelligence. Thanks, Joseph Simon. Maybe you and yours have actually gotten off quite easy with regards to your “sorrowful history”- that thought sort of makes it possible… Read more »
Kirsten
Guest
I love Hungary: “and can empathise with the powers of the WW I era who sought to neutralise Hungary’s capabilities to cause damage.” Or also just not getting the point, answering “we are a great nation” when others ask about the actual implementation of the principles written in the constitution or in other laws. I was already starting to contemplate whether the past 1100 years were spent worrying that the other Europeans might find out they are not “Europeans”, and therefore the significance of Hungary has to be repeated without turning to the substance of “belonging to Europe”. These are the more mysterious thoughts why the substance of the criticism fails to be heard by a part of Hungarians. Actually I believe (I wrote that a number of times, so pardon me) that the image of the own nation has not yet been adapted to the 21th century. That may be particularly difficult with strong believes in the dark outside forces operating in Hungary, but in its essence the task is not different from that faced by other countries in the region or with extensive autocratic experience in other parts of Europe. Of course it needs to accept that even… Read more »
Paul
Guest

Tyrker is quite right, there isn’t growing anti-Semitism in Hungary. There is simply growing ‘honesty’ – the anti-Semitism has always been there.
All that’s changed is that OV has made it OK to talk about it and admit it.
Orbán opened the Pandora’s Box out of which Jobbik flew.

An
Guest

@”there isn’t growing anti-Semitism in Hungary. There is simply growing ‘honesty’ – the anti-Semitism has always been there.”
Not true. For example, my brother did not have any antisemitic views ten-fifteen years ago… not that their were latent, he did not have any. I know, I know my brother. A couple of years ago he started to hang out with some right wing crowd and tried to send me all kinds of cr*p from extreme right wing papers, trying to convince me of a huge Jewish conspiracy. He totally bought into this,and I repeat, I know my brother, he had no antisemitic views before.
As I could not convince him using any reason of the errors of his thinking, I ended up telling him that if he ever sends me stuff like that again I won’t be talking to him. So right now we won’t even start talking about anything that is related to politics.

I love Hungary
Guest

Kirsten, thanks for that. But I think what you may be saying is that the image of the “own nation” hasn’t yet been adapted to the 19th Century- nevermind the 21st.
I guess I can finally buy that argument, after spending 15 years refusing to accept it.
Sort of makes a guy feel like listening to depressing music and jumping off Margit Hid. Maybe I am finally becoming “naturalised”.

I love Hungary
Guest

An, anti-semitism in Hungary is at least as old as the Crossed Arrows- who, by the way, were quite a popular boy band in their day.
Those guys, I am sure, are a bit older than your brother.

An
Guest

@I love Hungary: I am not saying that there was no antisemitism in Hungary until recently. I was arguing that it did increase.

peter litvanyi
Guest
Not this effing /excuse me the f word/ bullshit again! Against against who….? -The “Jews” in general /whatever that means???/ Racial/ religion based discrimination is strictly illegal in most UN countries. Especially in North America, Europe and Southern America. Correct me if I am wrong. For good reason. -“Zionism” is a well defined political movement. Unfortunately /just like the “Third Way” Eva despises so much/ it was crushed from both sides by the forces of international imperialism and arab nationalism. Perhaps the last remnant was the mercurial Ariel Sharon. He is long dead, right? Now I proudly consider myself a new zionist. It takes a while to come back to life after all the forces of this planet hit you on the head. Read the original writings as well as a reputable textbook on the history of Israel if interested. Zionism and the State of Israel cannot be on a more divergent course as they are now. -Now you may not like the State of Israel’s politics. In that case you are free to protest against those actions as made specific. All in all I find it very strange that Hungarians would place such a high priority on Israel’s actions… Read more »
Odin's Lost Eye
Guest

This is a test posting to see if it will be recorded

Leo
Guest
“Jobbik itself is clear proof of growing anti-Semitism in Hungary” I think Tyrker made a point that merits more attention. Maybe we can invert the statement: “anti-Semitism is clear proof of the growth of Jobbik” – meaning that, ugly as it is, anti-Semitism is not the essential ingredient in this brew. In a way my earlier comment had the same drift: right-wing populism (or worse) is perfectly possible with an anti-Islam (and pro-Jewish or pro-Israel) slant. It will indeed be difficult to understand Jobbik if we fail to see that. For a more or less rational being this task is difficult enough anyway. It seems that at some point people are stressed to a degree that they ‘decide’ that they won’t be limited anymore by rationality. Or by common decency. From there on anything goes, all inhibitions fall away. People will show their inner self “in the nude”. But, like Ann’s brother, they also start to cultivate traditions that seemed almost forgotten. This is a thing for Dr. Phil really. Maybe Joe could help us to understand the process, as he must have gone through it. When did you first start to rediscover yourself? When came the moment you realised… Read more »
Member

Tryker:”Jobbik’s voter base is expanding as rapidly as it does – but it’s utterly wrong to suppose this is because of growing anti-Semitism”
Wrong. I wanted to post for a long time that although anti-semitism is what gets a lot of attention, but it is more xenophobia what is happening here, and not strict ant-semitism. Please, do not forget about Gyongyospata. Also when we are talking about the holocaust there were thousands of homosexuals (communists and gypsies) too were terminated. These are all those groups that are target of Jobbik, so let’s not make the mistake by saying that there is only the Jews that Jobbik has a problem with. Yes, the above article was about anti-semitic views, as back in June it was the homosexuals, and in March it was the gypsies (were harassed in paramilitary uniform).

Kirsten
Guest
I doubt that it is very relevant whether people who now turn to Jobbik (perhaps out of ‘desperation’) have been anti-Semitic or anti-Roma from the start. Perhaps not. But as I wrote in my earlier post, it is the ANSWERS that Jobbik offers that count for me. Not all voters of Jobbik would be in decisive positions should Jobbik take office. So the point for me is: what do they hope Jobbik can accomplish? I do not know the programme except what they think about external relations and that they are not sure whether to count China as communist or mainly ‘efficient’ (most probably not as offering ‘decent life to anybody’). The solutions to Hungary’s external relations problems are apparently an orientation to the East. The solutions to the unemployment problem is most probably forced labour at minimum wage levels. Etc. So what is so attractive in the programme of Jobbik? I will accept for a moment that it is not anti-Semitism or even anti-Roma sentiment but then I would like to learn what else makes them such a trustworthy society when it comes to an improvement of average lives. I suspect it is simple answers. And these typically include… Read more »
I love Hungary
Guest

Historically, many “neutral” people often become xenophobic as a knee-jerk response to leftish corruption and/or economic hard times.

Nehallgass.com
Guest

We are (Hungarian people) very sorry for what Jobbik is doing. Few hundreds of them are very active on internet and they are spreding the anti-semitic and fascist ideology influence the others who are passive but normal people. They have a very close realtionship with Iran, Jobbik is financed by Iran. Their leader thinks Islam is the light. Other facts: nehallgass.com (hungarian websites)

Paul
Guest

An – my apologies if my post seemed unfair. I share your feelings and upset over this (as you will know from my posts about my Hungarian family, and especially my wife). But your brother is still just one person – and perhaps not typical.
In the 10+ years I have been in Hungary, I have clearly seen closet ant-Semitism become openly expressed – first whispered a little louder, and perhaps outside the family, then talked about quite openly, and finally expressed loudly and proudly.
No doubt some have been ‘persuaded’ like your brother, but my experience is that in most cases the prejudice was already there. Orbán has just made it OK to be open about it.
If you don’t accept this, perhaps another angle would be to ask what was already in your brother (i.e. in the Hungarian culture/history/psychology) that made anti-Semitism so easily attractive?

Member

I suppose it’s only a matter of time before the Hungarian far right get arms from Iran to attack Israeli/Jewish targets.

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[…] in Dublin. He also spent a year at the Friedrich Alexander Universität in Nuremberg. One can read more about Gyöngyösi in my post “Jobbik’s foreign policy expert: Márton […]

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