Anti-Semitism in Hungary and hopeful signs to combat it

On March 21 the Hungarian media reported widely on the results of an international survey on anti-Semitism. The study was conducted in ten European countries by the Anti-Defamation League, an American Jewish organization. The general conclusion is that anti-Semitism is more prevalent in Europe than in the United States and, as MTI reported, it is “alarmingly high” in Hungary, Spain, and Poland.

The degree of anti-Semitism in Hungary, Spain, and Poland is high enough to demand “serious answers from the political, civic, and religious leaders” of these countries. Hungary has the dubious distinction of having the highest degree of antisemitism at 63%, while in 2009 the same organization reported only 47%.  In Spain the result was 53% and in Poland 48%. More details can be found at ADL’s website and in NépszabadságIn the last three years the growth of anti-Semitism has been enormous.

The spread of anti-Semitism in Hungary cannot be separated from the existence of an openly anti-Semitic party in the Hungarian parliament. Moreover, Hungarians who are inclined toward an anti-Semitic bias see that Fidesz-KDNP–the government parties–openly cooperate with Jobbik. This Hungarian neo-Nazi party’s MPs deliver speeches in the Hungarian parliament with anti-Semitic overtones. The first one by Tamás Gaudy-Nagy was veiled, but since then there have been several more open outbursts by other Jobbik MPs.

I wrote about the the case of the theater in Eger where a certain actor was banned because the local Fidesz leaders didn’t like his politics and because he was “a filthy Jew.” Mazsihiz, the Hungarian Jewish umbrella organization, not only protested but also went to the police to initiate proceedings against the town of Eger.

A few days later, as “payback” for Péter Dániel’s action against a newly erected Miklós Horthy statue, far-right sympathizers hung pigs’ feet on Raoul Wallenberg’s statue in Budapest. The police found the culprits within a few hours. Three days later, on May 25, anti-Semitic slogans were painted on the Holocaust Memorial: “This is not your country, filthy Jews!” and there were others promising execution and the drowning of Jewish Hungarians in the Danube just as in late 1944 under Ferenc Szálasi’s rule.

At this point Fidesz released a communiqué in which the party’s spokesman said that Fidesz “condemns all extremism … and political provocations because it is obvious that extremists only reinforce each other.” This message was anything but forceful.

Only about two weeks after this incident Rabbi József Schweitzer encountered a man who verbally assaulted him. At this point the government “expressly condemned the incident.” In the statement the government repeated its earlier condemnation of all “extreme acts” and promised “to defend all citizens from such attacks.” Religious leaders also expressed their concern. The new president, János Áder, went so far as to pay a private visit to the Schweitzers.

Jobbik naturally didn’t condemn any of the anti-Semitic incidents. On the contrary, on June 6 Ádám Mirkóczki, a Jobbik member of parliament, found it “horrifying that just because allegedly a stranger insulted Schweitzer within a few minutes the leaders of the historic churches issue a joint declaration and the government publishes a communiqué against a phantom.” According to Mirkóczki, the Hungarian government instead should pay more attention to the grievances of Hungarian minorities in the neighboring countries.

Two days ago there was another anti-Semitic incident in Nagykanizsa. This time a memorial depicting a Menora was damaged. All seven candles were broken off. The police are investigating.

But there is a good piece of news. Today a young man received an 18-month suspended sentence because of Holocaust denial. This is a first in Hungary.

I think it is worth mentioning that until now the Hungarian public was blissfully ignorant of the whole case. Or at least I found no sign of it in either the Hungarian media or the archives of MTI. But, as we found out today, György N. on October 23, 2011, at an anti-government demonstration held up a Hebrew-language sign claiming that the “Holocaust didn’t happen.” It seems that György N. is a busy fellow who by now is quite well known to the police. Only two days ago in another case he and an accomplice of his were sentenced to community service for throwing eggs at Gábor Demszky, mayor of Budapest between 1990 and 2010, while he was delivering his customary speech in front of the statue of Sándor Petőfi on March 15, 2010.

What I especially appreciated in the judgment of the court in the Holocaust denial case was that the culprit not only received a suspended sentence but he is also required to visit the Holocaust Memorial Center in Budapest at least three times and summarize his reactions in an essay. Alternatively, he can make a pilgrimage to Auschwitz or go to Jerusalem and visit the Yad Vashem Museum. In addition, he is forbidden to join political meetings and demonstrations.

The Holocaust Memorial Center that György N. is supposed to visit three times

János Ádler after the Schweitzer incident noted that ” it is not enough to cry out against” such incidents. The courts must act as this wise judge did in the case of György N. Moreover, the schools have to do more than stage Holocaust days full of pro forma speeches. Just as history teachers should set students straight on Trianon. Today’s youngsters who are drawn to the ideas of the extreme right lack the most basic knowledge of the recent past. And without it, it is easy to get lost and end up in the gutters of political thought.

88 comments

  1. London Calling!

    The overt anti-Semitism in Hungarian society is shocking, truly shocking.

    What is more insidious is the covert and anti-Semitism where it abounds.

    For example – the rehabilitation of Horthy. By eulogising Horthy (when many Hungarians must know of his enactment of the anti-semitic laws – of his own volition) there is an almost official sanction for anti-semitism.

    Ditto the anti-Semite-theatre director.

    Ditto an alleged genetic-diagnostic company being asked to certify that a member of parliament did not have Roma or Jewish heritage.

    Ditto the problems the Jewish organisations have had registering as religious organisations.

    And of course the many unreported incidents against the Jews in Hungary.

    (I’m sure many readers here will have even more indicative examples.)

    These hidden and not so hidden examples indicate a disturbing depth of the problem.

    Insidious, truly insidious – in the true sense of the word.

    Regards

    Charlie

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  2. I recommend to watch at ATV egyenes beszéd of yesterday to watch the resigning state secretary Géza Szöcs praising the former catholic priest József Nyirö, a writer and a politician of the anti-Semitic Erdélypárt, an admirer of Goebbels and a member of Szálasi’s Rump Parliament, who even in 1945 made propaganda to continue the war, who became after 1945 one of the leaders of the arrow cross emigration.
    You can read more about Nyirö and his cult propagated by László Kövér and Géza Szöcs on
    http://esbalogh.typepad.com/hungarianspectrum/2012/05/the-third-conservative-writer-in-the-new-hungarian-curriculum-j%C3%B3zsef-nyir%C5%91.html

    and
    http://forward.com/articles/157433/transylvanian-drama-over-fascists-ashes/

    Of course Fidesz blinking in direction of a possible future coalition with Jobbik is also to blame for the increase in open and coded anti-Semitism, one should not forget the responsibility of the liberal SZDSZ, which advocated “freedom for nazi speech” believing that Hungarian society will be strong enough to repeal this.
    I do not share the optimism of Éva. In the present economic and political situation of Hungary, coded anti-Semitism is a possibility to divert attention from the disastrous politics of Fidesz. Speeches like those of Áder without any measures against the open and aggressive anti-Semitism will not have the effect desired.
    The judgment in the case of a Holocaust denier is a good one but won’t make a difference if open aggressive antisemitism is tolerated by the Hungarian government. Take for example one group reported by the Athena Institute in Budapest:
    Early June, 2012, the Pax Hungarica extremist group joined a demonstration in Budapest organized by the Sixty-four County Youth Movement against the Treaty of Trianon. The event was monitored by the National Police and several participants’ identities were recorded.
    At the end of May, 2012, the Pax Hungarica extremist group’s local units in Budapest, Miskolc and Sopron held a propaganda event commemorating the Day of the Hungarian Heroes.
    At the end of May, 2012, the Pax Hungarica group held a propaganda lecture in Miskolc.
    At the end of May, 2012, the Pax Hungarica extremist group held a propaganda lecture in Püspökladány.
    Early May, 2012, the Pax Hungarica’s local group in Felvidék held a propaganda event igniting a flame for national socialism.
    Early May, 2012, the Pax Hungarica’s local group in Keszthely held a propaganda event igniting a flame for national socialism.
    Early May, 2012, the Pax Hungarica extremist group held a propaganda lecture in Budapest.
    At the end of April, 2012, the Pax Hungarica, the National Protection Force Heritage and Civil Guard Association, the New Hungarian Guard, the For a Better Future Civic Guard Association and a parliamentary party participated in gendarme exhumation in Püspökladány.
    At the end of April, 2012, the Pax Hungarica extremist group issued a statement to recruit new members in Budapest, the Uplands, Győr, Kecskemét, Keszthely, Miskolc, Sopron, Szombathely, Debrecen, Szekszárd, Harkány and Pécs.
    At the end of April, 2012, the Pax Hungarica extremist group’s local unit in Kazincbarcika held a propaganda event commemorating the birthday of the war criminal Adolf Hitler.
    At the end of April, 2012, the Pax Hungarica extremist group held a propaganda lecture in Budapest.
    Mid-April, 2012, the Hungarian National Front, the Pax Hungarica and the kuruc.info extremist groups issued propaganda declarations to commemorate the birthday of the war criminal Adolf Hitler.
    Mid-April, 2012, the Pax Hungarica and the Arrabona NS Crew carried out a propaganda campaign in Győr related to the airstrike of the Allies on April 12-13, 1944.
    Early April, 2012, the Pax Hungarica extremist group issued a propaganda statement to commemorate the birthday of Adolf Hitler.
    At the end of March, 2012, the Pax Hungarica group held a propaganda lecture in Budapest.
    At the end of March, 2012, the Pax Hungarica extremist group disseminated placards on public place in order to popularize the Hungarian supremacism.
    Mid-March, 2012, the Pax Hungarica’s local unit in Jánoshalma also held a propaganda event related to the execution of Ferenc Szálasi, the Hungarian fascist leader and war criminal in the WWII.
    Mid-March, 2012, the Pax Hungarica’s local units in Debrecen, Sopron and Szekszárd also held a propaganda event related to the execution of Ferenc Szálasi, the Hungarian fascist leader and war criminal in the WWII. The extremist group’s local unit in Szekszárd held the event together with the Hereditary Hungarian Guard and the Sixty-four County Youth Movement.
    Mid-March, 2012, the main topic of the Pax Hungarica extremist group’s monthly aired radio program was about the lawsuits related to the People’s tribunal.
    Mid-March, 2012, the Pax Hungarica’s local units in Budapest, Sárrét, Veszprém, Szombathely, Inárcs, Miskolc, Szolnok, Keszthely held a propaganda event related to the execution of Ferenc Szálasi, the Hugarian fascist leader and war criminal in the WWII.
    Early March, 2012, the Pax Hungarica’s local unit in Győr is to hold a propaganda event related to the execution of Ferenc Szálasi, the Hungarian fascist leader and war criminal in the WWII.
    Early March, 2012, the Pax Hungarica is to hold a propaganda event related to the execution of Ferenc Szálasi, the Hungarian fascist leader and war criminal in the WWII.
    At the end of February, 2012, the Pax Hungarica extremist group is to organize „lecture series” at spring both in Budapest and at the countryside.
    Mid-February, 2012, the Hungarian National Front attacked in a declaration the Pax Hungarica, Outlaws’ Army, Sixty-four County Youth Movement groups related to their „Day of Honor” events. The attack is the evolution of the extremist groups’ rivalry that started earlier.
    Mid-February, 2012, the Pax Hungarica extremist group’s local unit in Hévíz held its „Day of Honor” propaganda event without the authority’s permission. The population was informed via newspaper article about the increased authority control. The event was monitored by the National Police, and the participants’ identities were recorded.
    Mid-February, 2012, the Pax Hungarica extremist group’s local unit from Kecskemét participated in the „Breakout tour” related to the „Day of Honor”.
    Mid-February, 2012, the main topic of the Pax Hungarica extremist group’s monthly aired radio program was the „History of breakout” related to the „Day of Honor”.
    Mid-February, 2012, the Pax Hungarica, the Outlaws’ Army and the Sixty-four County Youth Movement groups participated in the „Day of Honor” propaganda event at Normafa in Budapest. Extremists from other countries – especially from Germany – were also present. The event did not reach its goal as it did not garner serious media attention. National Police proved to be successful in maintaining the public order.
    Mid-February, 2012, the Pax Hungarica group widening the scope of its propaganda campaign is about to organize a „Breakout tour” in the agglomeration of Budapest.
    At the end of January, 2012 the Pax Hungarica extremist group asked for financial contribution from its supporters through the one percent of personal income tax. The informally operated group may be donated through the Free Spirit – Foundation of Hungarian Culture. The extremist group declared the following about the foundation on their website: recently (2005) it organized more cultural events and commemorations and it also supported the Gede brothers publisher’s activities. The Gede brothers was the publisher of more cross arrow and anti-semitic works before the WW II. The Athena Institute issued earlier a related investigation report titled „The Hungarian extremism operates from a zero sum of money”.
    The Pax Hungarica, the National Revolutionary Party, the Sixty-four County Youth Movement, the Outlaws’ Army, and the NS Front groups are to commemorate together the 2012 „Day of Honor” on 11, February at 16:00. The exact place of the venue will be published on 10, February.
    Early January, 2012, the Pax Hungarica group issued a statement about the „situation” in Transylvania. A local leader declares that ‘Hungarian patriotism’ exists in a great amount at Székelyudvarhely, but it is hard to spread the true „Hungarian Supremacism”.
    Early January, 2012, the Pax Hungarica extremist group launched a new internet-based ‘radio program’ on the birthday of the executed war criminal, Ferenc Szálasi. The propaganda channel will be used monthly about topics of „policy, history, religion from a Hungarian Supremacism view”. On the first occasion Endre János Domokos, the leader of the group stated that the group rejects the existing political system and believe in the „Hungarian Supremacism” with the „Hungarian kingdom”. Regarding cooperation with other extremist organizations, the leader declared that they maintain good relationship with the ‘youth movement’ led by Laszlo Toroczkai and the Outlaw’s Army.
    Early January, 2012, the Pax Hungarica extremist group commemorated the birthday of Ferenc Szálasi, the Hungarian fascist leader in Mezőkövesd.
    Mid-January, 2012, the Pax Hungarica published propaganda material under the title „The Hungarian Supremacism’s way to the power”. The extremist group declared that the country should organize its social life in line with the ideology of „Hungarian Supremacism”
    Source: http://www.athenainstitute.eu/en/map/olvas/32

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  3. For this subject, “anti-semitism in Hungary”, a writer stands out (in my opinion) : Magdalena Marsovszky. She has written a number of articles on this subject since 2006 ( a link bellow but more articles can be found on net).

    Anti-semitism in Hungary is a case of “anti-semitism without Jews”. It is an identity-crisis issue which affects the nation which should be understood in the context of the changes which have affected Hungary since 1989 (globalization, EU-membership, etc.)

    ….[A]ntisemitism in Hungary is not to be strictly interpreted as a hatred directed towards a demographic group that exists in reality. The animosity is directed instead against symbolic “Jews”, against “foreignness itself”, more against politicians and media figures (especially Socialists and Liberals) than against actual Jews. Hungarian antisemitism can be interpreted as a “cultural code” a “worldview”, an “earthly metaphysics”, or a “universally projective identification”, directed against those who – in contrast to the myth of the “Magyar fatherland” and the “native soil soaked in our own blood” – embody cosmopolitanism, urbanity, and intellectualism…..

    http://www.hagalil.com/archiv/2011/02/24/hungary-7/

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  4. London Calling?

    Oh right. So it’s ok then?

    (We’ve ALL ‘suffered’ Globilisation, joining the EU …and ‘bloody foreigners’!)

    Regards

    Charlie

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  5. and btw…this is exactly what I was alluding to in my first entry. She seems to be an apologist for anti-Semitism – so it seeps into the Hungarian psyche almost unconsciously.

    I owe it to you to read more of her outpourings – but I’m suspicious……

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  6. Ovidiu! I may have misunderstood ‘…..stands out (in my opinion)’? I read you as ‘she’s an exemplary example’….rather than ‘a good example of an apologist’. Depends what you mean by good! – Sorry if I’ve read you incorrectly.

    Regards

    Charlie

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  7. @Charlie..”Oh right. So it’s ok then?”

    The issue here is not whether it is right or wrong. One has first to understand the nature, the causes, of a problem before attempting to solve it. Moralizing alone won’t work.

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  8. Ovidiu Your ideas that Anti-Semitism is a sort of ‘cultural transference’ or blame shifting where those of the Jewish religion are blamed for all the ills and evils that have befallen Hungary over the past centenary.
    Many of these ills and evils Hungary has brought on its self mainly due to its belief as expressed in the saying “Extra Hungarium non vita est. Si est vita, non est ita”. (Outside Hungary there is no life, But if there is life really life). This attitude combined with a language which you can only really learn if you speak it as a child only or you are a supreme linguist. Has led Hungary into a trap which is of their own making. To ease their minds they need for some form of ‘scapegoat’. I will agree with you that they have turned to ‘Anti-Semitism’.

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  9. Ovidiu :

    ……One has first to understand the nature, the causes, of a problem before attempting to solve it………

    London Calling!

    Indeed it is – that’s what this blog is for.

    Regards

    Charlie

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  10. CharlieH :
    Depends what you mean by good! – Sorry if I’ve read you incorrectly.
    Regards
    Charlie

    I believe she explains well the issue. I agree with her explanations, interpretations.
    Anti-semitism in Hungary serves a symbolical function. It is (fundamentally) a cultural-imaginary construct not an inter-ethnic conflict.
    Anti-semitismn serves defining (and enforcing) group boundaries by creating an imaginary enemy -the “other”- the very non-Magyar.
    These are symptoms of an identity crisis, symptoms of fearing dissolution and reacting to it, synptoms of believing oneself under threat from external (and hard to define) forces.
    The imaginary-“Jew”-construct serves as a sort of personification of these “forces” (of globalization, EU integration).

    You are on the wrong track if you attempt to treat it as garden-variety case of ethnic strife (say as that between Serbs and Albanians in Kosovo, or as that between Hungarians and Romanians in Transilvania, for that matter).

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  11. Odin’s Lost eye :
    Ovidiu This attitude combined with a language which you can only really learn if you speak it as a child only or you are a supreme linguist. Has led Hungary into a trap which is of their own making

    Well, what do you mean “by their own making ?” What did they do, when did they fall into the “trap” ? When they left Asia and settled in Europe in the 9th century ?
    It is a fact that Magyars have always had a sense of cultural-linguistic “isolation” in Europe but this fact only explains why they are (relative to other EU nations) more prone to such negative-defensive reactions (“To be Hungarian is a collective neurosis” A.Koestler).
    It doesn’t change the argument/explanations, it only singles out the Hungarians as being more likely to develop such reactions (that the reactions will be more intense in their case).

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  12. Ovidiu :

    Ovidiu :

    ……It is a fact that Magyars have always had a sense of cultural-linguistic “isolation” ……

    ……….It is (fundamentally) a cultural-imaginary construct not an inter-ethnic conflict

    London Calling?

    On the first quote:

    Really?

    Where can I get information and evidence of this ethereal fact?

    Is this an example of your “understanding the nature, the causes, of a problem before attempting to solve it”?

    On the second quote:

    No need for this micro analysis – it can’t change the fact that it’s wrong. You seem to be justifying it if it can be analysed in these terms? What other “garden varieties” does anti-Semitism come in?

    Strange.

    Regards

    Charlie

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  13. Ovidiu :

    For this subject, “anti-semitism in Hungary”, a writer stands out (in my opinion) : Magdalena Marsovszky. She has written a number of articles on this subject since 2006 ( a link bellow but more articles can be found on net).

    Anti-semitism in Hungary is a case of “anti-semitism without Jews”. It is an identity-crisis issue which affects the nation which should be understood in the context of the changes which have affected Hungary since 1989 (globalization, EU-membership, etc.)

    ….[A]ntisemitism in Hungary is not to be strictly interpreted as a hatred directed towards a demographic group that exists in reality. The animosity is directed instead against symbolic “Jews”, against “foreignness itself”, more against politicians and media figures (especially Socialists and Liberals) than against actual Jews. Hungarian antisemitism can be interpreted as a “cultural code” a “worldview”, an “earthly metaphysics”, or a “universally projective identification”, directed against those who – in contrast to the myth of the “Magyar fatherland” and the “native soil soaked in our own blood” – embody cosmopolitanism, urbanity, and intellectualism…..

    http://www.hagalil.com/archiv/2011/02/24/hungary-7/

    Fully agree. Magdalena Marsovszky does stands out. In addition, she is a lovely person. I will certainly call her attention to this discussion of her work. She will be pleased.

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  14. @Charlie

    —Where can I get information..

    http://press.princeton.edu/titles/7498.html

    for a start, you will get enough references there

    —What other “garden varieties” does anti-Semitism come in ?

    the Jewish-Arab conflict in Middle-East

    —You seem to be justifying it if it can be analysed in these terms ?

    I was neither justifying nor condemning. It looks that you don’t like my approach, you want a sermon.

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  15. Ovidiu, there is much in Marsovszky’s view. However antisemitism in Hungary has not only one face. The fact, that Hungarian society – with very few exceptions – looked away when about half a million of Hungarian citizens were deported to Auschwitz-Birkenau has never been really confronted by Hungarian society like in Germany and during the last 25 years in Austria.
    One has only look at the new constitution, like Eva has done
    http://esbalogh.typepad.com/hungarianspectrum/2011/04/refusing-to-face-the-past.html

    You have in certain segments of Hungarian society an obsession to deny also the fact, that most Hungarians made their peace with the Kádárregime. This is especially true for some of the Fidesz leaders. I heard it often myself in Hungary: “communism is not a Hungarian invention, the German Jew Karl Marx invented it, in Hungary the majority of those leading the 1919 short communist gov. were Jews like Béla Kún. Some even said, that the Holocaust was the revenge for the “red terror” of Kún. And in the view of those people Rákosi was the revenge for the Holocaust. Of course Kádár was not Jewish, so they claim, that in reality there was no Kádár but an Aczél period.
    I am very pessimistic, if the present policy of Orbán is continued and if the European peoples parties will protect Orbán and his regime from criticism.

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  16. On the idea of Fidesz and Jobbik coalition, that I also think will happen if Fidesz starts to loose more ground. I would be curious to know how Agness Hankiss and Tamas Deutsch are digesting how Fidesz started to conform to the Jobbik group’s expectations? ALso, is there any feedback from Hankiss regarding the Nyiro affair? I try to find stuff but no luck so far.

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  17. London Calling!

    Ovidiu

    I want a sermon?

    No!…I just want you to condemn anti-Semitism in all its ‘Garden varieties’.

    Analyse it all you want – there are no differing moral gradations – or geographical differences.

    Even stranger.

    Regards

    Charlie

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  18. Some1 :

    On the idea of Fidesz and Jobbik coalition, that I also think will happen if Fidesz starts to loose more ground. I would be curious to know how Agness Hankiss and Tamas Deutsch are digesting how Fidesz started to conform to the Jobbik group’s expectations? ALso, is there any feedback from Hankiss regarding the Nyiro affair? I try to find stuff but no luck so far.

    If you mean that Hankiss and Deutsch are Jewish, I have to disappoint you. Even a Jobbik-Fidesz marriage won’t bother them.

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  19. London Calling!

    Ovidiu

    “for a start, you will get enough references there”

    It’s not exactly a slam dunk to quote just one source – and a book at that. I have to put my response on hold until I’ve read it. But I reserve judgement on your sweeping statement. One swallow doth not a summer make.

    Expensive too – but it looks like a good read – as does his other oeuvre on the uprising.

    Watch out for a more cogent response to Hungarian issues from this outpost of Europe!

    Regards

    Charlie

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  20. Karl Pfeifer :
    I am very pessimistic, if the present policy of Orbán is continued and if the European peoples parties will protect Orbán and his regime from criticism.

    I won’t expect much from EU and the “European peoples parties”.
    EU learnt the limits of its power when trying to apply pressure in the case of Haider-Austria.
    As long as such demagogic leaders enjoy democratic support at home there isn’t much that EU can do to alter things.

    I would put my faith in the Hungarian people. And it the emergence of political alternatives to Jobbik/Fidesz (they are sides of the same party, merely factions playing the “good cop bad cop” routine with the Hungarians and EU).

    But first the former liberal elites have to understand that they have failed badly in addressing real problems that people have, and, by failing to do, so they have opened the doors to the success of the parties which did ! Which did and which also promoted populist and fantasist solutions to these problems but, point here, is that they did.
    Jobbik doesn’t talk all day only about Horthy, the Turul-bird and Jewish world-wide conspiracy, they are a modern party which use the internet to spread their ideology and to connect with young and educated and, as well, they go to the country-side and small villages to listen to what poor people have to say.

    It is the elite which failed in HU, failed to address the real issues (because of not wanting, not having answers, moral-cowrdice, contempt, whatever, I don’t know why…an example of this kind could be Charlie’s reactions here to my post, a reaction focused on condemning and bashing anti-semitism instead of understanding what drives it)

    Whether one gets straight the myths of Horthy era, or the Kadar era, is important but not as important as getting straight the more recent myth of Hungary as a “model-reform” country after 1989 when in fact by mid 1990s all the major reform either failed or where postponed. During the 2002-2010 the Liberal-Socialist did not carry one any of the much needed reforms (social security, education, pensions, health) and this led to corruption (always a means to oil state-system malfunction) and in the end to the Fidesz/Jobbik “revolution”.

    So, of course it would be useful to face the distant past but the present elites (let alone the mass of people) don’t seem able to face the recent past (let alone the Horthy-era) or the present and make a come-back as alternatives to Orban’s 1930s-style of populist nationalism.

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  21. Thanks Ovidiu. As one who had close contacts with the democratic opposition before the change of system, I was very disappointed to hear from them, that in Hungary there is no need for laws forbidding nazi activities like in Austria. I was shocked, when G. Gadó MP dared to critizise the semi official burial of Horthy, SZDSZ hurried to distance itself from Gadó instead of supporting him. And of course I did not forget when János Kis argued in Népszabadság “freedom for Nazi discourse”.
    Almost all the VIPs of SZDSZ were invited by G. Soros to the USA and they came back with the silly idea, that what Hungary needed was the first amendment.
    I am convinced that SZDSZ deserved what was coming to them.
    One should not underestimate the possibilities to incite people with anti-Semitism and racism.
    I do not hope much from EU as long as peoples parties protect Orbán & Co and agree with you also on this point.
    The fact, that Orbán does not dare to touch the paramilitary nazi groups is showing that situation could become for minorities dangerous.

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  22. “Anti-Semitism in Hungary is a case of “anti-Semitism without Jews”.

    I am not sure what this means. I could read many things into this one short statement. Anti-Semitism in Hungary without Jews because they were largely eliminated 60 some years ago? And now it is just a benign way of thinking? There are some Jews left, who do not feel safe there, chief among them; old people! Of course my opinion is a bias one, but to me the only fact that matters is that there is REAL ANTI-SEMITISM AND REAL RACISM IN HUNGARY. Romas were killed, so nobody can say that racism against the Roma is racism without Romas! Perhaps when (noticed I wrote when and not if) some Jews will be beaten up or god forbid killed then we can say anti-Semitism with Jews?
    The facts of 1944 were never honestly and openly discussed in Hungary. Children are not taught about their parents’ and grandparents’ sins (unlike in Germany) but rather the events are more and more idolized. These are reasons and without correcting them, without educating the new generations and ingraining in their brains and souls that racism is not acceptable, no change can be expected. Hungary reverted herself to the “ideal times” of Horthy.

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  23. Karl There is one very good reason why Hungary must have a very strong law prohibiting any form of NAZI /Fascist activity. It is Part 2 Section 1 Article 4 of the treaty of Paris 1947.

    This states “Hungary, which in accordance with the Armistice Agreement has taken measures for dissolving all organisations of a Fascist type on Hungarian territory, whether political, military or para-military, as well as other organisations conducting propaganda, including revisionist propaganda, hostile to the United Nations, shall not permit in future the existence and activities of organisations of that nature which have as their aim denial to the people of their democratic rights”.

    I think this clause or something like it was also included in the Treaty of Vienna 1956 which is why the Austrians have such a law.

    I will admit that I had forgotten about the bit which says “shall not permit in future the existence and activities of organisations of that nature which have as their aim denial to the people of their democratic rights”. I wonder if FIDESZ could seem to fit this bit of the text of this treaty.

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  24. Thomas :

    “Anti-Semitism in Hungary is a case of “anti-Semitism without Jews”.

    I am not sure what this means. I could read many things into this one short statement.

    Perhaps it would be better to say that there is real anti-Semitism in Hungary that is directed against people of Jewish decent. But, it seems to me, the concept is extended to anyone who thinks differently from the Jobbik-Fidesz crowd. You may recall that the cameraman (actually a woman) of Népszabadság was called a “Jewish whore” when the couple who insulted her couldn’t have had the foggiest idea about her heritage. In fact, I very much doubt that she was Jewish. Anyone they don’t like are labelled “Jewish.” This is how I became Jewish and also a Gypsy.

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  25. Thomas :
    I do agree with you Eva. Everybody becomes a Jew, who disagrees with the far right.

    Yes, Eva puts it right.

    I preferred the expression “anti-Semitism without Jews” because it is a ‘striking’-one.
    Once learnt it helps one staying aware that the Jew that exists in the head of the Hungarian anti-Semite is a cultural construction, it is the “negative-Magyar” rather than the Jew.
    Because of this the anti-Semitism in Hungary is not only directed against Jews and ‘alleged Jews,’ but “against everyone who embodies cosmopolitanism, urbanity and intellectualism”, against everyone who threatens to “undermine” the Magyar nation through his lack of (acute enough) ethnic consciousness and solidarity and his lack of ethnic conformism.
    That is, one does not need real Jews around for this kind of anti-semitic neurosis, a pure Magyar, with a blood-line demonstrably going back to Arpad himself, would be regarded as Jew as well if he doesn’t share the Fidesz-Jobbik mindset.

    As far as the real Jews are concerned the best therapy for the Jobbik-crowd would be a few weeks vacation in Israel.
    There they will be surprised to find there all sorts of real Jews, as opposed to walking “imagined-concepts”.

    Find some soul-mates too, that is Israeli Jews who are very much alike the Jobbik-crowd in their mind set and values, and also find Jews whom the Jobbik-crowd will recognize instantly as “Jews” because they mock the extreme zionist-nationalist mind-set of the first (and are hated in turn)

    an example :

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  26. London Calling!

    Ovidiu

    “…an example of this kind could be Charlie’s reactions here to my post, a reaction focused on condemning and bashing anti-semitism instead of understanding what drives it.”

    One of the problems in Hungary it seems is that anti-Semitism is not condemned (“or bashed”) enough – clearly to this outsider it isn’t.

    In England we stamp on it first – then maybe analyse it – for those who can’t see it for what it is.

    I’m sure you have read ‘Thomas’ above – his indignity of analysing ‘anti-Semitism without Jews’ is palpable. He had to leave Hungary in 1956 and well knows anti-Semitism in its evil viciousness – care to advise him what ‘Garden variety’ it was? Care to tell him that it’s ok- we’re still analysing what drives it?

    “Anti-Semitism without the Jews!” – Analysis for analysis’ sake – what a futile exercise! – Meanwhile real anti-Semitism is happening in Hungary – and you rearrange the deckchairs on the Titanic. You’ve had a few hundred years to analyse it.

    And btw – your example of another ‘garden variety’ of anti-Semitism being the Jewish-Arab conflict in Middle-East is a poor response

    The Arabs hate the Jews because they are at war with them – just as the English hated the Nazis. Hardly an example of anti-Semitism – it’s war! Nation hating Nation in the extreme.

    You hardly answer my point – what other varieties are there?

    Are there some flavours of anti-Semitism which are acceptable to you and some not?

    Yes ok – You analyse, I’ll condemn.

    Regards

    Charlie

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  27. “Anti-semitism in Hungary is a case of “anti-semitism without Jews””

    It’s not just Hungary. In Europe and Russia anti-semitism was and always will be “anti-semitism without Jews”. The materialized invisible enemy. The punchbag. Now you can list your local grievences here and presto, you have a social study about a European country. Phd granted. Add the tzars, the poverty, the wars, Trianon or the high beer prices. Whatever is at hand. It was never an ethnic conflict, not even the progroms. Attacks on real Jews was always just the manifestation of the hatered, but not the actual conflict with them.

    I very well understand CharlieH’s frustration. At the end of they, when these guys start slamming the boxcar doors on us, Jewish or not, it will not matter, will it?

    Just read about Poland and Ukraine. The Nazi salutes, monkey chants and beatings of Asians after the soccer matches. Welcome to Eastern Europe. The inferiority complex is under our skin.

    The question is not really how we got the disease but how do we control it. Hungarians have serious anger management issues so to speak. This is the interesting part. Why is it escalating since this government rose into power. What is the responsibility of those who run the country? What’s the effect when officials are praising ex-nazis in public.

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  28. Ovidiu, Eva, Mutt,
    I do agree that sometimes non-Jewish people get categorized as Jews, they are part of the enemy. Yet the doors in the cattle carts did not shut on them, they were shut on the “real” Jews, (clearly not because of their convictions or religious beliefs, but because of their “race”) Romas, and Homosexuals (maybe).
    And in today’s Hungary Romas are being killed and homosexuals are being harassed. That is not a theory it is Hungarian reality.
    Charlie said it right, condemn it first, condemn it second, and third. Then you can analyze it.
    Meeting racist Jews (and there are plenty of them) will not cure any Jobbik members or sympathizers. That is a dream, much more needs to be done

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  29. “Anti-Semitism in Hungary is a case of “anti-Semitism without Jews”.”

    I was quite surprised to read this, as, had I had the time last night, this is exactly what I would have written.

    Until now I had thought that this was just my own personal analysis, based on my experiences in Hungary and being part of a Hungarian family, and therefore probably not particularly valid. So it was quite a shock to see the same views being expressed by someone who knows a lot more about it than me.

    I have only skim-read the comments so far, so I may have misunderstood, but I don’t see why this view is seen as anti-Semitic or apologising in some way for a deeper, hidden anti-Semitism. I don’t really see why Charlie leapt on Ovidiu’s posts with the force he did.

    After all, any analysis of anti-Semitism in Hungary has to explain two key factors: Hungary is the most anti-Semitic country in Europe and yet it also has probably the smallest Jewish population.

    Many, probably most, Hungarians, especially outside Budapest, will have little or no experience of actually meeting Jewish people, and yet anti-Semitism is so prevalent that it is openly expressed, not only without embarrassment, but with the automatic assumption of agreement from the listener.

    But if you can get past the shock of hearing such awful views freely expressed, and actually listen to what people say, a rather strange version of anti-Semitism emerges. For instance, the most frequent targets of anti-Semitic remarks are “the international Jewish conspiracy” or “the Jewish companies that are sucking the wealth out of Hungary – or buying up all the land in Hungary”, or often it’s simple “Israel” that is seen as the threat.

    Sure, individual Jews will be the subject of anti-Semitic comments when they come up in conversation, but in my experience it is nearly always these vague commercial/international/Israeli entities that are blamed for their “attacks on Hungary”, not ‘Jews’ themselves. And, oddly, when remarks are addressed against particular Jews, the language often tends to be less vehement than when imagined ‘Jewish’ entities are the targets.

    As I said, this is a purely personal view based entirely on my own experiences over the last 11 years, so has no validity as any sort of analysis, but it is definitely what I experience in Hungary and from Hungarian family members. It will seem a very fine academic point to those on the receiving end of Hungarian anti-Semitism, I know, but it seems to me to be more aimed at the ‘dark forces’ that exist ‘out there’ somewhere and “who are determined to destroy Hungary”, rather than at Jews themselves.

    For example, my wife (to my horror) expresses quite automatic and un-thought-through anti-Semitic views, even though she knows how much I hate this. And yet, not only did she never know any Jews when she lived in Hungary, she actually works and socialises with Jewish people in the UK with no difficulty at all. She doesn’t seem to have anything against specific Jews at all, in fact she is astonishingly ignorant of Jewish history and culture, yet she still clings to her belief that ‘the Jews’ are conspiring against Hungary.

    I’m not for one minute trying to justify Hungarian anti-Semitism, or even apologise for it, but I feel that the anti-Jewish feelings you hear so often expressed in Hungary are in some significant way different to ‘standard’ anti-Semitism, and that this difference needs to be understood before there’s any chance of any improvement. The Hungarians’ problem is not so much that they specifically hate or distrust Jews, it’s that they need to blame something for the state Hungary is in, and Jews are the ‘natural’ enemy to pick. But it’s not really the Jews, as individuals, or even really as a race or culture, that Hungarians fear, it’s these vague, imagined ‘dark forces’ that lurk within and without, that are to blame for Hungary’s problems.

    Perhaps anti-Semitism is the symptom, not the illness?

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  30. Ovidiu :

    Because of this the anti-Semitism in Hungary is not only directed against Jews and ‘alleged Jews,’ but “against everyone who embodies cosmopolitanism, urbanity and intellectualism”, against everyone who threatens to “undermine” the Magyar nation through his lack of (acute enough) ethnic consciousness and solidarity and his lack of ethnic conformism.

    Very well put.

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  31. A swift PS to my post above – when I discuss anti-Semitism in Hungary, I specifically mean as it is expressed and understood (by Hungarians) today.

    I think we need to be very careful when criticising views on today’s anti-Semitism based on the experience of the anti-Semitism of the 30s and 40s (and earlier times). The anti-Semitism of that time was based on far more concrete fears and experience, propagandists could fairly easily ‘prove’ their case against the Jews, for instance, by pointing out their wealth and position in society and claiming that this wasn’t gained by fair means. Jews were highly visible and often appeared to fit the lazy stereotypes employed by the rabble-rousers – much the same as the Roma are/do today.

    But, in the Hungarian society of today, Jews are practically invisible. In the 30s and 40s, Jews weren’t just an abstract evil, they were a real physical presence in people’s daily lives. Today, people can still be persuaded that, as an abstract, Jews are evil, but hardly anyone actually has any experience of individual Jews, and for those who do, their experience will be nothing like that of the pre-war population.

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  32. Mutt Damon :
    “A

    Mutt Damon :
    The question is not really how we got the disease but how do we control it

    You will not be able to control it if you don’t understand it. Mere condemning and preaching will never work, it will only drive underground the tendency. Underground from which it will return later to surface twice as as strong and virulent as it was when you suppressed it.
    Such policies don’t work on the long term. The total control which the communists regimes enjoyed proved that the attempt to socially-engineer the society doesn’t work even in the most advantageous circumstances for the “engineers”. Let alone today.

    The recent utter failure of Jobbik-Fidesz in exporting their ideology to the Hungarian minority in Romania is telling. The difference is that the Romanian-Hungarians have their identity differently constructed, they have had (and learnt how) to live in an multi-ethnic environment and yet preserve their identity. This different identity construction is what makes them less susceptible to the hyper-nationalist rhetoric and to hunting imaginary-enemies. Less prone to the kind of defensive-reactions that the Hungarians living in Hungary have.

    Hungary has to learn to live in the modern world. It is a crisis which has to be, and I believe it will be overcome eventually.
    This Orban-regime is certainly a step back (one toward an imagined stable and secure past) but not the last word in this issue. After Orban falls the issues will not be magically,immediately solved, Hungary (Hungarians) would need perhaps another 20 years to adapt to EU.

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  33. Paul is right. We were to efficient in killing Jews. We killed all almost all of them and now we got stuck with all this latent hate energy. Bummer. Now we are cluelessly running around looking for people to hate. I guess the Romas will help … but may I suggest the dentists? I hate dentists …

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  34. And now I have read back in a little more detail, to my horror I discover that Ovidiu has already said exactly what I was trying to say – and in far fewer words!

    Ignore my posts and just read Ovidiu’s at 3:14 am (post #10) – that’s what I was trying to say.

    And now I’m even more puzzled by Charlie’s attacks on Ovidiu’s posts.

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  35. Mutt Damon :
    Paul is right. We were to efficient in killing Jews. We killed all almost all of them and now we got stuck with all this latent hate energy. Bummer. Now we are cluelessly running around looking for people to hate. I guess the Romas will help … but may I suggest the dentists? I hate dentists …

    You may have intended this to be humorous, but in fact it’s a pretty good summary of reality.

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  36. Paul :

    Mutt Damon :
    Paul is right. We were to efficient in killing Jews. We killed all almost all of them and now we got stuck with all this latent hate energy. Bummer. Now we are cluelessly running around looking for people to hate. I guess the Romas will help … but may I suggest the dentists? I hate dentists …

    You may have intended this to be humorous, but in fact it’s a pretty good summary of reality.

    Although perhaps not the bit about the dentists…

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  37. OT – I am no longer able to reply to posts! Presumably this is yet another facet of the great ‘logging in’ mystery? Whatever I did to get my name back seems to have disabled my ability to reply to a specific post.

    I am also having a lot of problems with editing as I type – moving/seeing the cursor, etc. Is this just me?

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  38. I have been posting and posting here without really trying to summarize my thoughts. Of course the expression of anti-Semitism can be replaced with racism, or intolerance, and in those cases it exists without Jews. Prejudice exists everywhere, in places where there are no Jews, or in Israel where there are plenty. In Israel, prejudice can be directed against blacks, Russian Jews and of course against Arabs.
    But in the true sense of the word anti-Semitism does not exist without Jews. It is a form of racism, small mindedness and prejudice. But it is directed against Jews in the first place. That there are other ”honorary” Jews who later become part of the equation, does not really matter. Those in Hungary who are anti-Semites do hate Jews. They may augment this hatred by adding non-Jews in the mix. Yet anti-Semitism would not exist in Hungary without the Jews. If there were no Jews, it would be called something else, the haters would find another group. But they do not need to because there are Jews there. They hate the Jews first and foremost, together with the Roma. So the first victims in today’s Hungary are the easily identifiable and socially less accepted, generally less educated Roma. The next one will be somebody walking around the Synagogues, they also will b easily identifiable and weak (i.e. old). Then perhaps, if we still are looking only to analyze the reasons, will come the “honorary” Jews, those who raise their voices against this madness. But yes, it is still anti-Semitism, and it starts in Hungary with the hatred of the Jews as a group based on origin. That is my opinion.
    So saying it is really something that exists without the Jews in ludicrous

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  39. You will not be able to control it if you don’t understand it. Mere condemning and preaching will never work

    What I was saying is there isn’t much to understand in anti-semitism. It’s the same atavistic anger control issue. Trianon, poverty, tzars, beer prices are all interchangeable in a country’s history. Finding what do we hate at coordinates in country X will not take you anywhere.

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  40. Mutt Damon :
    You will not be able to control it if you don’t understand it. Mere condemning and preaching will never work

    Oops … my html skills are fading. The first sentence was quote from Ovidiu.

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  41. re Paul: “Jews appeared to fit…the lazy stereoptypes…”

    Jews are anything but lazy. Let’s leave the Hasids aside–they are considered lazy by Israelis themselves. But a jewish businessman in Hungary is much more industrious than his non-jewish counterpart, who, naturally, maintains that the other’s success is due to ‘jewish support’. Nonsense. My uncle was a butcher. He rose at 4am every morning to go out to the countryside for fresh produce. I went with him once. The farmer was waiting when we
    got there at 5 am. The chickens and geese were placed in a bucket of water ‘to keep fresh’.
    Sure, but is also added greatly to their weight. Not to be outdone, my uncle had a rock in his
    pocket which he smoothly placed along with the counterweight. Even-steven. But if the farmer would’ve caught him, I’m sure he would’ve been complaining to his neighbours how the jew tried to cheat him.

    But that’s not my point. My uncle did everything in his power through sheer industriousness, to keep and gain clients. He expended great energy. Now, some forty years later let me tell you about my (non-jewish) butcher in my neighbourhood. I went to him about twice a week.
    Purchased goose liver, chicken, beef, and one time, a monstrous 5 kg. goose. Although there is only two of us, I bought it anyway.

    Let’s fast-forward to sometime later. I went in to buy 6 chicken legs on a Friday afternoon.
    When I tried to cook it the next day, it had a vile smell: he had sold me bad meat. I suppose it was Friday and he was trying to clear his stock. That I was one of his best customers didn’t matter.

    I never took back the meat, but I also didn’t visit him for 4 months either. When I finally went back to him–there are no other convenient butchers in the area–I told him why I had been away. He looked taken aback; the smile gone from his face. Now, when I buy, I always ask to smell the meat no matter how many customers are in the shop. I’m sure I’m no longer that ‘wealthy foreigner’ but a filthy jew who comes to hassle him.

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  42. Mutt Damon :
    What I was saying is there isn’t much to understand in anti-semitism. It’s the same atavistic anger control issue.

    Now you seem to ‘understand’ at least something (“same atavistic anger control”) though I don’t recall reading anywhere such an explanation on anti-semitism.
    You merely try to bring back (on the back door) the issue of control so I suppose we are running in circles.

    As for anti-semitism in Hungary there is a lot to understand. Not about Jews as I said, but about Hungarians and their problems today.

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  43. Ovidiu :
    Now you seem to ‘understand’ at least something (“same atavistic anger control”) though I don’t recall reading anywhere such an explanation on anti-semitism.

    Well, somebody has to start those “original ideas”, n’est-ce pas?

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  44. Ovidiu, maybe the common ground between my original ideas and the ones your read somewhere :-) is this: there is no Hungarian reason or Russian reason for anti-Semitism. There maybe ethnic or nation specific reasons for not being able to control your frustration and the tendency to “vent” against your imaginary chosen enemy.

    There are no reason to shit in the middle of the dinner table. There are reasons for not doing it.

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  45. Well, somebody has to start those “original ideas”, n’est-ce pas?

    In your case a better phrase would be “one has to offer reasons, arguments, not circular-tautological explanations”.
    Your style (‘logic’) of explaining (“same atavistic anger control”) is meaningless that’s why can not be found in any book. Is like saying that “he killed himself because he was unhappy”. Well, the question was about his reasons for suicide, why was unhappy.

    Anyway, I assume that both you and Charlie don’t really want dealing with the subject in the way I do, so you resume your contributions to attacks and attempts to trivialize.

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  46. Ovidiu,

    Ok, you seem to understand your own analogies than other’s so let me use yours.

    Suicide is bad. Now you want to know why was the person unhappy because if we figure that out why we maybe able to stop people killing themselves. My view is this: they will be unhappy no matter what, but the question is why they don’t have the ability to “control” it? Why the tendency for the extreme solution?

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  47. To Paul, ”
    For instance, the most frequent targets of anti-Semitic remarks are “the international Jewish conspiracy” or “the Jewish companies that are sucking the wealth out of Hungary – or buying up all the land in Hungary”, or often it’s simple “Israel” that is seen as the threat.”

    As you know by now I am not exactly an intellectual heavy weight, but I can proudly say that God blessed me with the famous Hungarian twisted mind (you know the one Orban so often talks about), so may I analyze your above comments please:

    1/ I am convinced that your comments are hypnotic suggestions. (about 20000 readers here) and I am sure that most of the Jewish readers here can see it as one.
    (Years ago we had a similar fall out re: Hungarian Goulash)

    2/ I can not be believe that any husband would discuss his wife and his family on the net, especially NOT when they are anti-Semites.

    So, Paul dearest, what’s your angle?

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  48. I hope this judgement is effective to teach György N. about Holocaust. It might be useful to send him for anger management .
    ——-

    Re “Just read about Poland and Ukraine. The Nazi salutes, monkey chants and beatings of Asians after the soccer matches. Welcome to Eastern Europe. The inferiority complex is under our skin. ”

    The BBC documentary on the subject shocked me. These hooligans treat non-whites as trash! More shocking to me was no body in the stadium helped when the Asians were beaten up like punch bag. I have tears watching it.
    Monkey chanting at the black football players, the authority just turn a blind eye.
    If you don’t chant you’re a Jew, if you don’t clap, you’re a Jew..

    Ever since I watched the documentary, I have been asking myself, what the heck is going on in “civilised” Europe which this group of people could exist ?

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  49. enufff :
    what the heck is going on in “civilised” Europe which this group of people could exist ?

    About football hooliganism and its ethnic, racial and political themes you can read here

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Football_hooliganism

    It is a pan-European phenomenon, nothing special about Est-Europe (Ukraine, Poland), since countries as France, Italy, UK or Netherlands have plenty of it themselves.

    http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-4115438,00.html

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  50. London Calling!

    Ovidiu

    I withdrew from the debate when I realised you were raising straw men just for the sake of knocking them down.

    You also assume you have the monopoly on intellectual rigour and your supercilious resorting to humourless insults have not progressed the debate one jot.

    For me ‘Thomas’ trumped the debate by simply describing anti-Semitism for what it is – and that was what I was trying to do. Just simple hate of the Jews, because they are Jews.

    If you conflate that with Racism, Xenophobia, Religious Bigotry, Ignorance, Hate and Thuggery – then it will just end in analysis paralysis. And you can analyse what drives things to your heart’s content.

    I see you are now embracing Mutt’s suicide allegory.

    You’ve missed out ‘Dentistry’.

    And yet, I wonder, is this part of Hungary’s problems? (I wonder out loud – I don’t want further debate.)

    A thug, is a thug, is a thug. We have discovered in England that the most effective way to deal with them is to make their lives uncomfortable. Disruption and interruption are the techniques. The police monitor them and wake them up at inconvenient times to check up on them. They hate it – and amazingly this has been effective.

    This is the way to deal with ignorant anti-Semitic thuggery. Forget any notion that you can ‘convert’ them with vicarious analysis.

    In England many of the older generation are rabid racists and anti-Semites. The post war climate allowed these thoughts to be openly displayed. Our laws have just driven it underground – but they are still rabid racists and anti-Semites. But hey guess what? They die!

    The climate for the younger generation is healthy and thriving – and we are proud of our muiti-culturalism – and our ability to live in harmony mostly. And that’s the key. The climate. We are slowly growing it out of the system. Ditto Northern Ireland and religious bigotry – but readers won’t understand me here.

    Now stuff ‘Hungary climate’ (the current one that is – not the hundred-year-old past) in your supercilious-intellectual-driving-analytical-sausage machine and see what comes out. Go figure.

    Don’t tell me the result please – some of us already know.

    This is my final contribution to this debate – claim the last word if you must.

    Regards

    Charlie

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  51. Dubious, thanks!

    Unbelievable – at times like this I’m glad that I can’t really read Hungarian. And my wife won’t translate this for me – she won’t even look at that …

    I’m so happy that she’s a real liberal-minded person!

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  52. Dubious :
    Why do they call Fidesz, Zsidesz?

    Because FIDESZ politics is not nationalistic enough by Jobbik’s standards.
    But how could this happen if they are all Magyars ? There must be some “treason” within Fidesz, ergo there must be some crypto-Jews inside Fidesz working to weaken the Magyar nation.

    The Jobbik-crowd will always end up finding what they are looking for in any such situation (a group, an association, party, etc. which they are “investigating” because of they don’t like the politics of that group, association, etc.). It really doesn’t matter that (let’s assume) it is demonstrable that there aren’t Jews in that group because this sort of anti-Semitism which has become in fashionable in Hungary is not about real Jews. The “Jew” of Jobbik is an imaginary fellow, a constructed concept which embodies everything which is non-Magyar and who works 24/7 to destroy the Magyar nation.

    They will always end up finding what they looking for because their ethnicity-test is actually a political test. If no Jew is found among the members of the investigated group then those who are the target of discontent, those whose actions don’t fit Jobbik-crowd standards of behavior, will be regarded/defined as Judaized-Magyars (thus Jews in a cultural sense) and treated “accordingly”. It is “head I win tail you lose”.

    (once again) Anti-Semitism in Hungary is not about Jews. It is a battle of the nation with itself. The ultra-nationalists are dividing the Magyars in two classes : the true-devoted-real Magyars (if possible all dressed identical in the national grab and with moustache) and in the traitors-enemies of the nation, the “Jews” (the non-Magyars).
    The “Jews” are all the Magyars whose acts are perceived as not patriotic enough, are perceived as acts which weaken and undermine the nation.
    So we get an quite a long list of “Jews”, for instance a catholic priest who refuses to ring the church bell for Trianon is a crypto-Jew (why ? because his actions prove it, no true sensible Magyar would do such thing, by definition).

    It is a battle of the nation with itself with. The “Jews” and anti-semitism in Hungary serves a symbolical function, it is used to label (to mean) “traitors and enemies within to be get rid off”
    (traitors according to the Jobbik-crowd).

    It is a civil war symbolically represented as an inter-ethnic war.

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  53. Just a very recent experience. I was discussing Hungarian politics with my Hungarian colleague. Both of us are working in international global IT company. He is very modest and intelligent person. But then when I asked about potential of LMP in next elections. I was shocked with his answer. He just mentioned: Its a Jew party.Financed and led by Jews. They can not get more then 10%. OK…I said…and changed the topic….If I would hear it from somobody on the street, OK…But from this person I really did not expect statement like this….

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  54. London Calling!

    Kuner.

    May I ask why you didn’t challenge his thinking?

    Could your “Ok…I said” have been misunderstood as tacit agreement?

    Am I being unrealistic?

    Democracy brings responsibilities – and takes courage too I know.
    But dialogue with peers is the only political power the man on the Gyor omnibus has.
    You hold in yr hands the power to change the ‘climate’ and it is the only way it will change.

    Someone has to say it.

    This is what I have done on several occasions in different circumstances – and in a different country, I accept.

    Is it that bad in Hungary?

    Regards

    Charlie

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  55. Hi Charlie,
    i do not know whether its that bad in Hungary.I coming from Slovakia.I just did not want to argue with that colleague. I respect him and aswell his “local expertise”. Actually I do not think he is Anti-semit.Simply I can not believe that because he is otherwise completely normal:-)

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  56. OT. In Budapest. Just saw Jobbik activists at three different locations in the city handing out a free newspaper called “Hazai Palya” (The Home Field). On the front cover there is a quote from Gabor Vona, the Jobbik leader “If they they throw us with stones, we are going to hit them with a rock” … what a nice touch (sarcastic).
    They are just handing these papers out.. at first I thought it was some kind of advertising material that people usually distribute in the street, until I saw the Jobbik sign. They seem to be working very hard on marketing and seem to have the money, too, to do so (the paper looks like a real news paper, with several pages, with various articles on politics, Jews in politics, sports, and tabloid news… it’s like a Jobbik tabloid paper).

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  57. Eva:” Perhaps it would be better to say that there is real anti-Semitism in Hungary that is directed against people of Jewish decent. But, it seems to me, the concept is extended to anyone who thinks differently from the Jobbik-Fidesz crowd.”

    This reminds me of an old joke:

    In an elementary school in Hungary the teacher wants to know the religion of the children in his class. So he says: Catholics in this corner, protestants in that corner, Jews in the third corner. They all go in their corners except one little boy. What is your religion, the teacher asks. I am an atheist, the little boy answers. Go to the Jews (mars a zsidok koze), the teacher says.

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  58. I agree with Charlie on his dispute with Ovidiu. It makes no sense to analyze why there is anti-Semitism in Hungary. This was analyzed to death before. If it is not kept under control with education or, if necessary, with force, it will lead to the annihilation of what’s left of the Hungarian Jewish community.

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  59. A bit late but I nearly fully agree with Charlie’s opinion. The problem is that if it is claimed that anti-semitism stands for a general uneasiness with own identity, this somehow misses how costly this uneasiness is for people who have unfortunately become the “embodiment” of this uneasiness.

    Contrary to what was suggested, the Jewish community in Hungary is one of the largest remaining communities in Europe
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jewish_population
    and people of Jewish origin are being reminded of their origins even if they are atheists. Anti-Roma sentiments, also very popular, are interestingly expressed in different ways and on different occasions.

    To interpret the anti-semitic statements as a kind of “xenophobia” also misses the fact that Hungarians of Jewish faith are not FOREIGNERS. It is more likely that the anti-semitism has not changed since the 19th century, where it prevailed in large parts of Europe and that is not being classified as a “type of xenophobia”.) THAT is why it is absolutely necessary to condemn first, as Thomas wrote.

    The interpretation of Hungarian anti-semitism as reflecting a crisis of identity or an inferiority complex is fully in line with the still prevalent approach to the nation through national traits, a “common mind”, common fate etc. INDIVIDUAL rights, something that is paramount to the current understanding of democracy in countries that have been more successful in maintaining one, have still not made it into the debate about the Hungarian nation (it appears). And people who are either of Jewish origin or who are linked to Jewish origin because people are “used to” express their general and specific uneasiness about whatever in anti-semitic terms, are being DENIED their right to be a full member of a POLITICAL nation.

    A modern political nation is able to accommodate to diversity because it accepts the notion of individual rights – no matter what my background is. (Before people will argue “but in which country people really live up to it”, I write that of course this is an ideal, but one that is a guiding principle in the more mature democracies.) The Hungarian anti-semitism, even if habitually, is an everyday confirmation of the fact that the logic of “Hungarianness is sacred” is alive. People who do not follow this logic of “one national body” can be stripped of all rights and dignity if necessary. The fact that people of non-Jewish origin – if found “guilty” of dissenting – are considered at least “crypto-Jews” I consider a proof of my proposition. Seen from that angle, the habitual Hungarian anti-semitism stands for a deep dislike for individual rights and in its consequence also democracy.

    As Charlie wrote, a change in that will not occur through trying to find explanations for that but an alternative set of values, one where “Hungarianness” is not the most sacred feeling. And that can be “learned”, as was shown (at least to some extent) in a number of countries of Europe already, with no smaller “national” inclination to anti-semitism. Not tolerating it promotes an acceptance of an individual’s right to participate on equal terms in the POLITICAL nation.

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  60. @Kirsten

    “The Hungarian anti-semitism, even if habitually, is an everyday confirmation of the fact that the logic of “Hungarianness is sacred” is alive. People who do not follow this logic of “one national body” can be stripped of all rights and dignity if necessary. The fact that people of non-Jewish origin – if found “guilty” of dissenting – are considered at least “crypto-Jews” I consider a proof of my proposition.Seen from that angle, the habitual Hungarian anti-semitism stands for a deep dislike for individual rights and in its consequence also democracy.”

    I think that we are in agreement on most points (and with Marsovszky et al.).

    Fidesz-Jobbik have a political ideology to push : the vision of the nation as an “organic-holistic” body. A vision which is collectivistic (communitarian, tribal) and authoritarian (anti-democratic). If fully implemented at the state level it is hard to say how such a state would differ from a plain fascist state. Resurrecting the “blood and soil” writers of the 1930s (Nyiro, Wass, Dezso) is promoting this vision (it is implied in their works).

    Anti-semitism in Hungary has become the other face of the coin. A cultural-code, a code-talk used in what is a very divisive Magyar-Magyar (“Turanics” vs. “Jews”) argument over the future of the nation, over how to adapt and preserve identity when subjected to the forces of globalization, free-market, EU integration and dissolution of the borders, etc.
    It makes me think about St.Stephen and the civil conflict over adopting Christianity, or about the 1918-1920 period with its divisions over the communist ideas.

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  61. Ovidiu, I had the impression that the argument that “anti-semitism in Hungary may not mean what it means because it is a general rejection of elements considered alien to the nation” is also strongly grounded in “one nation, one body, one leader” thinking. The nation is also defined based on this “Hungarianness”, language, race, religion. A refusal to call this anti-semitism anything different from that means that you refuse the whole logic behind the definition of “nation” (“we are surrounded by alien people”, “we are unique through language, habits etc.”, “we are certain to die out if we accept ‘alien elements’ “). That logic has to be replaced by a different one (a political nation is the sum of the individuals who wish to live together in one place or state based on some common principles) and that is why the anti-semitism has be to rejected immediately. The alternative set of values has to be introduced in a practical manner, and this is best shown in condemnation of anti-semitic statements, even making them kind of taboo. Explaining that the “Hungarian nation” is “simply” expressing its uneasiness with “alien elements” in general looks at the problem from the angle of an “impersonal mass”, whereas condemnation of anti-semitism as harming individuals starts from the damage that is done to individual persons, their rights and dignity, and the responsibility for it of individuals who are habitually expressing their uneasiness in anti-semitic statements and who dodge behind a “mass”. For met his appears to be a bit different.

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  62. @Kirsten

    –Ovidiu, I had the impression that the argument that “anti-semitism in Hungary may not mean what it means because it is a general rejection of elements considered alien to the nation” is also strongly grounded in “one nation, one body, one leader” thinking.—

    No, it is explaining how, why, it comes to exists. It is something which “follows” if you adopt the kind of vision of “nation” of those who promote this kind of anti-semitism.
    It is “them”, not I, who embrace this kind vision and it “them” who then (as a consequences of adopting such beliefs) end up using, expressing, this kind of “culturally-coded” anti-semitism.

    You don’t need to be a true-believer in their paradigm in order to understand them and then, by using their own premises, to explain their thought-process and behavior.
    An atheist can write about religion and explain why religious people behave as they behave without converting. It is a temporary “suspension of disbelief” for the sake of understanding others in their own terms.
    Neither I nor Marsovszky write to defend their views, we just don’t allow that our own vision interfere with the subject and, instead of writing to “why”, slide into writing politics, slide into writing polemics “against” them.

    —That logic has to be replaced by a different one (a political nation is the sum of the individuals who wish to live together in one place or state based on some common principles) —

    Yes, this is a different “vision” (paradigm), that of nation as being a “civic-nation”.

    Interesting that the new Hungarian Constitution is using the term “nation” with both meanings. It deals with the ethnic-minorities living in HU as being part of the “political community” (thus implying a “civic-nation” meaning for the “Hungarian nation” concept) while at the same time, in other parts of the text, is treating the ethnic Hungarians living anywhere outside HU as being part of the “Hungarian nation” (this means now that “nation” is defined/understood in the sense of “ethnic-nation”).
    The Venice Commission noticed the contradiction. It did not buy into the ploy of changing the words to (apparently) avoid/remove the contradiction (i.e. using different words for an identical meaning through replacing “nation” with “political community”) and asked (July 2011) that the issue be clarified. It was not when the Cons. was adopted.

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  63. Ovidiu (or should I say Vandorlo),

    Now is there any practical fallout of this great analysis of the Hungarian anti-Semitism? You seem to understand the roots of it and as we know that’s what we need to combat it. So, what should we do with the Holocaust deniers?

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  64. It is not only the right wing that produces antisemites and holocaust deniers. As an example: “An ex-member of the communist party, he converted to Islam in the 1980s. His 1996 book The Founding Myths of Israeli Politics denied that the killing of Jews by the Nazis constituted genocide.

    He was given a suspended jail sentence for Holocaust denial in 1998.

    During the war Garaudy joined the French Resistance and later wrote more than 50 books – mainly on political philosophy and Marxism.

    He was expelled from the French Communist Party in 1970 after criticising the Soviet invasion of Czechoslovakia.

    Born into a Catholic family, he initially converted to Protestantism before rejoining the Catholic Church and eventually embracing Islam.”

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  65. Louis Kovach :

    gdfx. I have posted the above from BBC. because the blog line consistently attributed antisemitism in Hungary to the rightists.

    If there were a socialist-liberal party in Hungary that declared itself openly anti-Semitic then we wouldn’t have to concentrate only the right.

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  66. Kovach:”I have posted the above from BBC. because the blog line consistently attributed antisemitism in Hungary to the rightists.”

    In Hungary (and this blog is about Hungary) the antisemitism is typical and officially (or quasi-officially) endorsed by the right. It was the right then that deported hundreds of thousands of Jews to their death, it is the right today that celebrates the right of those times. Your remark is meaningless in this context.

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  67. I might say Kovach is an idiot but I’ll refrain from that – I’ll just point out that his reasoning is a typical example of a “logical fallacy”. There is a list on nizkor:http://www.nizkor.org/features/fallacies/

    Actually it is more like a Kindergarten argument: He did the same last week – why am I being punished ?

    Louis, please lay off your examples of other people’s idiocies – they only prove that you’re in the same league!

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  68. Paul :

    After all, any analysis of anti-Semitism in Hungary has to explain two key factors: Hungary is the most anti-Semitic country in Europe and yet it also has probably the smallest Jewish population.

    I was quite surprised to read this, because I am constantly meeting people of Jewish descent.

    So I checked with the supreme source, wikipedia, and Hungary has the 6th highest proportion of Jewish people in the world: (behind Israel, US, Canada, France, and Uruguay) from their 60,600 Jewish people.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jewish_population

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  69. Kuner :
    Just a very recent experience. I was discussing Hungarian politics with my Hungarian colleague. Both of us are working in international global IT company. He is very modest and intelligent person. But then when I asked about potential of LMP in next elections. I was shocked with his answer. He just mentioned: Its a Jew party.Financed and led by Jews. They can not get more then 10%. OK…I said…and changed the topic….If I would hear it from somobody on the street, OK…But from this person I really did not expect statement like this….

    Well, what if it is a Jewish led or financed party?

    Has this been disproved?

    Or is it merely anti-Semitic to identify Jewish people and influence, even if it is true?

    Is it anti-Catholic to identify Catholics, or anti-African to identify Africans, even if they are using their affiliation as the central point of co-operation and self-interest between them? How about gentile/Christian whites? How about Muslims? Or are Jewish people the only ones who cannot be identified as such?

    If true, I argue that the taboo against his is prima facie evidence of such disproportionate power. It is a privilege that no other group enjoys, even if you are reinforcing this privilege not as Jewish person, but as someone who has just been taught that not identifying Jewish political workings is the social norm, and that doing so is taboo.

    Your associate is absolutely within his right, as a free man, to identify Jewish power and politics, where it exists.

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  70. Guest: “Well, what if it is a Jewish led or financed party?

    Has this been disproved? ”

    Is there any proven factual support for the statement? If not, it is just another anti-Semitic statement, so common in Hungary today.

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  71. Guest:

    “It is a privilege that no other group enjoys”

    What privilege are you talking about? The privilege to be a member of a party? The privilege to attend schools or to work? Or do you mean the “privilege” to be reminded of Jewish decent, real or made real by the imagination of other people who do not even care to find out whether a person is actually religious or not but just apply their prejudice – which they consider to be “truth”? What if an Hungarian of Jewish decent considers himself Hungarian in the first place and then (perhaps) also identifies with the religion, why then permanently “identify” the “real” nature of that person as Jewish? What kind of taboo is that? Apparently you think that Hungarian and Jewish do NOT go together. And that is anti-semitism. We were discussing whether there is anything additional in the current anti-semitism to that of the 19th century, but there is not.

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  72. Guest :
    Or is it merely anti-Semitic to identify Jewish people and influence, even if it is true?

    Dear Guest, tell me, what other reason would make you feel compelled to point out that a party is full of Jews? Perhaps your never ending quest for facts?

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  73. Mutt Damon :

    Guest :
    Or is it merely anti-Semitic to identify Jewish people and influence, even if it is true?

    Dear Guest, tell me, what other reason would make you feel compelled to point out that a party is full of Jews? Perhaps your never ending quest for facts?

    You are missing the essence: the financing.

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  74. London Calling!

    Guest – you have focussed on people and ‘influence’ because they are Jews – there are many people with ‘influence’ but who are not Jews. It is an irrelevance. In a meritocratic democracy all sorts of people from all walks of life and from all different creeds are successful whatever race or religion.

    Come to London and see. A pluralistic successful society needs ALL its talents. We are grateful for all the peoples who make up our society – we don’t (in the main) make life difficult for them and drive them away from our country. England is successful BECAUSE of its minorities – not in spite of them.

    And you need to tell that to your fellow workers.

    When an anti-Semite doesn’t recognise anti-Semitism – he’s an anti-Semite.
    We can ‘feel’ it in the hatred you write; we hear it in the words you don’t speak.
    We know it festers in your heart.

    Regards

    Charlie

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  75. Hungary is going down the drain. Worst economic situation in Europe, so the feeble minded amongst us have to blame someone. We do not deserve to lick the boots of those wonderful people who contributed, and are still contributing, so much to world culture, health, economy, science and are excelling in all academic fields. We should hang our collective head in shame after the horrific behaviour of some hooligans at the football match today.
    I am ashamed to be Hungarian

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  76. Igor Dobos :

    Hungary is going down the drain. Worst economic situation in Europe, so the feeble minded amongst us have to blame someone. We do not deserve to lick the boots of those wonderful people who contributed, and are still contributing, so much to world culture, health, economy, science and are excelling in all academic fields. We should hang our collective head in shame after the horrific behaviour of some hooligans at the football match today.
    I am ashamed to be Hungarian

    I feel very much the same way but think of it. In every society there is the scum. However, in other countries the government makes sure that this small minority at such a football match cannot run amok. The problem is that Orbán’s government let them loose and in fact encourages them. Does anyone recall when a few years back Orbán demonstratively sat together with the Ferencváros fans at a match? The members of this organized fan club are the worst offender of football hooliganism. They were also the ones who most likely were responsible for the storming of the television station in September 2006. That was surely a symbolic gesture to them.

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  77. I love Hungary and the Hungarians.I have been visiting since 1970 and have owned a house there for 10 years.I have a very good friend of 42 years who shocked me by suggesting that another[mutual]friend was’Jewish because her manners are not so good’.I
    replied that comments like that are not allowed in our country.I was shocked and further shocked when another Hungarian friend stated that he ‘hated Jews’.[I walked out at that!].I am not Jewish but I am Welsh and have heard racist remarks about the Welsh.I condemn racism of any kind and consider that Hungary should do so as well.However,reading the Jobbik website,I think that Anti-Semitism certainly exists in Hungary.To me it is a negative aspect of a beautiful country with generally wonderful people.I understand it must be terrible to lose two-thirds of your country-Triannon-but to stigmatise one section of the population-or two if you count the Roma-is to court accusations of Hitlerism and to isolate Hungary from the rest of Europe.

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