Tag Archives: George Soros

Viktor Orbán on homo brusselicus and the power of the dark side

I found it strange that the three German-language articles I read on Viktor Orbán’s speech, delivered on the anniversary of the 1956 revolution, called it “scandalous” when, for those of us who are familiar with the Hungarian prime minister’s diatribes, it was nothing out of the ordinary. The German edition of Huffington Post considered the speech too much even from a destructive populist like Viktor Orbán. All three reports concentrated on Orbán’s description of the Visegrád 4 countries as a “migrant-free zone.” All noted that, although George Soros’s name was not mentioned, there were dark references to a “speculative financial empire” that is responsible for Europe’s “invasion” by migrants. You may have noticed that none of these reports had anything to say about the occasion for Orbán’s speech, the Hungarian Revolution of 1956. It was not an oversight on the part of the reporters because this speech was a campaign speech, pure and simple, and had almost nothing to do with 1956.

Those people who watched the great man’s oration on state television saw that, despite the pouring rain, a large crowd had assembled. A relative of mine sadly reported on this. I immediately set her straight. First of all, the crowd, according to the best estimates, was small, but the state TV camera crew made sure that on the screen it would look much larger than it was in reality. The official estimate was 10,000 people, but independent sources were talking about 3,000-4,000. And even if we believe the government’s figures, most of these people were transported by 30-40 or perhaps even more buses from the countryside and were most likely paid for their trouble. Many of the buses belong to sports clubs, including naturally the Puskás Academy of Felcsút. Therefore, I perfectly understand why a DK politician wants to investigate whether any money from the so-called TAO-program, which is a tax program corporations can take advantage of if they support certain kinds of sports, actually went to indirectly support a Fidesz campaign rally.

I assume that the organizers from the start were worried about attendance. That’s why the event was staged at the House of Terror on Andrássy út, which offers a relatively small area for an admiring crowd. I also assume that because of the bad weather, without these most likely paid Fidesz supporters the whole event would have been washed out.

But it would be unfair to say that in that crowd there were no true believers who were there just to be close to the great man. You and I might find such devotion odd, but, as the reporter of 24.hu who was present pointed out, most of the people weren’t really interested in the other participants, including Mária Schmidt, the “1956 expert,” but wanted to hear what Orbán had to say about current politics, “the oppression by Brussels,” and “the threat of globalization.” And 24.hu picked up a story from the website of Pázmánd, a village of 2,000, where an 86-year-old man so desperately wanted to see his favorite prime minister that he turned to town hall for help when he discovered that his TV set had given up the ghost. The mayor was most obliging. She lent him a tablet.

Was there anything new in the speech? Not much. Many of the old clichés about the freedom-loving Hungarian people were repeated, and the few words Orbán spent on 1956 were full of assumptions about the motivations of those who rose up against the Stalinist Hungarian regime. He put himself in the place of the freedom fighters as well as foreign observers. The former rose up because they realized that if they don’t strike now the thousand-year-old Hungary will be lost forever. As for the latter, they may have admired the Hungarian revolution, but they didn’t really understand it. In my opinion, Orbán is wrong on both counts.

I should also note that a lot of analysts were outraged when they discovered that the totally discredited László Dózsa was listed as one of the heroes of the revolution, together with Imre Nagy, Gergely Pongrátz, József Mindszenty, Péter Mansfeld, Mária Wittner, and János Szabó. It is a strange list, but at least the other “heroes” actually had a role to play in 1956. László Dózsa is a fake. Those of you who don’t remember the story of this inveterate liar should read my post on him. Those who know Hungarian should take a look at 444.hu’s “summary in one sentence” of the lies this man has concocted over the years. Mária Schmidt, despite clear indications that the man is not who he claims to be, refused to admit that her “research team” had made a mistake. He is not the boy who appeared in Life magazine, who was clearly identified as Pál Pruck. Viktor Orbán doesn’t care. He doesn’t give a hoot about what historians of 1956 say. He will stand by Mária Schmidt and the false history she has propagated. It is especially disgusting in view of the fact that a suit brought against Mária Schmidt’s foundation by the Pruck family is still being litigated.

The only novelty of the speech was that Viktor Orbán refrained from mentioning George Soros’s name, but it wasn’t necessary since he had plenty to say about “financial empires” which are “without borders” but which have “media all over the world” and at least “ten thousand paid agents.” They don’t have “fixed structures,” but they have “a widespread network.” Hungary is at a turning point, just as it was in 1990 when the question was “whether we will be transformed into “homo Sovieticus.” Now there is a danger of becoming “homo Brusselicus.”

A lot was made of Viktor Orbán trying to sound hip by making a reference to Star Wars, or to be more precise to Episode VI (1983) of the series, “Return of the Jedi.” Here Darth Vader says to Luke, “You underestimate the power of the Dark Side.” As Star War buffs pointed out, Orbán’s reference is not quite accurate when he warns his people “never to underestimate the power of the dark side.” But younger journalists found it interesting that Orbán turned to Star Wars as inspiration. Perhaps he is trying to speak to the younger generation, which at the moment is not exactly enthusiastic about Viktor Orbán’s messages. I very much doubt that the “dark side” reference will send them to Fidesz in droves.

Orbán’s admirers will find this speech as brilliant as all the others while his critics don’t even bother to comment on his usual clichés and spend time only on trying to ascertain what he could possibly mean by “homo Brusselicus” and what he wants to achieve by quoting Star Wars.

October 24, 2017

The Orbán government is dragging its feet on the issue of Central European University

Over the last few months I have received several letters from readers of Hungarian Spectrum, wanting to know more about the status of Central European University, an English-language graduate school founded by George Soros, the bogeyman of the Orbán government. Unfortunately, I was unable to give any update on the fate of CEU because not much happened from May to late September.

Between February and May 2017 I devoted seven posts to the Hungarian government’s efforts to get rid of Central European University. It seemed that the decision to launch a frontal attack against the university was reached sometime after the surprise victory of Donald Trump, which promised, at least as far as Viktor Orbán was concerned, amicable relations between the new Republican administration and the illiberal state of Hungary. Viktor Orbán most likely thought that the new Republican president would be only too happy to assist him in getting rid of the university that was established by George Soros, a well-known supporter of his opponent, Hillary Clinton.

Well, it didn’t turn out that way. Viktor Orbán managed to get himself and Hungary into a big mess. The new White House was not willing to turn against a well-known university, so the Orbán government had to save face somehow. This process has taken months. The first bitter pill the Hungarian government had to swallow was that there was no way to “negotiate” with the American federal government about the fate of CEU, on which the Orbán government insisted. By the end of June the Hungarian government realized that there was no way out. They would have to negotiate with New York State’s Democratic governor, Andrew Cuomo.

By the end of September the hurdle of establishing an American campus of Central European University was surmounted through an agreement with Bard College, located in New York State. Bard is well known for its close ties with Hungary and Hungarian causes in general. For example, it volunteered to receive 325 Hungarian refugee students in 1956-1957, who spent nine weeks on its campus. The fiftieth anniversary of this event was celebrated in 2007, and many of these former students returned to the college to remember the time they spent there. In recent years, many Hungarian youngsters have received Hungarian Heritage scholarships to attend Bard College. And yes, George Soros has made sizable donations to the college.

Thus, an arrangement between these two institutions was an obvious answer to Hungary’s insistence on the physical presence of CEU on U.S. soil. Yet the government was silent until a few days ago, when László Trócsányi staged an “extraordinary press conference.” He announced an amendment to the law on higher education. The modification consists of a one-year extension of the deadline for CEU to come into full compliance, from January 1, 2018 to January 1, 2019.

Below is the university’s reaction to this latest “modification” of the law.

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Dear Members of the CEU Community,

CEU welcomes any initiative that reduces uncertainty, but the Minister of Justice’s proposed extension of the deadline prolongs the uncertainty while walking away from a solution that lies at hand.

An agreement between the State of New York and the Government of Hungary guaranteeing CEU’s existence is ready for signature. Resolution of this matter is now up to the government. The government can simply sign the agreement it has already negotiated.

In line with the agreement, CEU has signed an MOU with Bard College to undertake ‘educational activities’ in the State of New York. We have already initiated a program registered with the New York State Board of Education that should be operational within weeks. Thus there exists no obstacle to an agreement bringing this whole episode to a conclusion.

Hungary has already signed an agreement with the State of Maryland in respect of McDaniel College. Failure to sign an agreement with the State of New York in relation to CEU can only be perceived as discriminatory.

Extending the deadline and failing to sign the agreement are a step backward. CEU wants to move forward. CEU calls on the Government of Hungary to sign the New York-Hungary agreement without delay and re-affirms its commitment to fulfill all obligations, defend its freedom and continue its presence as a respected member of Hungarian and international academic life.

Michael Ignatieff, CEU President and Rector

Liviu Matei, CEU Provost and Pro-Rector

October 15, 2017

The latest opinion polls on the chances of the opposition parties

First, before getting into the polls, a short “public service announcement.” Arcanum Adatbázis Kft. will hold an “open day” tomorrow (October 13). Arcanum has been digitalizing an enormous number of documents, periodicals, newspapers, and books over the past few years. A certain amount of their digitalized material is available at no cost, including such gems as Maria Theresa’s 1767 Urbarium, which genealogy buffs will find especially useful, but for full access you must pay a monthly fee. If you visit Arcanum’s table of contents (https://adtplus.arcanum.hu/hu/) you will find an amazing amount of material. So I urge everybody to make a quick trip today and look around. Tomorrow everybody will be able to browse Arcanum’s rich depository of material.

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Two new polls have been published recently. The first was conducted by Publicus Research, which was specifically interested in voters’ reaction to László Botka’s withdrawal as MSZP’s candidate for the post of prime minister. To my surprise, 43% of the respondents didn’t think that Botka’s disappearance from the scene made an appreciable difference in the electoral chances of the parties on the left. My surprise was based on the following considerations. First, those who disapproved of Botka’s handling of the negotiations with the other left-opposition parties should think that his retirement would enhance the likelihood of a united front, which, at least in theory, should boost the chances of the socialist-liberal side. On the other hand, those who saw in Botka a strong leader who could give a face to a unified opposition should be disappointed and consider the chances of the opposition diminished. Yet, it mattered not whether the respondent was a Fidesz, a Jobbik, or an MSZP voter; they all agreed that Botka’s presence in the campaign was neither here nor there. I think this outcome is a sad commentary on Botka’s eight-month non-campaign.

The amazing finding is that, despite the fact that 66% of the respondents thought that Botka’s withdrawal from the race shows the chaos that exists among the left-opposition parties, 44% still think that with hard work and readiness to compromise the left-opposition could win, as opposed to 49% who think that, no matter what, they couldn’t win. Moreover, over 60% said that Botka’s resignation was not too late; there is, they believe, still time to find a suitable and successful replacement.

As for the likelihood of victory over Fidesz at the next election, the respondents were divided, depending on party preference. Over 83% of Fidesz voters are convinced that their party will easily win next year, while MSZP voters are even more sure (89%) that there will be a change of government in 2018. Interestingly enough, Jobbik voters are much more cautious in their predictions. The majority (58%) are optimistic, but there is a large minority (42%) who fear that Fidesz will remain in power.

When Publicus Research asked the respondents about their willingness to vote for the left-opposition, there were only a couple of surprises. Clearly, Fidesz supporters are not contemplating voting for such an opposition group. However, it was somewhat of a shock that 53% of Jobbik voters would be willing to vote for the left-opposition. I suspect that the question wasn’t clear enough: “How likely would you be to vote for a left-wing joint force (együttműködés) at the 2018 election?” There is only one situation in which such a decision would make sense: if a Jobbik voter was confronted with a situation in which no Jobbik candidate was on the ballot in his electoral district.

Otherwise, Publicus, along with many other pollsters, maintains that the majority (56%) of the electorate would like to see a change of government. Over 90% of MSZP, DK, LMP, Párbeszéd, Együtt, and Jobbik voters want Viktor Orbán and his minions to be replaced, and what is encouraging is that 56% of undecided voters want the same. Considering the consensus view that undecided voters hold the key to electoral success, that level of desire for a change of government must be heartening to the opposition.

The second poll, by Medián, was released today. The data was gathered in the second half of September, before the withdrawal of László Botka. The goal was to find answers to the question of the electorate’s desire for collaboration among the opposition parties. This time only possible voters for opposition parties took part in the survey. Here again there are some surprises. Perhaps the most intriguing result is that 33% of anti-Fidesz voters claim that they prefer each party to run alone. This, given the present electoral system, would be suicidal for the opposition parties, and again I’m not sure whether the respondents really understood the question properly. They may have thought of separate party lists, especially since there was an alternative that talked about a common list that included all the opposition parties minus Jobbik. The other surprise is the relatively large number (33%) of those who want complete cooperation, which would include Jobbik. When Medián broke the answers down by party preferences, it turned out that 43% of MSZP, almost 50% of DK voters, and 34% of the undecided ones are willing to include Jobbik in a joint venture against Fidesz. Obviously, the desire to get rid of Orbán and his corrupt and undemocratic government overrides any other consideration. Although the leadership of LMP has been championing for years to face the election on its own, the party’s voters are not entirely convinced. LMP voters are almost evenly split on the issue.

Finally, let me lighten your day with a Jobbik stunt concerning the government’s campaign against George Soros. I think I wrote earlier that Bernadett Szél asked for a copy of the Soros Plan, which naturally the government was unable to provide. Jobbik did better than that. It filed charges against George Soros with Károly Papp, the chief of police. The charges are: (1) preparation for a violent change of the constitutional order, (2) conspiracy against the constitutional order, (3) destruction, (4) treason, and (5) rebellion. As support for the charges they cited claims by Bence Tuzson, undersecretary responsible for communication, György Bakondi, chief adviser on domestic security, János Halász, Fidesz spokesman, Szilárd Németh, deputy chairman of the parliamentary committee on security, András Aradszki, who called Soros Satan, Gyula Budai, Fidesz member of parliament, Zoltán Kovács, government spokesman, and Csaba Fodor, managing director of Nézőpont, a Fidesz political think tank. Ádám Mirkóczki, Jobbik spokesman, said that if Soros is guilty of all the things Fidesz and government spokesmen accuse him of, he should be arrested and charged. I’m sure that Károly Papp will not find the Jobbik antic funny.

October 12, 2017

Freemasons, Satanic forces, the Soros Plan, and the kitchen sink

This morning I was listening off and on to a call-in program on Klub Rádió in which a man phoned in, asking a sensible question. What financial benefits does George Soros reap from settling millions of migrants in Europe? He complained that no one in the opposition asks this very simple question, when such an inquiry could unveil the total absurdity of the government’s charges against Soros. Clearly, no one could possibly give a rational explanation for how Soros would benefit financially from the millions of migrants he allegedly wants to settle in Europe.

The caller was right. Some obvious questions are never asked of Fidesz politicians, although I have to admit that even the best questions can be sidestepped or simply left unanswered. And that takes me to a lecture Tibor Navracsics, European commissioner for education, culture, youth and sport, gave Saturday on the future of Europe. From the media coverage of the event it seems that Navracsics is a supporter of the vision Jean-Claude Juncker outlined a few weeks ago of a closely-knit European Union, which many of my readers found far too optimistic and most likely unattainable. As he should, Navracsics refrained from talking about Hungarian domestic politics, but he did answer a question concerning the “Soros Plan.” Navracsics assured his audience that no such plan is on the agenda of the European Commission. About a month ago he called it merely campaign rhetoric. But today, when Ildikó Csuhaj of ATV confronted Viktor Orbán with Navracsics’s denial of the existence of the Soros Plan, the prime minister summarily announced that he is right and Navracsics is wrong. End of discussion. Another good example of the primitive games the Orbán government is playing is its answer to the tongue-in-cheek request by Bernadett Szél for a copy of the “Soros Plan.” She was instructed to go to the national consultation questionnaire where, in the infoboxes, she will find all the information she needs.

Viktor Orbán may have cut short the discussion on the existence of the Soros Plan and the European Commission’s adoption of it, but Navracsics’s denial of an essential part of the election campaign must have irritated him to no end. He sent his deputy, Zsolt Semjén, after him. Semjén is not known for his brains, as you will see from the way he took on Navracsics in an interview on an early Sunday morning Kossuth Rádió program. Five years ago HVG was alerted to the possibility that about 40% of Semjén’s doctoral dissertation was plagiarized. If you want to know more about the case, read my post “Deputy Prime Minister Zsolt Semjén, the modern St. Sebastian.” Semjén’s modest intellectual prowess was painfully obvious in this interview. After repeating the accusation that “George Soros holds in his hand and pocket the world of which Navracsics’s work is a part,” he decided to demonstrate his knowledge of history and philosophy, which in Semjén’s case usually results in hair-raising absurdities. In his view, the reason for the current “migrant crisis” is, believe it or not, the ideas of Freemasonry, which have gone through several mutations like Jacobinism, Bolshevism, and finally “Soros’s extreme liberal thing,” which hates Christian traditions and nation states. Soros’s philosophy wants “to abolish” them. The world according to Soros would be a United States of Europe led by bureaucrats who “would pass power over to NGOs,” whatever that means. Of course, all this is utter nonsense. I got a real kick out of Semjén’s claim that “Hungarian culture defines itself against Islam as the shield of Christian Europe.” Hungarian culture is really going up in the world. I should add that several people believed that Semjén expressed anti-Semitic sentiments in this interview. It reminded Viktor Szigetvári of Együtt of the “hateful, anti-Semitic talk of the 1930s.” Éva Hajnal of Amerikai Népszava asked, “Why doesn’t Semjén finally say that it is the Jews?”

Zsolt Semjén is an admiring and loyal servant of Viktor Orbán

I left the best to last. A KDNP member of parliament, András Aradszki, who is also undersecretary in charge of matters related to energy in the ministry of national development, had a few startling “revelations” about George Soros. Aradszki spent most of his adult life working as a counselor to MOL. He is a devout Catholic who joined the Christian Democratic People’s Party at the earliest possible moment, in 1990. Otherwise, he doesn’t seem to have any experience in public speaking because he could barely read the text of his parliamentary address, titled “The Christian duty to fight against the Satan/Soros Plan.” I will not go through the nonsense this man put together line by line because an excellent English rendition of the speech is available on YouTube.

It is also available in the original Hungarian.

Here I will only pick a few bones with Aradszki. I was so fascinated by his claim that, according to the Three Secrets of Fátima, Satan’s greatest and final attack against the Church will be the attack against families that I decided to read up on the subject. I personally don’t believe in the apocalyptic visions and prophecies given by the Virgin Mary to three young Portuguese shepherds. But at least Aradszki should have stuck with the real version of the three secrets: World War I, World War II, and the twentieth-century persecution of Christians. Not a word about an attack on families. I also wonder whether Aradszki knows anything about “forced politicization of gender theory.” I very much doubt it. Aradszki’s text at places is horribly muddled, but I was struck by his claim that Lucifer tricks people “with deceptive catch-phrases about humane treatment and love for one’s neighbor by lecturing the Church.” Aradszki is obviously trying to deflect criticism of the Hungarian Catholic Church for failing to practice their Christian duty, but he doesn’t offer any proof of the humane treatment of the refugees by the clergy. In fact, if you read the text carefully, he defends their behavior by calling the Soros Plan “a sin against man” which is also “a sin against God,” and therefore it is justifiable to resist any humanitarian impulses.

What is Aradszki’s remedy for the Satan-Soros Plan? First and foremost, Hungarians should fill out the national consultation questionnaire. This act will also give them an opportunity to make their opinions known about what “we think of our homeland’s thousand-year-old history, our national sovereignty, our freedom, our beloved Europe.” In addition, Aradszki has another weapon against Soros. As “Popes John Paul II and Benedict and other exorcists” believed, “the rosary is the strongest weapon against evil, and it is capable of changing history.” I am flabbergasted.

The question is whether this incredible performance was approved by the leader of the KDNP delegation. Unfortunately, I have only a vague recollection that approval by the whip is a prerequisite, but I will inquire from people who have parliamentary experience. Péter Harrach, the head of the KDNP delegation, called Aradszki’s views on the Soros Plan “a religious approach” that is his privilege to express. “This is what he thinks, but this is not a political message.” It is hard to know what Harrach means by this mysterious sentence. I assume he’s trying to distance KDNP from Aradszki’s speech. In any case, “the leader of the delegation is not competent either to criticize or to penalize a member’s private opinion,” claims Harrach. A friend called my attention to the fact that, with the exception of this brief response by Harrach in Magyar Idők, no government media outlet said a word about this mad speech in parliament. Perhaps even they decided that it was too much.

October 9, 2017

Viktor Orbán rails against the European Commission’s “reasoned opinions”

This morning Viktor Orbán delivered one of his most ferocious attacks on the “Brussels bureaucrats.” He usually relegates this kind of conduct to his minions. He himself tries to maintain the level of decorum fit for a “serious” politician of a “serious country,” as he called Hungary and its government in the midst of his rant.

It is hard to tell whether Viktor Orbán was really as upset as he sounded in this interview on state radio or whether it was feigned indignation, preparing the ground for a meeting initiated by Jean-Claude Juncker with the Visegrád 4 countries. I suspect it was the former. I think he meant every word of his harangue, and I am almost certain that this strident attitude of the Hungarian officials led by Viktor Orbán himself will only be magnified in the coming months.

The immediate cause of Orbán’s outburst was the European Commission’s latest “reasoned opinion,” which Hungary received two days ago. In June the Orbán government passed a law on the status of foreign-funded non-governmental organizations that the European Commission considered to be in violation of the right of freedom of association and the protection of private life and personal data, which are safeguarded by the European Union’s Charter of Fundamental Rights. The law was, they argued, also a breach of the principle of free movement of capital. In July the Commission initiated an infringement procedure, to which the Hungarian government had three months to respond. If the response was unsatisfactory, the Commission would take the next step in this legal process, issuing a “reasoned opinion.” It was this “reasoned opinion” that reached Viktor Orbán’s desk with the message that “if Hungary fails to reply satisfactorily to the reasoned opinion, then the Commission may refer the case to the Court of Justice of the EU.” In July Hungary also received a reasoned opinion on the higher education law, which disproportionately restricts EU and non-EU universities in their operations.

On October 2 Jean-Claude Juncker invited the prime ministers of the Visegrád 4 countries to a dinner on October 18, which was labelled a “conciliatory” one. But Viktor Orbán, judging from this interview, is girding himself for battle, or at least he is very skeptical that Juncker can offer them anything that will be satisfactory. In any case, Orbán, in his current frame of mind, is not ready for any kind of conciliation. In fact, he has a profound contempt for the whole institution and its politicians, and he finds the European Commission’s legal pronouncements unworthy of serious consideration.

First of all, these two infringement procedures “have nothing to do with the Charter of Fundamental Rights or the European Constitution.” They “smell of politics even from far away.” The opinions issued are “the objects of general derision everywhere in Europe. A sensible lawyer wouldn’t even touch it…. It is clear that this document is the result of a political diktat… A lawyer—how shall I say—can’t even talk about it in all seriousness and without laughing. This is so ridiculous that one doesn’t even know what to do with it…. Perhaps the most ridiculous argument is about the free movement of capital. What does a donation have to do with the free movement of capital? These are ridiculous things…. If we accepted them, we would become laughing stocks. This is a serious country which even after a month of deliberation cannot say more than that this whole thing is ridiculous. Therefore, the case will end up in court.“ Orbán’s conclusion is that “the people like the European Union but they can’t stand its leadership.”

Viktor Orbán’s attitude toward European Union politicians and administrators is well illustrated by his story about the European Parliament’s delegation that visited Hungary about a week ago to assess some EU-funded projects. During the course of their visit members of the delegation went to see one of Orbán’s pet projects, the narrow-gauged train built in Felcsút, the village where he spent his first 14 years. The delegation found everything in perfect order. Why did they come in the first place?, Orbán asked. Because “they must occupy themselves with something while we are defending Europe instead of them.” These no-good MEPs attack the valiant Hungarians whose soldiers and policemen defend Europe. But he doesn’t give a fig.

After this diatribe he moved on to the Soros network and the Soros “plan,” introducing some new elements and twists. One is that his government was the one that “accomplished a very important task. It uncovered “the network of George Soros which until now had been hidden.” He declared that Fidesz politicians will daily prove the connection between the European Parliament’s committee that is investigating the Hungarian government’s undemocratic ways, which may lead to the triggering of Article 7 of the Treaty of the European Union, and George Soros. Because all the members of the committee are Soros’s men. “They are his allies who eat out of his hand.” The report they write will reflect Soros’s conclusions. The cards are stacked against Hungary. The Soros “plan” works.

Orbán came up with an entirely new interpretation of the origin of the Soros “plan.” In his opinion, it was a direct answer to his own plan, which he submitted to the European Union as a solution to the migration crisis. Although it is not entirely clear, I suspect he is talking about Soros’s 2016 essay “This is Europe’s last chance to fix its refugee policy.” Orbán recalled that he had published a comprehensive plan at the height of the crisis, which consisted of several points outlining “how Europe should be defended, offering some solutions.” At this very moment, “as an answer,” Soros made public another plan that had several points just like his. Instead of his own ideas, it was this Soros “plan” that was adopted by the European Union. Brussels will deny this, but it is time to let the bureaucrats know that “Hungary is not a country of imbeciles.” They know what’s going on. The EU politicians cannot pretend that all this is just a coincidence. Hungarians “are not simpletons.” On the contrary. They know that “George Soros bought people, organizations … and that Brussels is under his influence. As far as immigration policy goes, the Brussels machinery is carrying out Soros’s plan. They want to dismantle the fence; they want to bring in millions of immigrants; and they want to forcibly disperse them among the member states. And they want to punish those who don’t submit.”

Orbán apparently “smiled mysteriously” when the reporter referred to the “friendly dinner” the Visegrád 4 countries will have with Jean-Claude Juncker. He indicated that he is not sure the meeting will be all that friendly. Of course, we know that Viktor Orbán behaves differently in Budapest and in Brussels. Perhaps today’s tiger will be a bunny rabbit by October 18.

October 6, 2017

The truth about the so-called Soros Plan

While journalists in Hungary are busily trying to find out what led to Botka’s resignation and analysts are coming up with all sorts of theories about the collapse of the Hungarian Socialist Party, I am returning to the Soros Plan. Yesterday and today a vigorous discussion took place on Hungarian Spectrum about the way in which the Orbán government is using and misusing George Soros’s writings and interviews for its own political purposes.

Professor Joseph Forgas, while finding the national consultation “a dishonest, misleading and outrageous party political propaganda campaign,” considers “George Soros’s opinion pieces … unfortunate and ill-judged.” In his opinion, Soros as a private citizen is entitled to air his views, but “his specific advice to the EU about what it should do about the migration crisis was rather ill considered.” In liberal circles “there is a tendency to adopt a stance of moral posturing and high-handed prescriptions that ignore the pragmatic and political realities of the situation.” Soros, he believes, is no exception.

There may be a great deal of truth in that criticism, and perhaps it was ill-advised of Soros to offer his thoughts on the subject. But as we all know, George Soros likes to comment on world affairs, and he certainly has every right to do so. All of us who live in democratic societies can do the same. The difference is that when George Soros offers his thoughts, newspapers all over the world will discuss the pros and cons of his message. For instance, Soros’s opinions on the state of the economy during the financial crisis made headlines for weeks. This is who he is. A kind of missionary, especially when it comes to his cherished concept of the “Open Society.”

The Soros Plan–Don’t let it happen without a word

Although people can criticize his ideas and argue for or against them, what the Orbán government did was to misconstrue and distort his ideas and falsify his texts. I assume readers noted that all the Soros quotations came from his first essay, “Rebuilding the Asylum System,” which appeared in 2015. There was not a word about or from the second essay, in which he espoused some ideas that were very close to those Orbán suggested at the time.

Here are some thoughts, point by point, on the texts.

According to Statement 1, “George Soros wants to persuade Brussels to resettle at least one million immigrants from Africa and the Middle East onto the territory of the European Union, including Hungary.” This number does appear in the 2015 essay, but Soros didn’t want to persuade or force the EU to take that many immigrants. He simply expected that many to arrive, and he turned out to be correct. A year later, however, when he was discussing regulated immigration, he talked about 300,000 immigrants per year as a number that could still be handled.

According to Statement 2, “George Soros, together with the officials in Brussels, also wants to achieve the dismantlement of the fences and the opening of borders to the migrants.” In the Infobox the Orbán government claims that “as the billionaire put it, ‘the goal of our plan is the protection of the refugees and national borders are barriers’.” Unfortunately, since I am not a “professional service subscriber” to Bloomberg News, I was unable to check in what context this sentence appeared in the article. Yes, Soros does believe that Europe needs the infusion of immigrants to offset the poor demographics of the continent, but it is not true that he wants to weaken border defenses. In fact, the opposite is true. As for taking down Orbán’s fence, this is most likely the figment of the imagination of the compiler of the questionnaire.

According to Statement 3, “One part of the Soros Plan is the compulsory distribution by Brussels of immigrants who conglomerated in Western Europe, especially in respect to the East European countries. Hungary would have to take part in this.” In the Infobox, the questionnaire quotes a sentence from an article written by Soros in July 2015, warning that if the distribution of immigrants does not “become permanent and mandatory features of a common EU asylum system, it will fall apart.” But a month later, in an article titled “Rebuilding the Asylum System,” he says the following: “It is equally important to allow both states and asylum-seekers to express their preferences, using the least possible coercion. Placing refugees where they want to go – and where they are wanted – is a sine qua non of success.” It is easy to cherry pick quotations from Soros over time that can show him in an unfavorable light from the perspective of the xenophobic Hungarian population.

Statement 4 claims that “according to the Soros Plan, Brussels should force all EU Member States, including Hungary, to pay each immigrant HUF 9 million in welfare payments.” This is an outright lie. In fact, Soros in the same article I just quoted in connection with Question 3 says exactly the opposite. “Adequate financing is critical. The EU should provide €15,000 ($16,800) per asylum-seeker for each of the first two years to help cover housing, health care, and education costs—and to make accepting refugees more appealing to member states.” This cannot be clearer. It would be Hungary that would receive this subsidy for every refugee it takes. The information provided in the Infobox about raising taxes on gasoline and tourism is correct, but Soros never said a thing about VAT.

According to Statement 5, “Another goal of George Soros is to make sure that migrants receive milder sentences for crimes they commit.” There is a reference in the Infobox to Amnesty International, which “repeatedly demanded the release of Ahmed H.” You may recall that Ahmed H. received a ten-year jail sentence for throwing a couple of rocks toward the Hungarian police, which likely didn’t do any harm to anyone. As is clear from the statement of the organization, Amnesty International never demanded the release of Ahmed H. but simply argued for a review of the sentence. The organization also never demanded damages from the Hungarian government. TASZ, Hungary’s Civil Liberties Union, another Soros-funded organization, handled his defense. An able Hungarian lawyer argued his appeal, which resulted in the annulment of the lower court’s decision. Ahmed H. is still in jail awaiting trial.

According to Statement 6, “The aim of the Soros Plan is to de-emphasize the languages and cultures of the European countries in order to achieve faster integration of the illegal immigrants.” This sentence simply doesn’t make sense. Why would the weakening of native languages and culture make the integration of newcomers easier? Integration simply means admitting people of different cultural or ethnic backgrounds to equal membership in a society. If we weakened the existing culture, we would also weaken our ability to integrate the newly arrived individuals, which includes learning and using the majority language. Although the questionnaire doesn’t contain the accusation that George Soros actually wants to turn European countries into Islamic enclaves, Fidesz politicians often talk about Soros’s strange penchant for the Islamization of Europe. When asked why it would be in the interest of Soros to purposely change the religious and cultural makeup of the European Union, the answer always is that “this is good business” for him. It makes not the slightest sense, but such things never bother Fidesz spokesmen.

According to Statement 7, “It is also part of the Soros Plan to initiate political attacks against those countries that oppose immigration and to severely punish them.” This statement is closely connected to Statement 6 and makes about the same amount of sense. What follows in the Infobox is unadulterated government propaganda. For example, “Today, George Soros is unable to bring millions of immigrants to Europe because there are governments that raise their voices against it,” or “when the Hungarian government complies with the Schengen Agreement, when it protects the borders and builds a fence, it hampers the implementation of the Soros Plan.” These political contrivances are so primitive as to be beneath contempt.

October 3, 2017

National consultation on the Soros Plan: Questions and infoboxes

On September 27 Magyar Idők, the flagship paper of the vast government media, released the text of the seven questions that will appear on the questionnaire to be distributed, to the tune of 6.5 billion forints, to approximately 8 million Hungarian citizens. The issue to which the Orbán government is seeking reactions is the so-called Soros Plan. The paper explained that this “national consultation” will be different from earlier ones because after each question there will be an “infobox” containing background information.

Source: abouthungary.hu

The background information comes largely from two essays George Soros published in 2015 and 2016 on the subject. The first one, titled “Rebuilding the Asylum System,” appeared in Project Syndicate, and the second, “This is Europe’s last chance to fix its refugee policy,” was published in Foreign Policy. These two sources are readily available. For a full appreciation of the depth of the mendacity committed by the Orbán government when compiling this “national consultation” I highly recommend taking a look at these articles.

Here you can read the complete text of the questionnaire, including the content of the infoboxes. To each point of the alleged Soros Plan the respondent will be asked whether he supports that idea.

Here is the text. The translation is my own. I tried to track down the quotations in the infoboxes, but there were a couple of instances where I couldn’t locate them in their original English version. In these cases I had to resort to translating the text from Hungarian.

  1. George Soros wants to persuade Brussels to resettle at least one million immigrants from Africa and the Middle East onto the territory of the European Union, including Hungary.
  • Infobox: Soros for years has been working to change Europe and European society. He wants to achieve his goal through the resettlement of masses of people from other civilizations. At the time of the introduction of his plan he stated that “the EU has to accept at least a million asylum-seekers annually for the foreseeable future” (Project Syndicate 2015.09.26). The European Parliament shares the same view. The organization supported resettlement programs and the creation of migration routes (2015/2342 [INI]).
  1. George Soros, together with the officials in Brussels, also wants to achieve the dismantlement of the fences and the opening of borders to the migrants.
  • Infobox: Well-guarded borders provide an effective defense against illegal immigration. It is no coincidence that one of the important goals of the Soros Plan is the dismantlement of the fences. As the billionaire put it, “the goal of our plan is the protection of the refugees and national borders are barriers” (Bloomberg Business 2015.10.30). Certain Brussels officials also attacked the closing of the borders. In June of this year, the Commissioner for Migration stated that “it is not a good solution if EU Member States erect fences at the external borders.”
  1. One part of the Soros Plan is the compulsory distribution by Brussels of immigrants who conglomerated in Western Europe, especially in respect to the East European countries. Hungary would have to take part in this.
  • Infobox: George Soros wrote the following about the distribution of immigrants: “If they do not become permanent and mandatory features of a common EU asylum system, it will fall apart” (Financial Times 2015.07.26). In 2015, a decision was taken in Brussels that, as a first step, Hungary should accept 1,294 immigrants. In 2016, the European Commission proposed the dispersion of an unlimited number of immigrants (IP/16/1620). The EU Asylum and Migration Agency, in line with the proposal of George Soros, has been weakening the national competence on immigration. Once the entry quotas are in place, Hungarians will no longer have a say about whom they will live with in the future.
  1. According to the Soros Plan, Brussels should force all EU Member States, including Hungary, to pay each immigrant HUF 9 million in welfare payments.
  • Infobox: According to Soros, significant amounts should be spent on the immigrants. “The EU should provide €15,000 ($16,800) per asylum seeker for each of the first two years to help cover housing, health care, and education costs—and to make accepting refugees more appealing to member states” (Project Syndicate 2015.09.26). According to the billionaire, this sum should be covered by taking out loans. Soros believes that in order to repay the loans taxes should be raised. The billionaire would raise VAT and taxes on gasoline and tourism. Soros also proposed, while visiting Brussels last year, that the EU should reduce the agricultural and cohesion support for the countries of Central Europe in order to solve the problem of the migration crisis.
  1. Another goal of George Soros is to make sure that migrants receive milder sentences for crimes they commit.
  • Infobox: George Soros is supporting organizations that assist immigration and defend immigrants who commit crimes. One such organization is the Helsinki Commission, which argued that “the use of serious sanctions in the case of illegal border crossing is troubling.” Another Soros organization, Amnesty International, repeatedly demanded the release of Ahmed H., who attacked Hungarian policemen guarding the border and therefore was convicted. Amnesty would want the Hungarian state to pay damages.
  1. The aim of the Soros Plan is to de-emphasize the languages and cultures of the European countries in order to achieve faster integration of the illegal immigrants.
  • Infobox: George Soros, in his book Open Society, wrote that “the decline of the authority of nation states is a welcome development.” Soros has also talked about “not abandoning our conviction that migration is good for Europe.” He called on NGOs and companies to become immigration sponsors. He also said that the continent must finally take active steps toward developing open societies. In some European countries and in multinational companies European and Christian symbols are voluntarily removed nowadays so that they do not harm the sensitivity of immigrants.
  1. It is also part of the Soros Plan to initiate political attacks against those countries that oppose immigration and to severely punish them.
  • Infobox: The main obstacles to the implementation of the Soros Plan are the governments that stand up for national independence and take measures against illegal migrants. Today, George Soros is unable to bring millions of immigrants to Europe because there are some governments that raise their voices against it. When the Hungarian government complies with the Schengen Agreement, when it protects the borders and builds a fence, it hampers the implementation of the Soros Plan. Soros and several Brussels decision-makers are therefore attacking our country. The European Commission proposes that Member States that do not participate in the resettlement program pay a fine of 78 million forints for each immigrant [they refuse] (2016/0133 COD). A Hungarian employee works decades for that amount of money.
October 1, 2017