Two scandalous events in the Hungarian Parliament

I will proceed chronologically. On April 2, immediately after Pál Schmitt had finished his resignation speech, László Kövér, the speaker of the house, sternly glanced toward his left and in his usual schoolmaster fashion told them that “the very fact that these ladies and gentlemen can sit in this parliament is undeserved [méltatlan].” The applause on the right was ear shattering; the Fidesz-KDNP members’ behavior resembled that of wild fans in a soccer stadium. What caused the outburst? There was some snickering during Schmitt’s speech which, given its content, wasn’t terribly surprising. After Kövér’s “reprimand” and the frenzied applause members of DK and some members of MSZP left the chamber in protest.

And this is the same man who according to reliable sources is Viktor Orbán’s favorite to replace Schmitt as president of Hungary. Unless someone can knock that idea out of Orbán’s head–and I truly hope it happens–this man will become the president whose person, according to the constitution, is the embodiment of national unity.

I assume that the large Fidesz and KDNP caucuses would be much happier if the opposition simply didn’t exist. These guys on the left are bothersome. Occasionally they make useless speeches no one is interested in, write proposals no one reads, and there are times when they snicker.

It seems that even Kövér realized he had gone too far, and a couple of hours later he apologized. Not directly, but through an intermediary. Better than nothing.

The second scandalous affair occurred today. A Jobbik MP, Zsolt Baráth, delivered a short speech entitled “The 130 years of Tiszaeszlár.” The Tiszaeszlár case of 1882-1883 was the last time in Europe that people were charged with ritual murder. I would heartily recommend that Viktor Orbán keep this in mind the next time he portrays Hungary as the forerunner of European civilization and democracy, a country whose lead all others will follow.

The story, very briefly, is that on April 1, shortly before Passover, a fourteen-year-old servant girl disappeared. Word in the village was that people had last seen the girl, Eszter Solymosi, near the synagogue. Eventually suspicion centered on the large Jewish community in Tiszaeszlár and the field was narrowed based on the testimony of one of the members of the Jewish community against his own father and others. Sometime in June they found the body of a young girl who may have been Eszter. The so-called witnesses were intimidated or even beaten to give testimony that was favorable to the prosecutors. Eventually charges were brought against fifteen people.

The defense of the fifteen people was taken up by Károly Eötvös, a member of parliament and a lawyer. After a grueling two-week trial the accused were acquitted. To anyone who knows even the slightest thing about observant Jewish life it should be crystal clear that kosher dietary rules strictly forbid eating anything tainted with blood.

 

The memorial of Károly Eötvös in Tiszafüred, erected by the Hungarian Jewish community 

To this day, however, Tiszaeszlár is a pilgrimage destination for the Hungarian anti-Semitic right. A Hungarian couple living abroad donated money to set up a memorial in honor of Eszter Solymosi which became a gathering place for MIÉP, Jobbik, the Hungarian Guard, and other far-right organizations.

Now comes a Jobbik MP, Zsolt Baráth, an elementary school teacher. According to his autobiography he studied, I assume as a hobby, “the theory of foreignness” (idegenelmélet). I’m not kidding. During the course of studying this mysterious theory it slowly dawned on him that “everything is connected to everything.” He came to realize that “certain forces intend a future for Hungary that [he] cannot accept.” Fairly clear, I think.

So, Zsolt Barát rose for a five-minute announcement after the scheduled agenda. He recalled that it was 130 years ago that Eszter Solymosi was murdered. He recalled the story of last seeing Eszter at the synagogue. He then quickly moved to the trial. Here he claimed that the judge knew that the Jews were guilty but “because of pressure upon him he had to acquit them.” Where did this pressure come from? From the international Jewish community. That’s why one cannot name the murderers of Eszter Solymosi to this day. After the speech there were a few people who applauded, presumably from the Jobbik caucus.

It seems that János Fónagy, undersecretary of the Ministry of National Development and a Jew, has the unpleasant task of answering these Jobbik anti-Semitic harangues in the Hungarian parliament. The last time he was called upon was when Előd Novák (Jobbik) during the discussion on the law on religions complained that too many Jewish religious groups were recognized by the state when their numbers don’t justify it. Fónagy on that occasion turned to Novák and said “I don’t know why you are so surprised that there are so few people who can be found in the largest synagogue of Europe when it was your spiritual kin who killed 600,000 of our compatriots.”

This time Fónagy didn’t manage to be so eloquent. Even his first sentence was somewhat ambiguous because he began by saying that he doesn’t know whether he should answer Baráth in the name of the government or in his own name. In any case, Fónagy stressed that Jobbik is an anti-semitic, neo-Nazi party. Therefore, Jobbik shouldn’t be surprised at its condemnation by the more sober segment of Hungarian society and the world.

Of course, the condemnation of the world is not directed against Jobbik alone. The fact that Jobbik got into the Hungarian parliament with 17% of the votes cast two years ago reflects badly on Hungary itself. And the world also seems to realize that one Jobbik demand after the other is being satisfied by the government party. Viktor Orbán badly wants to get the Jobbik votes, and to this end he is ready to make compromises with an outright Nazi party.

A dangerous game, that’s all I can say.

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Kingfisher
Guest

It would be truly extraordinary if Kövér to become president: he is the most divisive personality in Hungarian politics, and a wretchedly poor speaker. Interestingly his brother owes enormous amounts of money to the tax authorities although he seems to have done a runner and can’t be found. His wife (or ex-wife?) was also involved in much the same business and also sought after by APEH (as it was then called.) They couldn’t find her, even though she was Meggyes Tamás’s cabinet secretary in Esztergom!
Which tells you something about why Meggyes has been protected.
Kövér has generally managed to distance himself from his brother but if he was to become president, I think this will all be raked up again (president whose brother is on the run!) which makes me think he won’t stand.

Adam Auer
Guest

Hundreds of international media are reporting on the Kövér incident. I’m sure that Orban & Co are crying out loud: “Why are they always picking on Hungary?”.
The roots of anti-semitism and xenophobia in Hungary are deep indeed, and the Fidesz government has really done nothing to stop the pervasive negative image of Jews, Roma, foreigners at large; just the contrary.
Let’s not forget that it was Orban who started the Civic Circles. It was at a demonstration of the Civic Circles that participants burned an Israeli flag and boo’ed the Socialist government with “Down with this Jews’ government!” and “Buzz off to Israel” (January 2004). Several of Jobbik’s politicians began their careers in Orban’s Civic Circles. This is also the same bunch who founded the Hungarian Guard a few years later.
Orban didn’t plant the seeds of hate, but he cultivated them non-stop and very carefully.

Adam Auer
Guest

// Correction: should have been the Jobbik incident. (Although the Kövér incident gets a fair amount of international press as well).
Also interesting: the article about the resignation of Schmitt @ the Economist blog: http://www.economist.com/node/21552258
“Last week a public television channel broadcast a laughably sycophantic interview with Mr Schmitt.”
Laughable and Sycophancy are 2 words that describe the political situation in Hungary quite well. Sad but true.

Jano
Guest
“I assume that the large Fidesz and KDNP caucuses would be much happier if the opposition simply didn’t exist.” – Unfortunately this has been the case with every single government so far, that’s why our democracy has been so dysfunctional. The other side is always an enemy to be eradicated and demonized as much as possible. “Unless someone can knock that idea out of Orbán’s head–and I truly hope it happens” – I hope so too, I think if it has to be a Fidesz droid, Martonyi would look so much better from abroad. But even Kövér is better then Áder (with his well-known English proficiency).. “that Viktor Orbán keep this in mind the next time he portrays Hungary as the forerunner of European civilization” – Jobbik is not Hungary, just as Geert Wilders is not The Netherlands. This is a per se kuruc.info style generalizing sentence. “To anyone who knows even the slightest thing about observant Jewish life it should be crystal clear that kosher dietary rules strictly forbid eating anything tainted with blood.” – If you start arguing the innocence of the accused in a 130 year old crime, you legitimize Jobbik’s implied claim that it actually matters… Read more »
steve
Guest

Lots of Hungarians suffered injustice in the 1948-1955 and 1956-1962 period.
The witch hunt was terrible.
The prosecution of the war crimes was justified.
The Stalinist type purges were crimes against humanity.
The victims of the Rakosi and Kadar terror will be remembered by their children.
These people are the core of the FIDESZ supporters and revenge-seekers.
Totally misguided people. The Catholic Church is riding these waves. The victims and their sons should overcome their pain, and end their mission against the privileged class of the Kadar era.
Most of 2nd and 3rd generation Kadarites were just creative, ratyher decent people.
The peace could start now if the anticommunism ends.

Aurélie Martin
Guest

I am not sure what to think about this article:
“How the president blackmailed the prime minister”
http://www.hongarijevandaag.nl/portal2/politiek-mainmenu-32/3581-schmitt-treedt-af-maar-zette-orban-onder-druk-
Just when I thought this story couldn’t get any stranger…

Sandor
Guest

Jano: “We’ll never really know the truth, it might have very well happened that some of the local Jews had something to do with the poor girl’s disappearance, so what?”
Well, Jano, we do know exactly the truth, that is the facts of the case.
Karoly Eotvos, the lawyer, wrote a book about the case, nearly a thousand pages, in which he minutely accounts for every detail.
He also describes how at the end of the trial the minister of justice, and the prosecutor, both demanded acquittal.
The “magistrate,” Jozsef Bary, who investigated, and tortured the 14 year old son of the chief accused to get him to testify, also has written a book some 20 years later. This book didn’t find a publisher until 1933 and even then only because the rise of Hitler gave cachet to anti-Semitic literature by then. By this time Bary was a judge!
The fact is that the Jews had nothing to do with the girl’s death. Only a bloody fool and an ignoramus would write such idiocy. And the Jobbik is a collection of such fools and ignorami. So is the population that supports them.

Member

@Jano “Jobbik is not Hungary, just as Geert Wilders is not The Netherlands”
This party has now almost 30%. This is a factor when Orban is bragging about our greatness. We are not the “the forerunner of European civilization” so to speak. And these guys have a shot to win the elections in 2014. So this is a lot more serious matter and cannot be dismissed as “JOBBIK is not me”. It’s becoming us.
In the Tiszaeszlar affair the racially motivated charge is the most important. It’s a not a garden variety murder case with a Jewish suspect.
This MP would not survive in any countries “west of the Elbe” as they used to say it. Actually not even east of the Elbe – except us. This isn’t something we can be proud of.

Petofi
Guest

@Sandor …”…jobbik…so is the population that supports them..”
Problem is, that’s 17% of the voters. Worse still, in a recent poll, 33% of the young of voting age supported Jobbik. Frightening because that suggests a trend of growing support.
Now there is something seriously wrong with, a) Hungarian parenting; b) Hungarian schooling; c) Hungarian university education. Who in their right mind can support this party?…We ask from afar, but the fact is they’re becoming the party of choice if and when Fidesz fails.

Jano
Guest

“Well, Jano, we do know exactly the truth, that is the facts of the case.
Karoly Eotvos, the lawyer, wrote a book about the case, nearly a thousand pages, in which he minutely accounts for every detail.
He also describes how at the end of the trial the minister of justice, and the prosecutor, both demanded acquittal.”
All based on forced testimonies, allegations, etc. You can’t say anything for sure before the age of forensic science in a case as mysterious as this. You know exactly what happened, really? Then who did it? Why?
BUT! You missed my point (probably me not being clear). It doesn’t matter today what happened, not in the case present. The whole issue is just a cheap Jobbik red hering to bash the Jews. We can discuss the details out curiosity (I personally liked the NatGeo show when they used modern techniques to “solve” old, even ancient murder cases) but that’s not what Baráth’s speech was about.

Jano
Guest
“This MP would not survive in any countries “west of the Elbe” as they used to say it. Actually not even east of the Elbe – except us. This isn’t something we can be proud of.” And it’s not something I’m proud of either, what I’m saying is don’t project it to all the Hungarians for the same reason we in our right minds realize that just because the criminalization rate is very high amongst the gypsies, all of them shouldn’t be bashed for not working. Sandor: “Problem is, that’s 17% of the voters. Worse still, in a recent poll, 33% of the young of voting age supported Jobbik. Frightening because that suggests a trend of growing support.” I know, it’s super frightening. But what I think the left wing is in denial about is their responsibility in where the state of affairs has gotten. It’s so easy to put the blame on Fidesz obstruction for the “past eight years” and it definitely has a little truth to it, but most of the responsibility for the impotence, devastation and corruption that made OV’s political survival even possible in the first place not to mention the rise of the Jobbik lies… Read more »
An
Guest

@Jano: We have the most sinister government in Hungary possibly of all times, inflicting irreversible damage both politically and economically on the country… and all you still hang up about how this is all the previous social-liberal government’s fault??
I hope you are just as quick to see Fidesz’s responsibility in this story as well.

Kirsten
Guest

To Jano: what is an “outright Nazi demand”? Are we waiting for murder of people considered non-Hungarian to find that this is eventually “Nazi enough”? I think Eva compared in some post the action plan of Jobbik before the last elections with Fidesz policies after the elections. That gives a hint about the inclinations of Fidesz. OV should mobilise his media council to deal with Jobbik, for instance. He should offer policies that make people less “desperate” and not more desperate so that Jobbik appears the only “solution” to the misery to a growing number of people. To pave the way for the Nazis, for instance through deliberate toleration of many of their actions and allegations, intentional division of the society, and the very idea of a president who doubts that people with more liberal ideas than himself should sit in parliament (which means that he is not a democrat, Jobbik has already started to propagate the undesirability of democracy), cannot be counted as accidental.

Dubious
Guest

Kövér for President!!!
That moustache is an exemplar of Hungarikum and should definitely be on the world stage.
At last a leader we can be proud of. A true achievement.

The Hungarian Comedian
Guest
The Hungarian Comedian

@Dubious
If we are selecting the President according to moustache, I think we have our new President, right here:
http://tiny.cc/g199bw

Kingfisher
Guest

Although everyone is expecting Kövér to be nominated for the presidency, he is the one who is really runs Fidesz as a highly disciplined organisation. If there is a problem, Kövér goes and knocks heads together. So it is hard to see how they will risk dispensing with him.
My tip is that Orbán will go for someone like László Tőkes.

Member

@ Jano, It really shocks me that you think, and assume many Fidesz supporter thinks that just because Fidesz did not implement any of the policies Jobbik suggests and hints, that makes them all right. Are you for real? Allowing this to happen without any consequences is Ok with you. Fidesz and Jobbik is playing a “good cop, bad cop” games with Hungarians and wit the International community for long enough, and it is to bad that decent people do not see that, but coming here and saying that just because themselves do not wear Arrow Cross uniforms and a likes, and because themselves do not open up trials from hundred years ago they are all right is most questionable thing about the Hungarian frame of mine I read.
I do not want you for a moment to forget that Fidesz provides a breading ground and its silent approval for these kind of thinking but not stepping up to plate.

Johnny Boy
Guest

I don’t expect Kövér to be the president as he is a very divisive personality and Fidesz needs him for other tasks. What Kingfisher writes is true, Kövér is the mastermind behind Fidesz (and the expression is not at all an exaggeration), his influence is extremely strong. He is the organizer and ‘political scientist’ of the party – and a very good one.
I’d prefer someone coming from the academic circles to be president.

Member

@Jano “Left-wing journalists are using the same panels (excellent example is Eva’s last paragraph)”
Funny.
Speaking about cliches, the “not all Hungarians are bad” is one of them. Criticism equals smear campaign. Don’t dare to mention to the great patriots that one third of us would vote for a Nazi party. In exchange we won’t say that all Gipsies are criminals because the crime rate is high among them. Ooops. We just did.
The mother of all right wing cliche is of course don’t blame the FIDESZ for everything. If you do you hate or at least you are biased.

Jano
Guest
An: “I hope you are just as quick to see Fidesz’s responsibility in this story as well.” When did I give you the impression that I’m not? But in this story they are the wolf and the question is how the hell did a wolf get loose amongst a chicken and more importantly, how the hell are we going to get rid of it other then inviting the bear to chase it out. Well, whining about how bad the wolf is every day certainly won’t help much. Some1: “Jano, It really shocks me that you think, and assume many Fidesz supporter thinks that just because Fidesz did not implement any of the policies Jobbik suggests and hints, that makes them all right. Are you for real?” What????? Try reading again, sorry. Kirsten: “OV should mobilise his media council to deal with Jobbik, for instance.” If you realized the very foundations of Jobbik’s existence you’d know very well that it’d just make them stronger. Also you say that if Jobbik demanded pay raise for teachers e.g. that would make everyone raising the salary of teachers a “roadpaver” for the nazis? Mutt: Ok, you’re right, we’re all bad, you Eva, Me everyone.… Read more »
Member

@Jano
To An: “When did I give you the impression …”
To Kirsten: “If you realized the very foundations of Jobbik’s existence …”
To Some1: “What????? Try reading again, sorry …”
To Mutt: ” I won’t offend your intellect by explaining …”
To All: “don’t even try to understand the underlying reasons …”
All in one post.
On the other hand we learned a lot about, chickens, wolves, bears, lock picking on titanium doors and we realized that “criticism is criticism and smear campaign is smear campaign”.
Now let’s hear about the “underlying reason”. Is it 42?

Odin's Lost eye
Guest

The fact that it is reported that Mr László Kövér, the speaker of the house, sternly glanced toward his left and in his usual schoolmaster fashion told them that “the very fact that these ladies and gentlemen can sit in this parliament is undeserved [méltatlan]”.
He is the Speaker of The House and must have some input and ‘clout’ into the running of the House, and it surprises me that he has not ‘closed the seats occupied by the Opposition for ‘Special Maintenance’. The underlings who are dismantling the seats and shipping them out for inspection are told 10,000 different stories about the reason.
If the space were very limited (due to safety barriers etc) only a few opposition members could be present at any one time and they would have to stand.

Member

@ Jano, My post to you was in reference to your post where you said: “”that Viktor Orbán keep this in mind the next time he portrays Hungary as the forerunner of European civilization” – Jobbik is not Hungary, just as Geert Wilders is not The Netherlands. This is a per se kuruc.info style generalizing sentence.”
Jobbik is not Hungary, but Orban allows Jobbik to xist on a platform that is anti-semite, anti-moral and so forth. As I have mentioned Orban os playing a good cop, bad cop game, and that is what’s make him equal with Jobbik.

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Guest

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Jennifer
Guest

Everyone is forgetting that the real victim here is Eszter Solymosi, RIP.

Jano
Guest

Mutt: Always a pleasure to exchange ideas with you.
Some1: OV allows them to exist?? So you actually argue that the prime minister should be able to just erase a party from the map?

Member

Jano: ” OV allows them to exist?? So you actually argue that the prime minister should be able to just erase a party from the map?” No, no, no. Do not try to twist my words here. It works with most Hungarians but not with me. “What’s in a name? That which we call a rose. By any other name would smell as sweet.” (Romeo and Juliet)
I could care less, if it s called the Frog Party Party for Misinformation or whatever, the problem is not wit the name, whet should be erased is the mentality. What should not be allowed is people marching into the parliament in Nazi uniforms, to make hate speeches, to provide lies to Hungarians in order to entice hatred. YES, he should erase that. If the party has any other agendas then they should be able to work wit that, but not wit the hate stuff. It works like this in many developed countries. Is this new to you?

Member

Jennifer: “Everyone is forgetting that the real victim here is Eszter Solymosi, RIP.” ARe you for real? Are you posting about every single girl that have been the last 130 years in Hungary? No we cannot forget them, but I hope you will not write down all the innocent Jewish girls’ names with RIP who have been killed by Hungarians for one reason.. they were Jewish. Can you write down “Let’s not forget about the real victims of hate in Hungary, the innocent Jewish girls killed by their fellow Hungarians. All RIP.” Can you do that Jennifer?

Jennifer
Guest

Hi there,
I am not referring to anyone else but the girl. Everyone is so caught up in the political controversy that this has created and they forget about the poor girl who was killed in the meantime. Yes, we mustn’t forget the victims of totalitarian regimes, this includes communists who killed Hungarians as well.

enuff
Guest

oh boy, this country sure has a lot of wounds to heal…
My Hungarian husband wasn’t aware of this case until I asked him about it. When I mentioned that it is 130 year-old case, his response was “what 130 years ago? who cares!” While I read the case on wiki, he has no interest at all in learning the details.
In saying that, I know we have to learn from our mistakes, but bringing this up now has no purpose except to incite hate towards another race. I wish the Hungarian politicians would stop playing the victim card just to further their cause.

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