Tag Archives: Kuruc-info

The neo-nazi kuruc.info discovered the Jewish Hungarian Spectrum

This morning I woke up to the news that Hungarian Spectrum was the subject of an article that appeared on the notorious neo-Nazi website kuruc.info. Actually, it is surprising that it took the editors that long to discover the site–or at least to deem it worthy of excoriation. After all, Hungarian Spectrum will celebrate its eighth birthday in June.

Over the years I have written about kuruc.info numerous times. In 2009 I told the story of the farcical “investigation” the Hungarian police conducted that naturally came up empty-handed. Everybody knows that kuruc.info is written and edited in Budapest, but the Hungarian national security team and the police act as if they were powerless because the site is on an American server. In fact, Viktor Orbán went so far as to blame the U.S. government for refusing to cooperate with the Hungarians’ honest efforts to eradicate this blight from the Hungarian-language landscape of the internet. I also indicated that Előd Novák, one of the most radical anti-Semites in Jobbik, is most likely behind kuruc.info.

This first piece was followed by another post titled “The hunters and the hunted: Kuruc.info’s list of anti-Hungarians,” which dealt with a blood bounty on everyone who participated in a demonstration against László Csatáry, a former police officer in charge of the Košice/Kassa Jewish ghetto in the summer of 1944. One of the participants whose name appeared on kuruc.info’s hate list filed a complaint after receiving harassing telephone calls, like one that said, “If I were you, I would take out life insurance.”

A year later a journalist from Index discovered a huge billboard advertising kuruc.info. He began investigating the case on his own. As a result, his e-mail address and telephone number ended up on the pages of kuruc.info. You can imagine what followed. His life became a living hell. Kuruc.info trolls phoned him non-stop, and his e-mail inbox was overflowing. This time around, even Tamás Deutsch (Fidesz EP MP), who happens to be Jewish, gave 72 hours to the prosecutors “to put an end to this Nazi website. No more evasion. No more on the one hand and on the other. Stand up on your hind legs and act.” Of course, nothing happened then or ever since. Clearly, it is not in the interest of Fidesz to put an end to kuruc.info.

So now Hungarian Spectrum is the target. Since many of you are unable to read kuruc.info in the original, I will try my best to share some of the highlights of this article, which is not an easy task given kuruc.info’s base style. I also decided to translate some of the sixty or so comments which, if possible, are even worse than the article itself.

"They don't like kuruc.info--Everybody else do

“They don’t like kuruc.info–Everybody else does”

Hungarian Spectrum is not the lone target of the article. Kuruc.info’s editors also find Hungarian Free Press, a Canadian website, highly objectionable. What you have to understand is that, as far as the editors of kuruc.info are concerned, everything that is wrong in this world is the fault of the Jews. Also, in their eyes there are Jews and there are Hungarians. If you are Jewish, by definition you are anti-Hungarian. And, I guess, if you are perceived to be anti-Hungarian, you must be Jewish. It is in this light that one must understand the title of the article: “Hungarian Spectrum and Hungarian Free Press: Can One Be More Jewish about Hungarians?” Yes, I know it sounds strange, but it doesn’t make much sense in Hungarian either: “Hungarian Spectrum és Hungarian Press: lehet zsidóbbul a magyarokról?”

And here are the highlights. The article begins with a description of the state of the opposition media. On Klubrádió “a Jewish reporter talks to Jews, he interviews Jews, his expert is Jewish, the man who talks about Christianity is also Jewish.” However, “only a few of us know anything about those who dare to put the adjective ‘Hungarian’ in the name of their websites.” Clearly, they are also Jewish.

The author placed Hungarian Spectrum first because it is “a very influential” website. Then came a few words about the person responsible for the content of the blog: “if there is a disgusting Jewish reptile on the face of the earth it is the sole scribbler of the blog, Eva S. Balogh.” The writer claims that “this Zhidrakova even according to her own website has not much connection to Hungary.” Zhidrakova is supposed to be a Russified version of the Hungarian word for “Jew-Jewish.”

Hungarian Spectrum’s primary subject is “naturally” anti-Semitism. “It is only after that the usual topoi come: the extreme right, the right—which are, as far as she is concerned, the same. Both remind her of Szálasi.” Her main source of information is Klubrádió, which is “as much Hungarian as a pork chop is kosher.”

There is an English-language post every day, which is applauded by her many “pure-bred followers in the thoroughly filtered comments.” The pure-breds I guess refer to Jews. She put forth “an unusually long post last Sunday, which can only be described as ‘vomit.’” The author is referring to the post titled “József Mindszenty: An inveterate anti-Semite or a national hero?” “What conclusion did she come to about the non-Jewish leader of the Hungarian Catholic Church who was tortured by the AVO, sentenced to life, who spent many years in jail? You’re right. Balogh announced her verdict: The former prince primate was an inveterate anti-Semite.”

Magyar Narancs, in which Zoltán Paksy’s interview about Mindszenty’s anti-Semitism appeared, is also called a Jewish publication. And “the fact that [Paksy] is the author of a book called Arrow-Cross Movement in Hungary, 1932-1939, tells everything about this character.” “Quoting Paksy, she [the scribbler] comes to the conclusion that Mindszenty doesn’t deserve to have the memorial center built in Zalaegerszeg.”

“This is so nauseating that we should close this review of Hungarian Spectrum, but we would like to ask quite independently from what József Mindszenty did or did not write, on what basis did Menachem Begin, prime minister of Israel, receive the Nobel Peace Prize in 1978 when he, with his terror organization Irgun, blew up the King David Hotel in 1945 where 91 persons, mostly Brits, lost their lives?”

A quick response to this article. Quite independently from its anti-Semitic discourse, it ought to be clear to anyone who read my post on Mindszenty that kuruc.info distorts the whole drift of my piece. It is also a lie that comments are “thoroughly filtered.”  I have had to resort to the drastic measure of putting someone on the black list surprisingly few times. And yes, I tolerate neither anti-Semitic talk nor obscenity of the kind found on many Hungarian sites. I’m very proud of the high-level discourse that takes place on Hungarian Spectrum day after day.

Now let’s see some of the comments.

“One should hunt these people like MOSSAD hunted the Nazis.”

“The Führer said way back that every day that the Jewish press doesn’t wage a hate campaign against him he feels that he didn’t do his duty.”

“This is how things go in the West. Every Hungarian organization is eventually taken over by a Jew.”

“I call the attention of a few well-trained Hungarian hackers to these sites.”

“When the last Jew dies (megdöglik/used for the death of an animal) world peace will arrive.”

[To someone who dared disagree with the majority] “What’s up, you Jewish bastard? How do you dare to open your mouth, you inferior worm?”

April 27, 2016

A compulsory course on the Holocaust at the Hungarian Catholic University

While the world is preoccupied with Greece and Viktor Orbán’s preparations to erect a fence along the Hungarian border with Serbia, I decided to focus today on the debate over Péter Pázmány Catholic University’s decision to introduce a compulsory course on the Holocaust. Until now there was only one compulsory course, “Introduction to the Catholic Faith,” which I understand, to put it mildly, is not taken seriously by the students. According to someone who is most likely a student at PPKE, as the university is known, “it is a joke,” a course in which everybody cheats.

President Szabolcs Szuromi and Ilan Mor at the press conference

President Szabolcs Szuromi and Ilan Mor at the press conference

On May 26 Szabolcs Szuromi, the president of PPKE, in the presence of Ilan Mor, Israeli ambassador to Hungary, held a press conference, which was disrupted by two “journalists” from Alfahír and Kurucinfo. The former is the semi-official internet site of Jobbik. Kurucinfo, the virulent anti-Semitic media outlet, needs no introduction. Both men fired all sorts of provocative questions at the president and the ambassador.

The reaction of the far right didn’t surprise anyone. They especially objected to the presence and role of Ambassador Mor and to the fact that two Israeli historians, Dina Porat and Raphael Vago, had been asked to prepare the syllabus for the course. Jobbegyenes (Straight Right) accused the Hungarian government of taking orders from the Israeli ambassador when it agreed to the removal of a sign referring to “the victims of Gaza” behind the Hungarian entrant at the Eurovision competition. Moreover, according to the author, it is not PPKE’s job to teach students about the Holocaust. They should have learned that in high school.

Zsolt Bayer’s reaction was also expected. In his opinion, there is just too much talk about the Holocaust. Practically every day there is a new book, a movie, or a theater performance. A few years ago he “thought that one couldn’t sink lower” when he read in Népszabadság that grandchildren of German war criminals, with the financial help of the European Union, had arrived in Budapest asking for forgiveness from elderly survivors. In Bayer’s opinion it was a perverse idea. The souls of these youngsters are “infected with guilt.” What is going on at PPKE is also a perversion. In fact, Bayer thinks PPKE’s decision was even worse than the grandchildren’s apology.

But there were critical remarks on the left as well. The most serious criticism came from Sándor Révész. He objected to the compulsory nature of the course and predicted that “within seconds” someone will suggest “a compulsory course on Trianon, on the communist dictatorship, on religious persecution,” and so on and so forth. In fact, Gábor Vona and Dóra Duró of Jobbik already sent a letter to the president of PPKE asking for the introduction of a course on the tragedy of Trianon.

Révész also found PPKE’s decision to introduce such a course problematic because it is a well-known fact that the Catholic Church still venerates Ottokár Prohászka (1858-1927), bishop of Székesfehérvár, who was a rabid anti-Semite and the ideological precursor of Hungarism, the Hungarian version of Nazism. Révész called attention to the fact that the Hungarian Catholic Church published a collection of Prohászka’s most savage anti-Semitic writings titled My anti-Semitism in 1942. “Is PPKE ready to reevaluate the opus of Ottokár Prohászka in connection with the Holocaust?” asked Révész.

There is criticism coming from historians as well. László Karsai, a historian who has written extensively on the Holocaust, finds it strange that two Israeli scholars were invited to prepare the syllabus when there are many Hungarians qualified to do the job. Moreover, Karsai finds the syllabus as well as the readings wanting. Some books on the reading list are of inferior quality. If he had children at PPKE, he wouldn’t advise them to take the course–not that they would have a choice. He added, however, that “it is an interesting experiment that might generate some lively discussions.”

Péter György, professor at ELTE, just announced that they themselves have been thinking about creating three one-semester courses that all students of the Faculty of Arts would have to take: the cultural history of racism, social theory, and the philosophy of science.  In the course on the cultural history of racism students would also study about the Holocaust. The members of the faculty realize, I think, that something went very wrong at the university since a large portion of the Jobbik leadership graduated from ELTE with a degree in history. Although they don’t want to meddle in the worldview of students, they believe that they should be able to fend off blind prejudice and racism. György admitted that “radicalism” is a very serious problem at ELTE and “the university has no other antidote than arming the students with the necessary knowledge.” He was very pleased when he heard about PPKE’s decision and he, unlike Révész, trusts the faculty of the university to face the past honestly.

It was Elek Tokfalvi, one of my favorite publicists, who was truly enthusiastic about the course. In his opinion, what happened in Hungary was unique in the history of the Holocaust because the Hungarian Jewish community’s destruction began after all the others’ had already ended. Therefore, studying the Hungarian Holocaust is warranted. Tokfalvi looks upon PPKE’s decision to introduce a course on the Holocaust as a “moral redemption” after decades of the undisturbed spread of anti-liberalism, anti-capitalism, ethnic superiority. “Therefore, it deserves praise.” In his opinion, other universities should follow PPKE’s example.” Perhaps it would also be beneficial to teach basic values that would “counterbalance the anti-Semitism of university graduates.” The same idea that Péter György is advocating.

One thing is certain. It s not enough to introduce a course on the Holocaust. As long as people like the economist Katalin Botos give lectures like the one available in part on YouTube, no change in attitudes can be expected.

It might also be a good idea if György Fodor, dean of the Divinity School, and others would take a more critical look at Ottokár Prohászka and the Catholic Church’s attitudes past and present concerning anti-Semitism and racism because, for the most part, the church leaders did very little, or nothing.

Fidesz, the Chief Prosecutor’s Office, and a Hungarian neo-Nazi site

The infamous neo-Nazi website Kuruc-info is in the news again. It was a year ago that I reported that Kuruc-info placed a blood bounty on everyone who participated in a flash mob demonstration at the time of the revelations about László Csatáry, a former police officer in charge of the Košice/Kassa Jewish ghetto in the summer of 1944. You may also recall that a man who lived in California at the time and who allegedly secured the American server Kuruc.info uses himself offered money to anyone who could provide information about the identity of the persons involved in the demonstration. Informers were offered 100,000 forints. Once some of the participants were identified, harassment via telephone and e-mail began. One of these messages read: “If I were you, I would take out life insurance.”

Eszter Garai-Édler, one of the organizers, filed a complaint on September 9, 2012 in connection with the case. After she was called in as a witness on January 18, 2013, the district prosecutor’s office ended its investigation. Garai-Édler filed another complaint, after which the case was reopened only to end on October 15 in a ruling that declared that the investigation was terminated. The reason was the same old story about why Kuruc.info cannot be shut down:

According to the information at our disposal, it can be determined that the Kuruc.info website operates on servers based in the United States of America. As such, it can be stated that the criminal act and the uploading of the web content in question occurred in the United States as well. Seeing that Kuruc.info operates off of a server found in the US, any determinations surrounding the site’s content fall outside the competence of the police. Due to differences between legal interpretations of the two countries, proceedings cannot begin in the US against the operators of the website.

Of course, this is nonsense. Uploading can occur anywhere in the world, and in the case of kuruc.info it is almost 100% certain that the editors are busily working on their computers in Hungary.

A few years back a former editor of Kuruc.info identified three men who are allegedly in charge of Kuruc.info. All three live in Budapest. The prosecutors claim to have investigated the role of a certain Balázs Molnár, one of the editors, but they said they couldn’t make their case. Another editor is apparently Előd Novák, a Jobbik member of parliament.

Kuruc.info obviously feels emboldened. A Hungarian journalist, András Dezső, discovered a huge billboard advertising Kuruc.info at a prominent place on the busy Budaörsi út.

the infamous billboard on Budaörsi út / Index

The infamous billboard on Budaörsi út / Index

Dezső immediately began his own investigation. He eventually tracked down the company that owns the billboard and inquired about the people who rented the advertising space. He was told to put his request in writing, which he did, foolishly adding his cell phone number. A few days later he was informed that the billboard will be taken down. And then came the surprise. Dezső discovered the contents of his e-mail to the company, including his e-mail address and telephone number, on kuruc.info. The poor guy’s life became sheer hell. Kuruc-info’s troll kept phoning him constantly and his e-mail box was overflowing. Dezső works for Index where this morning he published the story of his encounter with Kuruc-info.

The billboard company, Hungaroplakát, could certainly help the police and the prosecutors “solve” the mysterious case of Kuruc-info. That is, if they wanted to. Garai-Édler also came to the conclusion that “the Hungarian government has decided that it will protect Kuruc.info” for political reasons. Fidesz needs votes from the extreme right and doesn’t want to alienate the hundreds and thousands who are faithful readers of this neo-Nazi rag.

The real problem here is not so much what Kuruc.info trolls are doing to the journalist, because that is expected. What is really troublesome is that an employee of a bona fide company that has been in operation since 1998 is capable of giving official company correspondence to the neo-Nazis who publish Kuruc-info. HVG, the paper for which András Dezső used to work, inquired from Hungaroplakát about this latest outrage. They were told that the management of the firm is in the process of consulting with the company’s lawyers.

Enter Tamás Deutsch, the enfant terrible of Fidesz. He loves Facebook and Twitter and frequently uses these platforms to criticize the opposition, often with obscene language. But this time he attacked the Hungarian prosecutors for doing nothing about Kuruc-info which in his opinion operates illegally. He gave the Prosecutor’s Office 72 hours “to put an end to this Nazi website. No more evasion. No more on the one hand and on the other. Stand up on your hind legs and act.”

The spokesman of the Chief Prosecutor’s Office, Géza Fazekas, announced that, although his office doesn’t normally respond to utterances of politicians, Deutsch’s statements are simply untrue. The prosecutors did investigate Kuruc.info. Moreover, they did it several times but  they couldn’t bring charges against the editors of the site because the “United States during the fall of 2007 refused the seizure of the server referring to the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution.”

So we are back exactly where we were six years ago even though the physical location of the server has nothing to do with the case. I fear that even the billboard advertisement will not be enough for the prosecutors, who obviously believe that it is not in the interest of Fidesz, which practically runs the Hungarian prosecutor’s office, to put an end to Kuruc.info.