A “friendly” football match: Hungary-Israel 1-1

Over the past few days the outrageous behavior of a large group of football fans at the Israeli-Hungarian “friendly” match on August 15 has become an international cause célèbre.

Initially the behavior of the neo-Nazi fans went unnoticed in Hungary, with the possible exception of the rest of those 10,000 people who attended the match. Although they were screaming “stinking Jews” at the top of their lungs all through the match, the most egregious part of their performance occurred during the Israeli anthem.

The incident became widely known only on August 17, two days after the game, when a blogger, a Hungarian who lives in Prague, reported on it. In Hungary only Péter Németh, editor-in-chief of Népszava, felt the need to comment on it in a short editorial. As he said in his note, Hungarians have gotten to the point that a little “zsidózás” is not even worth mentioning.

In the last twenty years the Hungarians have played against the Israelis five times.  The Israelis won twice, the Hungarians once, and twice the match ended in a tie, including the most recent one.

In far-right circles this game was considered to be a very important affair. Some of the hard-core anti-Semites on Facebook and Magyar Hírlap were concerned before the game that “for political reasons the Hungarians must not win the game.” One financial genius added that “Man, if we beat them tomorrow the euro will be worth 320 forints.” A third man announced that “it is ridiculous that there is again a country that our national team may not beat. That’s like when the golden team had to lose against the Soviet Union.” The golden team refers to the Mighty Magyars of 1950s fame.

From Facebook it is also clear that these neo-Nazis were preparing to create a scandal at the game. One participant in the discussion provided the others with a telephone number in case anyone got into trouble with the police.

The Hungarian authorities knew well ahead of time that trouble was brewing and in fact the Israeli national football team was warned of a “severe threat” to their safety in Budapest. From the interview with Eli Guttman, the team’s coach, it is not clear exactly what the Hungarian police did to defend the visitors. We do know that there was cooperation between the Israel security detail that accompanied the team and the Hungarian police because the Israelis’ “bus was sent out of the stadium after the match with a police escort and sirens sounding so that people would think it was [them. They] were asked to stay behind and left later in a bus with the blinds drawn.”

The day started pleasantly enough. The Magyar Labdarúgó Szövetség (Hungarian Football Association) organized a dinner party for the officials of the Israeli delegation that included the president of the Israeli Football Association. In attendance were Sándor Csányi, CEO of OTP and the president of the association, as well as the secretary-general and the vice-president. Ilan Mor, the Israeli ambassador, was also present.

But then came the preliminaries to the match. As usual, the visitor’s national anthem is played first followed by the national anthem of the home team. This is what people in the stadium could hear of the Israeli national anthem:

As days went by more and more details surfaced. One was a photograph taken in the stadium. Tibor Bana, a Jobbik member of parliament, can be seen on the photo in the company of two attractive girls. One of the girls is holding up an Iranian flag in front of her. Jobbik, as is well known by now, has very friendly relations with Iran. It is also likely that the party receives money from the Iranian government. It is pretty clear that Jobbik had a hand in creating this particular scandal with the help of the neo-Nazi football hooligans.

Several days went by and the Hungarian government didn’t feel it necessary to say anything or to apologize to Israel. At last the English-language Israeli paper Haaretz broke the silence and pointed out that “The Hungarian authorities still have not apologized for anti-Israel and anti-Semitic incidents that took place at an August 15 soccer match between the national teams of Israel and Hungary in Budapest. During the so-called friendly match, a warm-up for both teams in advance of qualifying for the 2014 World Cup, Hungarian fans turned their back on the field during the singing of ‘Hatikvah,” the Israeli national anthem, and waved Iranian and Palestinian flags.”

A day later The Jerusalem Post also reported on the incident. The Post quoted Péter Morvay, editor of ATV, who attended the match with his son: “Not a few lunatics, but the whole bunch of supporters behaved this way.”

After a fair amount of pressure, the Hungarian government released a statement on August 21, almost a week after the incident. There was no apology, but the statement declared that “the Hungarian government deeply condemns the behavior of the football fans who disturbed the dignity of the friendly Israeli-Hungarian football match on August 15.” However, “the extremist behavior is not in direct contradiction with the law, therefore there is no legal ground for the authorities to take immediate action.”

The Hungarian Football Association (MLSZ) said that it would investigate the incidents at a meeting today. I guess they are still investigating because as yet there is no news on the outcome of their gathering.

And finally the Israeli national anthem which cannot be heard on the video.

If the tune sounds familiar it is because this 16th century popular Italian song was incorporated by Bedřich Smetana in his symphonic poem Má vlast  as “Vltava.”

78 comments

  1. In fairness to Hungarians generally, it was not a “large group”. It was a small but odious group who one suspects, turned up in Cegléd a few days later. And again in fairness, this is not so different from what you hear at English football matches, or German ones, although the targets tend to be different. For me, the real scandal is that it took the Hungarian government SIX days to comment, and when it did, as you rightfully point out, it didn’t really get to the nitty gritty of the matter.

    Another scandal is that the stadium is in a disastrous state and should not be open to the public.

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  2. Once again, the Hungarian government misses an opportunity to acknowledge a problem and do the right thing. It would have been so easy for the President, the Prime Minister, or the Speaker of Parliament to publicly scold the hooligans and remind them that patriotic Hungarians are people of dignity, respect, manners and fair play and they are expected to act on that basis. The Prime Minister frequently likes to remind people of his background in sports. Well, here is a perfect opportunity to show that he is a real sportsperson, respecting an opponent on and off the field and encouraging his citizens to do the same. The behavior here is so shameful that if no apology is forthcoming and no meaningful measures are taken to insure that it not happen again, Hungary should probably not be allowed be allowed to have its fans attend international matches for some time into the future, if not forfeit some number of games.

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  3. Kingfisher :
    In fairness to Hungarians generally, it was not a “large group”. It was a small but odious group who one suspects, turned up in Cegléd a few days later. And again in fairness, this is not so different from what you hear at English football matches, or German ones, although the targets tend to be different. For me, the real scandal is that it took the Hungarian government SIX days to comment, and when it did, as you rightfully point out, it didn’t really get to the nitty gritty of the matter.
    Another scandal is that the stadium is in a disastrous state and should not be open to the public.

    London Calling!

    I beg to differ – this IS so different from what happens at an English football match.

    Although I am no expert – I have never attended a football match in my life – but Anti-Semitism and Racism are heavily stamped upon.

    It has taken years for things to get to this stage.

    This behaviour should be banned by FIFA – and any offending supporters should have their National team removed from the competition.

    Just shameful – and Hungary’s dilatory response again sends another wrong message.

    Regards

    Charlie

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  4. CharlieH: “This behaviour should be banned by FIFA – and any offending supporters should have their National team removed from the competition.”

    I perhaps should have mentioned that someone reported it to FIFA. We will see what happens.

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  5. “THE MELODY in fact goes back 600 years to the Sephardi prayer Birkat Hatal, the prayer for dew, written in Toledo, Spain, by Rabbi Yitzhak Bar-Sheshet. After the Inquisition, the Jews of Spain were dispersed across Europe, the Balkans and North Africa, and the melody found its way to Italy, where it became a popular love song “Fugi, Fugi Amore Mio.”

    From there the tune had two separate paths. On one it wandered to Romania, where it was altered by the local gypsies and that was the melody that Cohen used. It other path went through Italy, where it was heard by the 12-year-old Mozart, who had been sent to study there and would later incorporate it into the eighth of his 12 variations on a popular French children’s song called “Ah, vous dirai-je, Maman.” Mozart took it to Vienna and on to Prague, and there Smetana picked it up.

    The irony is, explains Baltsan, that Smetana also used it to express a nationalistic sentiment. […] He asks himself, ‘What is a national movement?’ It is like a river and he he thinks of the national river, the Vltava [in German, the Moldau]. A river is always flowing; you can’t stop water, just like you can’t put out hope. It [“Die Moldau”] became the second movement of a six-part symphonic poem called My Country, and the whole work became a sort of anthem, but is an anthem without words.”

    Source:
    http://www.jpost.com/Magazine/Features/Article.aspx?id=173228

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  6. “La Mantovana is a sixteenth century song composed by the Italian tenor Giuseppe Cenci, also known as Giuseppino del Biado, (d. 1616) to the text Fuggi, Fuggi, Fuggi da questo cielo. Its earliest known appearance in print is in del Biado’s 1600 collection of madrigals. The melody, later also known as “Ballo di Mantova” or “Aria di Mantova” gained wide currency in Renaissance Europe, being recorded variously as the

    Scottish “My mistress is prettie,” the
    Polish “Pod Krakowem,”
    Spanish “Virgen de la Cueva” and the
    Ukrainian “Kateryna Kucheryava.”

    “La Mantovana” appears in “Il Scolaro” by Gasparo Zanetti, 1645, as “Ballo di Mantua” in “Duo Tessuti con diversi Solfeggiamenti, Scherzi, Perfidie et Oblighi” by Giuseppe Giamberti in 1657, and as “An Italian Rant” in John Playford’s “Dancing Master” in 1657.

    “Fuggi, fuggi, dolente cor,” a version of the madrigal setting, provides the source material for Biagio Marini’s 1655 trio sonata in G minor (Op. 22, “Sonata Sopra ‘Fuggi dolente core’”).”

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  7. “One of the girls is holding up an Iranian flag in front of her. Jobbik, as is well known by now, has very friendly relations with Iran.

    Holding another country’s flag instead of your own, is just ridiculous and such a sell out. Man, I wish they’d just apply PR from Iran already, instead of contaminating this country.

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  8. Good article, though equating racist chants and gestures with the turning of backs during the playing of a country’s anthem (especially one widely condemned for severe and systematic human rights abuse) is not quite ‘kosher’.

    While the former is absolutely reprehensible, the latter could obviously be a legitimate act of political protest.

    That is not to suggest there may not have been actual anti-Semites among those turning their backs, but it is patently bogus under the circumstances, and given the ongoing policies and behaviour of the current Israeli regime, to portray this some kind of “mass anti-Semitic act”…

    It is likewise not misplaced for a team officially representing the state of Israel to be targeted for protests against the egregious acts of the regime which sponsors it, however oblivious and/or indifferent many of the the team’s members might be to the issues at hand.

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  9. Dolce :
    Good article, though equating racist chants and gestures with the turning of backs during the playing of a country’s anthem (especially one widely condemned for severe and systematic human rights abuse) is not quite ‘kosher’.

    I’m looking again at the fine gentlemen on the footage and it seems to me the turning back is not political protest. It’s just sheer hatred.

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  10. Mutt Damon :

    Dolce :
    Good article, though equating racist chants and gestures with the turning of backs during the playing of a country’s anthem (especially one widely condemned for severe and systematic human rights abuse) is not quite ‘kosher’.

    I’m looking again at the fine gentlemen on the footage and it seems to me the turning back is not political protest. It’s just sheer hatred.

    I just wanted to say that Dolce in theory is right. Criticizing the Israeli government is not necessarily a sign of antisemitism. However, I doubt whether Dolce is familiar with the Hungarian situation. Antisemitism and hatred of Isreal go hand in hand in the Hungarian case.

    I guess, these football hooligans didn’t quite dare to yell, Heil Hitler, so instead they screamed “Heil Mussolini.” This is a base and ignorant crowd that knows little about history and they don’t know that the Italian fascists were not antisemitic. This is the same crowd that sends Jews to Auschwitz at football games.

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  11. Mutt Damon – brilliant words.
    Hungary – in soccer style – is a champion of the Öngóls.
    It would be a relief to aim at the goal line of the opponent.
    The Hungarian Spectrum, Laszlo Bito, and new book by Attila Csernok:”A komáromi pontonhíd” may hold a prescription for curing our hating Hungarians, the sick minority in a small nation.

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  12. I have not watched the video posted on Eva’s website, because I saw another posting earlier and wanted to make sure I can keep my dinner inside. However, at least on the video I saw, several of the “political protesters against Israel” were shouting “Auschwitz for the Jews” with faces distorted with hatred. So no, it was not a political statement. It was plain and simple anti-Semitism. And by young people, who may not have even seen a real “Jew”. Where does the hatred come from? My guess is that education, political rhetoric, and Bayer-like so-called journalism are greatly responsible.
    And Kingfisher what, in your opinion, a small group is? 10, 20, 50? In my opinion, granted possibly biased, this was a large group. I don’t want to get into estimating numbers, but had a real fan of Hungarian football been close to this “small” group with Jewish origin, I guarantee you he would have been frightened out of his mind. (I, unfortunately think, that this imaginary fan would have stayed at home knowing what everybody except the inapt organizer knew, that a “small” group of people would behave this way). Allowing this to happen is a shame. It does not have to be unlawful to be banned. MLSZ can set any rules they wish that must be followed in their venues. Identifying this “small” group should not be a huge problem for Orban’s capable police force. They don’t have to look far these people are all in his or Jobbik’s camp.
    So no, it was a large group, and no, it was no political statement against Israel. It was way too many ant-Semites blatantly sharing their hatreds.

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  13. When the crowds and governments demand the creation of a Kurdish or Berber state with the same passion as they demand the creation of the 24th Arab state (the Palestinian), then I might consider them as no longer antisemitic but simply anti-Israeli.

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  14. Thomas :
    I have not watched the video posted on Eva’s website, because I saw another posting earlier and wanted to make sure I can keep my dinner inside. However, at least on the video I saw, several of the “political protesters against Israel” were shouting “Auschwitz for the Jews” with faces distorted with hatred. So no, it was not a political statement. It was plain and simple anti-Semitism. And by young people, who may not have even seen a real “Jew”. Where does the hatred come from? My guess is that education, political rhetoric, and Bayer-like so-called journalism are greatly responsible.
    And Kingfisher what, in your opinion, a small group is? 10, 20, 50? In my opinion, granted possibly biased, this was a large group. I don’t want to get into estimating numbers, but had a real fan of Hungarian football been close to this “small” group with Jewish origin, I guarantee you he would have been frightened out of his mind. (I, unfortunately think, that this imaginary fan would have stayed at home knowing what everybody except the inapt organizer knew, that a “small” group of people would behave this way). Allowing this to happen is a shame. It does not have to be unlawful to be banned. MLSZ can set any rules they wish that must be followed in their venues. Identifying this “small” group should not be a huge problem for Orban’s capable police force. They don’t have to look far these people are all in his or Jobbik’s camp.
    So no, it was a large group, and no, it was no political statement against Israel. It was way too many ant-Semites blatantly sharing their hatreds.

    What is truly laughable was Hungary’s belated answer after six days silence, to whit, that the actions were not “illegal”. Ahh yes
    the strict interpretation of the law. In actual fact, Law is what this government says it is, not what has been written. The actions
    of the crowd could’ve fallen under several interpretations of ‘illegal’–for one, incitement. But, as someone had once told me,
    the government likes to portray jews as cowards (–imagine that! after beating off some 200 million arabs in the near vicinity not once but several times–) and so that stipulation would not apply.

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  15. I wonder why Hungarian nazi believe that such behavior will be accepted?
    Israel has been an extraordinary success story: a culturally and economically thriving society, as well as a vibrant democracy in one of the world’s least democratic areas. A world leader in agricultural, medical, military and solar energy technologies, among others a hight-tech superpower attracting more venture capital investment per capita than the USA and Europe, home of one of the world’s best health systems and philharmonic orchestras, as well as to ten Nobel Prize laureates.
    Where does this prejudice against Israel come from?
    Is it a a corollary of the old obsession with the Jews in the Christian world?

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  16. tappanch :
    When the crowds and governments demand the creation of a Kurdish or Berber state with the same passion as they demand the creation of the 24th Arab state (the Palestinian), then I might consider them as no longer antisemitic but simply anti-Israeli.

    Great crowd. I wonder how much they truly know about history. THey have no clue. THey were there as the usual Jobbik, scum, football hooligan, let’s have a party crew. You really believe that these people understand these conflict? Hungarian Jews have nothing to do with the current politics of Israel, but the same crowd shows up on MTK games and chants the same slogans. What does that have to do with Palestine?

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  17. Some1 :

    tappanch :
    When the crowds and governments demand the creation of a Kurdish or Berber state with the same passion as they demand the creation of the 24th Arab state (the Palestinian), then I might consider them as no longer antisemitic but simply anti-Israeli.

    Great crowd. I wonder how much they truly know about history. THey have no clue. THey were there as the usual Jobbik, scum, football hooligan, let’s have a party crew. You really believe that these people understand these conflict? Hungarian Jews have nothing to do with the current politics of Israel, but the same crowd shows up on MTK games and chants the same slogans. What does that have to do with Palestine?

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  18. Hungarian Nazi-minded football hooligans are not important outside Hungary.The US government are pretty important, however. They seem to let Assad murder his own people, Khameini develop his pet A-bomb to exterminate Israel & rule over 70% of the world crude reserves, so it is of little importance for them whether there is tyranny or democracy in Hungary.

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  19. tappanch :

    Hungarian Nazi-minded football hooligans are not important outside Hungary.The US government are pretty important, however. They seem to let Assad murder his own people, Khameini develop his pet A-bomb to exterminate Israel & rule over 70% of the world crude reserves, so it is of little importance for them whether there is tyranny or democracy in Hungary.

    In the past I have consistently criticized the U.S. Ambassador in Budapest for her too cozy relationship with members of the current Hungarian government. Especially disgusting to see her great friendship with that unspeakable Csaba Hende, the minister of defense. But, I’m asking you, what could the U.S. government do beside writing letters to Viktor Orbán?

    However, it would be a step in the right direction if President Obama would recall the present ambassador and replace her with someone who could deliver the State Department’s messages more forcefully.

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  20. Being a member of the less fair sex, I am not an expert – but Mr Hende does not strike me as a veritable Don Juan. Isn’t it possible that her only aim is to make sure that Hungary keeps its few hundred troops in Afghanistan?

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  21. Here is the Amerikai Nepszava article about this subject, unfortunately it is in Hungarian, but I am sure I am not mistaken that most readers speak the language. It is interesting, since it claims that the Hunarian TV showed different pictures that of the Israeli, at the time when the Israeli anthem was played. And of course, MTV accused the Israely channel of altering the broadcast. http://nepszava.com/2012/08/magyarorszag/elo-kozvetitest-manipulalt-a-kiralyi-teve.html

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  22. Eva Balogh:
    Restarting the Hungarian service of Radio Free Europe would be a good start. Eighty percent of the population of Hungary does not get independent news. When they silence Klubradio in a few months, it will be 90% (10% will listen to it through the internet)

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  23. tappanch :

    Being a member of the less fair sex, I am not an expert – but Mr Hende does not strike me as a veritable Don Juan. Isn’t it possible that her only aim is to make sure that Hungary keeps its few hundred troops in Afghanistan?

    Sure, but she is overdoing the courting.

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  24. Hooliganism at soccer matches is a Europe-wide phenomenon. There were several racist incidents recently both in the Premier League and the Bundesliga, some with consequences for the perpetrators.

    Those who engage in these activities leave their name cards and hardly speak for the society to which they belong. One should not accord them the publicity that they seek. Also, ‘freedom of speech’, regardless of our opinion of its content, is one of the rights that all of us enjoy.

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  25. Fairness is needed.
    A gentle spinning of the event is not helpful. It is an Öngól each time.
    The minority of Hungarians, brainwashed in Jobbik and Neo-Nazi meetings, has become a dangerous mob.
    Their acts are indefensible.
    The worldwide condemnation is justified.
    The patriotic conservative Hungarians are sensitive and very upset when they read these reports.
    Their sensitivity should be matched with courage and initiative to clean up the roaring public life, and prevent the domestic rise of csurkas, vonas, morvais.
    There were good role models, too: Ferenc Koszorus, Janos Esterhazy, Nagybaczoni Lajos Nagy, lajos Nemes Takacs….
    http://www1.yadvashem.org/yv/en/righteous/pdf/virtial_wall/hungary.pdf
    http://www1.yadvashem.org/yv/en/education/languages/hungarian/educational_materials/akik_mertek_szembezallni.pdf

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  26. Csaba K. Zoltani :
    Hooliganism at soccer matches is a Europe-wide phenomenon. There were several racist incidents recently both in the Premier League and the Bundesliga, some with consequences for the perpetrators.
    Those who engage in these activities leave their name cards and hardly speak for the society to which they belong. One should not accord them the publicity that they seek. Also, ‘freedom of speech’, regardless of our opinion of its content, is one of the rights that all of us enjoy.

    I find this attempt at relativism rather problematical.

    Total freedom of speech – with its excesses – seems to exist only in the US. Most civilised European countries have laws against hate-speech, denial of the holocaust, racism, etc. And these laws are generally enforced, which cannot be said about present-day Hungary.

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  27. Hooliganism at soccer matches is a Europe-wide phenomenon. There were several racist incidents recently both in the Premier League and the Bundesliga, some with consequences for the perpetrators.
    <

    Csaba K. Zoltani :
    Hooliganism at soccer matches is a Europe-wide phenomenon. There were several racist incidents recently both in the Premier League and the Bundesliga, some with consequences for the perpetrators.
    Consequence for the perpretrators is the key part of that phrase there.
    Generally anyone caught even whispering a racist comment at a UK match now faces, at the very least, banned from the ground for life. There have also been cases of court action taken.
    In Scotland any kind of religious insult, even in the vicinity of a ground, can result in very serious results indeed.

    In this case, the faces of those insulting the Jews are not hidden, they have indeed left their “name card”. If the government feels it is unable to prosecute those responsible on the basis of hate-speech or incitement then they could “suggest” (in the way that this government tend to “suggest” their ideas are implemented) that the Hungarian football authority ban for life from any game in Hungary anyone identified in the video. Now, the actual mechanics of enforcing such a ban are difficult but that’s not the point- it’s stressing that the govt and the football authorities don’t want to see this kind of thing again.

    Personally, I think probably the most depressing experience I have had a football match ever was a Fradi v MTK fixture several years ago. I have been to Rangers v Celtic games in Scotland and, trust me, the religious and racist bigotry displayed by the Ferencvaros “fans” puts them right at the top of the European Scumbag league. It was more like a revival rally for the Waffen SS than a supposed sports event in a European Union country in the 21st Century.

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    1. You write that:

      “Generally anyone caught even whispering a racist comment at a UK match now faces, at the very least, banned from the ground for life.”

      Unfortunately that is not the case, as a review of the outcomes of the latest incidents, available on the net, indicate.

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  28. Csaba K. Zoltani, do you imply that such behavior as shown by those fans who shouted “Jews to Auschwitz” must be tolerated by the police in Hungary?

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  29. Let’s make something clear. We may or may not agree on the interpretation of the free speech but the key here is the role of the Orban government in the spreading of the anti-Semitism in Hungary. Probably most of us agree that these phenomena were not this common before 2010. These animals in the stadium and Bela Varga and Co. quasi got encouraged by the actions of Laszlo Kover or the inactions of the Orban government in general. The statement that the FIDESZ is not anti-Semitic should be very seriously questioned.

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  30. Csaba K. Zoltani :
    You write that:
    “Generally anyone caught even whispering a racist comment at a UK match now faces, at the very least, banned from the ground for life.”
    Unfortunately that is not the case, as a review of the outcomes of the latest incidents, available on the net, indicate.

    I am not sure which cases you are speaking about, can you give me some examples?
    The one I was thinking of was the young man sent to jail for making a racist comment on Twitter.

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  31. You write that:
    “Generally anyone caught even whispering a racist comment at a UK match now faces, at the very least, banned from the ground for life.”
    Unfortunately that is not the case, as a review of the outcomes of the latest incidents, available on the net, indicate.

    You ask:
    “I am not sure which cases you are speaking about, can you give me some examples?
    The one I was thinking of was the young man sent to jail for making a racist comment on Twitter.”

    During the last season in a number of countries of Europe incidents were reported where black players were called “monkeys”. Of the many cases, it is worth mentioning some of the incidences in the Premier League where, John Terry, then captain of the English national team and Chelsea captain was charged but later acquitted. Other cases involved the Liverpool striker Suarez, and insults of the Manchester United’s Patrice Evra. There is also a BBC documentary on racism at soccer games, for those interested.

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  32. You may have noticed, but nobody mentioned the inconvenient observation, that despite the large number of racial incidents on the pitch or in the stadiums, as far as I know, nobody accused the prime minister of being a racist or causing the racism in his country.

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  33. Csaba K. Zoltani :
    You may have noticed, but nobody mentioned the inconvenient observation, that despite the large number of racial incidents on the pitch or in the stadiums, as far as I know, nobody accused the prime minister of being a racist or causing the racism in his country.

    I would call this a convenient (for the PM) omission.

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  34. Csaba K. Zoltani, assuming that the information given by you is correct. Do you really believe that the Hungarian police must tolerate shouts like “Jews to Auschwitz”? Are there not Hungarian laws and a peace treaty to respect?

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  35. Csaba,
    Without wanting to go further along this tangent, several points I must challenge you on here.
    The fact is that John terry and Suarez will or already have faced disclipinary action from the FA- my original point is with the fans and I have watched several matches in English and Scottish grounds over the last 5 years. Racist comments, chanting is pounced on very quickly by both club stewarts and in the last resort the police. There are notices everywhere warning of the legal consequences of bigotted chanting. In Hungary, on the contrary, racist bigotry at football appears to be only a problem for the government when it has been noticed by outside agencies. The programme on racism on the BBC concerbned the racist and anti-semitic behaviour in two of our neighbours Poland and Ukraine, not in Germany and England as you alleged in your original comment.

    I actually don;t believe Hungarian society or even football fans are more racist or anti-semitic than their counterparts in the West- the difference is that here the authorities couldn’t care less what filth is chanted at either club or international matches and as a result the fascists know they can sing about Auschwitz, *niggers*, *gypsy bastards* with impunity.

    As a first step I would start banning offenders (get them to report to their local cop shop every time a match was on). Would you not agree that this would show the government’s and the Hungarian Football authority’s determination to eradicate this evil?

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  36. oneill :

    Csaba K. Zoltani :
    You write that:
    “Generally anyone caught even whispering a racist comment at a UK match now faces, at the very least, banned from the ground for life.”
    Unfortunately that is not the case, as a review of the outcomes of the latest incidents, available on the net, indicate.

    I am not sure which cases you are speaking about, can you give me some examples?
    The one I was thinking of was the young man sent to jail for making a racist comment on Twitter.

    As a point of direct comparison, a single Lithuanian fan made racist chants, and facist salute during a Lithuania v Nigeria basketball game at the London Olympics a few weeks ago. He was immediately taken to court and fined.

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/sport/2012/aug/04/london-2012-lithuania-racism-basketball

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  37. Honestly, I don’ t understand why UEFA does not take any disciplinary action against its Hungarian member association MLSZ. Apart from a lukewarm statement, UEFA seems to be completely blasé in this outrageous incident.

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  38. Let me summarize that according some of our Hungarian readers, it is perfectly OK to the true Hungarian football Hooligans and neo nazis to throw racial slurs, verbally abuse others, wish for the death to any sportsman and their nation based on their race or nationality because other neo nazis and hooligans from other countries done so, because this is how true Hungarians can really show their true Hungarianism to the world, because f*#k the world, this how can we show what a great nation Hungary is.
    I get it! Great points. Let spread the true Hungarian values.

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  39. London Calling!

    Firstly I’d like to thank tappach for his post in the origins of the beautiful anthem that belongs to Israel. Quite illuminating.

    I note Csaba K. Zoltani’s comments with interest. As England is the football capital of the world with hundreds of matches being played daily – it is all too easy to find Anti-Semitic and Racist incidents on the internet.

    I should declare my credentials as usual: I know nothing of the game – but that, it seems, does not disqualify me from commenting on here as displayed by others (you know who I mean!!). I also don’t have a low enough IQ to be interested in it.

    Zoltan needs to understand the difference between dealing with it as it infects society – and not dealing with it as it effects society. In England we do – In Hungary you don’t – a very stark contrast.

    In my ignorance too I have noticed in Eva’s clip that the stadium was only about a third full – with almost no evidence of any ‘family’ attendance. Whilst it would be unfair to label them all thugs it certainly seemed like it within the purview of the video.

    We (in England) found in the 70’s that unseated stadiums and unfettered racism and Anti-Semitism turned the stadiums into feral enclaves. A meeting place for thugs for fighting. It was only the introduction of all-seat stadiums; making ‘football’ more family friendly; and stamping down hard on thuggery that we have a much happier situation now.

    Contrast this with Bulgaria – (Where are you going with this Charlie?) – well Bulgarian football clubs suddenly find their stadiums only a third full – a massive decline from a few years ago. Stadiums are ‘Thug-Centres’ for some very serious violence – with right-wing uniforms on full display. Managers and team players are murdered with frightening regularity – and most football games are played to a pre-ordained result, to allow gamblers to make money. The corruption is extreme. One of the reasons for joining the EU (in 2006) was to clean up football – yes really! But it has just worsened. The reason the spectators are so few is that they are fed up with the corrupt referees and they prefer to watch any football match not involving Bulgarian teams.

    The parallels are not so many – yet – with Hungary. But give it a few years if this thuggery is allowed to persist……..

    Anyway – if you have got this far in my response – well done!

    Myself? I’ve just bored myself comatose – so need to stimulate my brain cells.

    Respond (or not) as you wish I won’t be defending my post.

    Regards (in ignorance!)

    Charlie

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  40. Charlie, liked most of your comment, but beg to differ on one point:”I also don’t have a low enough IQ to be interested in it.” I love football, or soccer as we call it here and dont think that it lowered my IQ. Although I have not checked it lately.

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  41. London Calling!

    Thomas! Thanks – No offence meant – just ribbing!

    Goodness almost like football banter!

    (‘Boydon Well’; Crate space; “We didn’t get no silverware this season” ; A game of two halves; ‘sick as a parrot’ – goodness (2) – I know more than I realise!)

    Regards

    Charlie

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  42. This is not an approval of the event, but consider the possibility that the police (who are very visible all around the pitch, did not hear all that was picked up by the TV crew’s (ATV?) microphone. I have seen other pictures from other parts of the stadium where folks were holding up the flags of Israel during the anthem. Apparently, the TV crew felt that this section of the stadium is more relevant to their agenda.

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  43. Mutt: “Agenda, he? To prove that anti-Semitism is growing in Hungary, when it isn’t? What’s their agenda, Louis?”

    To exadurate events as they often do it, no different from the other side’s agenda.

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  44. Mutt Damon :

    Louis Kovach :
    Apparently, the TV crew felt that this section of the stadium is more relevant to their agenda.

    Agenda, he? To prove that anti-Semitism is growing in Hungary, when it isn’t? What’s their agenda, Louis?

    It was not a television station’s video. Most likely an individual took it. It’s very easy nowadays. As I indicated the country didn’t really hear about the event until the Hungarian blogger who lives in Prague but happened to be at the game published it. I wouldn’t be surprised if he took the video himself.

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  45. Louis Kovach :
    This is not an approval of the event, but consider the possibility that the police (who are very visible all around the pitch, did not hear all that was picked up by the TV crew’s (ATV?) microphone. I have seen other pictures from other parts of the stadium where folks were holding up the flags of Israel during the anthem. Apparently, the TV crew felt that this section of the stadium is more relevant to their agenda.

    Ummm, are you comparing:

    1. fans holding up flags of their country at a friendly match

    to

    2. Screaming racists yelling about Mussolini and holding up flags of countries not in attendance at the game who so happen to be extremely interested in the destruction of one of the countries’ playing? Yelling about Palestine and filthy this and all that, at a friendly?

    I see the parity now.

    LM

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  46. Logicmaster: “. Screaming racists yelling about Mussolini and holding up flags of countries not in attendance at the game who so happen to be extremely interested in the destruction of one of the countries’ playing? Yelling about Palestine and filthy this and all that, at a friendly?”

    The issue was why the police did not interfere, I have brought up the option of the police was not hearing all what was yelled in stand where the video was taken. The police cordon was on the pitch not in the stands. There was no equation of anything anywhere.

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  47. Louis Kovach :
    Logicmaster: “. Screaming racists yelling about Mussolini and holding up flags of countries not in attendance at the game who so happen to be extremely interested in the destruction of one of the countries’ playing? Yelling about Palestine and filthy this and all that, at a friendly?”
    The issue was why the police did not interfere, I have brought up the option of the police was not hearing all what was yelled in stand where the video was taken. The police cordon was on the pitch not in the stands. There was no equation of anything anywhere.

    OK.

    Then the next question that begs to be asked is: If the police did not hear anything (which seems impossible to me based on the volume level of this, the fans were obviously yelling it so the israeli team on the field could hear it), are the police absolved of responsibility?

    If the police were not sufficiently present in areas where they should have been, were they doing their job? Personally, I would feel very threatened if I were seated next to these people. In a second this could have escalated to be a much worse situation. Let’s just say for example if one of the israeli fans went to the bathroom or somewhere and ended up in this area. What do you think the prospect for violence would be? If there was violence, lets imagine a death, would the police have no responsibility? These guys are all revved up and ready for action. It could have turned very bad if not for luck. Where were the police?

    I went to a Yankee game on Sunday in NYC. I saw police and am pretty sure if something like this happened, there would have been a response.

    The only way this will be stopped as well as the other craziness and violence at other soccer games is if it is made a crime to incite at soccer games and people are arrested. I saw a special on tv about the Ukraine and Poland hosting the World Cup and extreme fans looking for violence with UK fans. I saw some indian kids rooting for the home team at a game (cant remember the country) and they were beaten up by white fans.

    Incitement and violence should not be legal anywhere, under any circumstance. If police fail to prevent it, even verbal incitement that they could not hear but should have had a presence everywhere, shame on them!

    LM

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  48. Planet Hungary Circus is in session …

    There will be a mega nazi demonstration tomorrow in Budapest. The JOBBIK and other dregs of the nation plan to commemorate the 5th anniversary of the creation of the banned Hungarian Guard.

    On the following day the the 15th Jewish Summer Festival will start …

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  49. I some ways agree with Kovach on this one. I do not believe that the police did not know what was happening, but I can see that they had no idea how to act. What do any of you think should of been done? There are no clear guidelines for something like this. Freedom of expression is very murky in Hungary, and many members of the parliament can make anti-semitic or racist remarks without any consequence. So here is a police man (who is certainly not overpaid in Hungary, and their job is very undervalued by society) who hears anti-semitic remarks, people disrupting the event, but that is nothing new. Did they arrest anyone in Cegled because they are treating the Romas? Did they arrest the idiot who sent death threats to the Canadian Hungarian News and such? No. So, what would warrant the police to interfere? WHat would be the outcome?

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  50. Some1 :
    I some ways agree with Kovach on this one. I do not believe that the police did not know what was happening, but I can see that they had no idea how to act. What do any of you think should of been done? There are no clear guidelines for something like this. Freedom of expression is very murky in Hungary, and many members of the parliament can make anti-semitic or racist remarks without any consequence. So here is a police man (who is certainly not overpaid in Hungary, and their job is very undervalued by society) who hears anti-semitic remarks, people disrupting the event, but that is nothing new. Did they arrest anyone in Cegled because they are treating the Romas? Did they arrest the idiot who sent death threats to the Canadian Hungarian News and such? No. So, what would warrant the police to interfere? WHat would be the outcome?

    @Some1,

    At some point, these things must be addressed, no? Otherwise regardless of police pay or any other excuse, this will likely continue forever. Is this what another hungarian generation of children should be raised with? Rationalizing prejudice?

    LM

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  51. Logicmaster :

    @Some1,
    At some point, these things must be addressed, no? Otherwise regardless of police pay or any other excuse, this will likely continue forever. Is this what another hungarian generation of children should be raised with? Rationalizing prejudice?
    LM

    Absolutely should be addressed. I am only questioning that without proper “guidelines” in place what could the police have done? There was no violence. I am not sure what do you think the police should of done. Can you please let me know.

    The police should of received proper orders from the government for different scenarios. THis was obviously not the case. THe police was out in case violence, etc….
    I do not understand why will it help if we shift the government’s responsibility over to low wage earning police members. Orban and his gang does zero about the situation they have created, and now we will start to blame the members of the police because a large group of anti-semite, neo-nazi tugs are and verbally assaulting a whole nation, and throw anti-semitic remarks. The government simply closes its eyes, sends out mixed messages, and the poor policeman wants to keep his darned job, so they do not get involved. I do not blame them, I blame those who supposed to clearly spell out to the policemen what they should do.

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  52. London Calling!

    What should the police have done?

    Simple. What we do in England.

    First and foremost intelligence. Organisations like these (illegal) fascists are infiltrated my the police. They cultivate an insider and have a keen knowledge of the ‘mentality’ and psyche of the brute.

    More importantly they know what is going to happen at the next event – and can draw up plans in advance.

    Importantly too the police recognise that individuals and organisations have a right to protest and march (but not illegal organisations – they would be prevented by mass arrests and, if necessary, a mass presence to protect the minority if they embarked on an illegal march).

    They would ensure that separate factions are kept well apart (for which they have plenty of experience with fighting factions at football matches) and that they are kept well away from, for example, ethnic minorities. These would be ostentatiously protected.

    The whole event would be filmed with police video operators for possible evidence for prosecutions – and this psychologically puts everyone on notice.

    If necessary the whole crowd will be ‘kettled’ if things appear to be getting out of hand – the demonstrators would be ‘contained’ and managed until everyone gets bored.

    Yes I know the ‘intelligence’ aspect smacks of ‘communism’ and concomitant surveillance in which Hungarians are well versed. But many feel this is legitimate force in such circumstances. And everything is done with transparency. If the police don’t act with ‘reasonable and necessary force’ they will cop it in subsequent enquiries.

    And yes sometimes the police get the balance wrong – but violence and confrontation are controlled and in the main prevented. And they are still refining their techniques.

    Apart from the fact that the Hungarian-Thug-Type-Marches wouldn’t have been allowed in the first place – the police here spare no resource to protect those that need to be protected – and control those who need controlling.

    And yes – it is very expensive. But we recognise that democracy would otherwise be the first victim.

    So in essence: Societal awareness – and necessary police control.

    Both are absent at the moment in Hungary.

    Regards

    Charlie

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  53. It wouldn’t have taken a rocket scientist to predict that any sports event featuring Israel in the present climate was high risk. Warning notices handed out with tickets and cops with visible cameras facing the crowd would have been a good start.

    But that presupposes the State, the Hungarian football authorities and indeed the “normal” supporter cares about one iota about anti-semitism as an inherent evil in itself rather than an “inherent” evil only once the Jerusalem Post gets to hear about it

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    1. Regardless of locality, soccer stadia seem to be the place to publicly express feelings of intolerance, as was the case in the Hungary-Israel match. Such incidences are widely used at country bashing even though there is no evidence that those feelings may be widely shared.
      On January 31, the New York Times published an article titled “Some Fear a Soccer Team’s Racist Fans Hold a Mirror up to Israel.” Obviously hatred of the “other” is practiced even where one least expects it.

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  54. Tomorrow night the Hungary v Romania match will be played behind closed doors with FIFA punishing the Hungarian FA for the anti-semitic bigotry mentioned in the post.

    Unbelievably they (the city government? the Dear Shepherd himself?) have decided to put up large screens to broadcast the game on Felvonulasi Ter. Unbelievable because now there will be 5-10,000 drunk ultra-nats collected in one place where it will be impossible to police them, a place which is 10 minutes stroll away from the Romanian embassy and literally on the border of one of the most highly Roma populated districts in the city.

    It’s almost as if Orban is goading his football hoolie stormtroopers into causing mayhem, a disaster in the making.

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  55. oneill :
    Tomorrow night the Hungary v Romania match will be played behind closed doors with FIFA punishing the Hungarian FA for the anti-semitic bigotry mentioned in the post.
    Unbelievably they (the city government? the Dear Shepherd himself?) have decided to put up large screens to broadcast the game on Felvonulasi Ter. Unbelievable because now there will be 5-10,000 drunk ultra-nats collected in one place where it will be impossible to police them, a place which is 10 minutes stroll away from the Romanian embassy and literally on the border of one of the most highly Roma populated districts in the city.
    It’s almost as if Orban is goading his football hoolie stormtroopers into causing mayhem, a disaster in the making.

    I wonder if they will proceed. There will be a strong wind and it is expected to be minus 5 tomorrow night.

    http://www.met.hu/idojaras/elorejelzes/

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  56. oneill :
    Tomorrow night the Hungary v Romania match will be played behind closed doors with FIFA punishing the Hungarian FA for the anti-semitic bigotry mentioned in the post.
    Unbelievably they (the city government? the Dear Shepherd himself?) have decided to put up large screens to broadcast the game on Felvonulasi Ter. Unbelievable because now there will be 5-10,000 drunk ultra-nats collected in one place where it will be impossible to police them, a place which is 10 minutes stroll away from the Romanian embassy and literally on the border of one of the most highly Roma populated districts in the city.
    It’s almost as if Orban is goading his football hoolie stormtroopers into causing mayhem, a disaster in the making.

    I can only hope that Orban will be sitting in the crowd, and have fun. Felvonulasi Ter will bring back nice memories of May 1st to the Dear Leader. He would be able to mingle with crowd and enjoy what the game have to offer on the ground. How many policeman will be present I wonder? Will they sell beer, sausage and langos too?

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