By Stefan J. Bos, Chief International Correspondent BosNewsLife reporting from Budapest

Jobbik legislator Marton Gyöngyösi’s remarks about Jews have been condemned.

BUDAPEST, HUNGARY (BosNewsLife)– The United States on Tuesday, November 27, condemned calls by an influential Hungarian far-right parliamentarian to draw up lists of Jews who pose a “national security risk”, a proposal resembling the Nazi-era.

Marton Gyöngyösi, a leader of Hungary’s third-strongest political party ‘Movement for a Better Hungary’ (Jobbik) said the list was necessary because of heightened tensions following the brief conflict in Gaza and should include members of parliament.

“I know how many people with Hungarian ancestry live in Israel, and how many Israeli Jews live in Hungary,” he told parliament on Monday, November 26.

“I think such a conflict makes it timely to tally up people of Jewish ancestry who live here, especially in the Hungarian Parliament and the Hungarian government, who, indeed, pose a national security risk to Hungary,” he added.

Gyöngyösi, 35, said the country’s foreign ministry had “rushed to make an oath of allegiance to Israel.”


In a statement to BosNewsLife, the U.S. embassy in Budapest said, “The United States utterly rejects and condemns in the strongest terms the outrageous anti-Semitic remarks made on the floor of Parliament by a Jobbik parliamentarian on November 26.”

U.S. embassy in Budapest says United States has condemned anti-Semitic remarks in Hungary’s parliament.

Prime Minister Viktor Orbán’s government, which has been accused by critics of flirting with the far-right, also condemned Gyöngyösi’s statements.

The government takes “the strictest possible action against every form of racism and anti-Semitic behavior” and did “everything in order to ensure that malicious voices incompatible with European norms are driven back”, it said in published remarks.

“The government also makes it clear that every citizen will be protected from such insults.”

The U.S. embassy said it recognizes and support the government’s “immediate rejection” of the anti-Semitic statements.


“This type of atrocious, deeply offensive language must be met with immediate and harsh condemnation by all who hear it in any democracy, and particularly by the highest-ranking officials of the Hungarian government,” the embassy said.

However it warned that, “The recurrence of anti-Semitic and other racist statements in the Hungarian parliament demonstrates the need to further empower voices of tolerance and peaceful coexistence in Hungary.”

Jobbik’s paramilitary group Magyar Gárda has been linked to intimidation of Jewish people and Roma.

This wasn’t an isolated incident. A Jobbik legislator was able to tell Parliament in April that Jews killed a Christian girl 130-years ago in the town of Tiszaeszlar. Zsolt Baráth said the 15 Jewish suspects were only acquitted after outside pressure.

Gyöngyösi’s remarks came on the heels of those uttered by Jobbik president Gábor Vona, who last week told demonstrators in front of Israel’s embassy in Budapest that “government members and parliamentarians should be screened” to see if they possess dual Hungarian-Israeli citizenship.

In July, Gyöngyösi condemned investigators searching for Nazi war criminals in Hungary, and in January he was accused by the opposition Socialist party of engaging in Holocaust denial.


Some 600,000 Hungarian Jews were killed in World War Two when Hungary was a close ally of Nazi-Germany. One in three Jews who perished in Nazi death camp Auschwitz-Birkenau were believed to have been of Hungarian origin.

“I am a Holocaust survivor,” said Gusztáv Zoltai, executive director of the Hungarian Jewish Congregations’ Association. “For people like me this generates raw fear, even though it is clear that this only serves political ends. This is the shame of Europe, the shame of the world.”

Gyöngyösi tried to play down his comments, saying he had been wrongly understood as he was referring to citizens with dual Israeli-Hungarian citizenship.

“I apologize to my Jewish compatriots for my declarations that could be misunderstood,” he stressed in a statement.

However Parliament Chairman László Kövér, who is from the ruling Fidesz party, said he would call for sanctions against such behavior.


Jobbik, known for its rhetoric against Jews and the country’s up to 800,000 Gypsies, or Roma, has also taken its radical views to the streets. It has been linked to paramilitary groups, including the Magyar Gárda or Hungarian Guard.

A torched Roma home in the Hungarian town of Tatárszentgyörgy 60 kilometers (37 miles) outside Budapest. Farher Róbert Csorba, 27, tried to flee the flames with his five-year old son in his arms. But they were shot dead in 2009. Photo: Agnes R. Bos for BosNewsLife

Wearing uniforms and waving Arpad stripes used by Hungary’s pro-Nazi regime, Magyar Gárda has been marching through Roma villages and settlements.

The Budapest-based European Roma Rights Center (ERRC), a major advocacy group, has said that groups such as Jobbik’s Magyar Gárda contributed to an atmosphere of hatred in Hungary where at least 9 Roma have been killed in racist attacks in recent years.

Founded in 2003, Jobbik’s support could prove crucial for the return of Orbán’s Fidesz party as it has lost one million votes, according to several opinion polls and analysts.

The fragmented left-wing opposition is trying to oust Orbán in 2014, saying he has become increasingly autocratic with laws threatening the independence of previously independent institutions, ranging from the Central Bank, to media and churches.



    On Monday November 26 2012, a Hungarian MP, Márton Gyöngyösy, deputy leader of the extreme right “Jobbik” Party, called for the creation of a race-based list, on the grounds of risk to Hungarian national security.

    This all-too-familiar burst of base bigotry from the Jobbik party in Hungary’s parliament has deflected attention from an even more ominous event that passed unnoticed, in the very same place, on the very same day: Electoral gerrymandering designed to keep the governing Fidesz Party in power.

    As Marton Dornbach points out below in his remarkably insightful commentary, reproduced in full (and slightly updated by the author) from the Hungarian Spectrum, Fidesz is just playing “good cop” to Jobbik’s “bad cop”.

    The two right-wing parties are only distinguishable by the fact that Jobbik’s hallmark is psychopathic bigotry, whereas Fidesz’s hallmark is psychopathic opportunism. Both are sinking Hungary deeper and deeper, downward and backward, toward an ugly, resentful autocracy and xenophobia to which Hungary is no stranger, and from which it has not yet made the sincere effort to dissociate itself that has been made by the other nations of Europe.

    Hungary has a majority of decent, fair-minded people, like every other nation in the world. It is not beyond hope that world outrage at this pair of incidents may help them to rally against these two pernicious parties, Fidesz and Jobbik, that have already done Hungary so much harm, and oust them decisively, once and for all, in the next election, despite Fidesz’s shameless and disgraceful efforts to make this so much more difficult to do:

    “The thing that is really important here, in my opinion, is not that Márton Gyöngyösi is a Nazi. Most of us realized a while ago that Jobbik is a virulently racist Neo-Nazi party. This is no news. It is also no news, unfortunately, that the ruling party is willing to go to great lengths to avoid unequivocal and firm condemnation of Nazi talk (incidentally, the most disgracefully equivocal part of Zsolt Németh’s response was the formulation he chose: he said the number of Jews in government “is not particularly closely related” to the severity of the conflict in the Middle East /”nem nagyon kapcsolódik ahhoz”/)

    “No, the most newsworthy aspect of this incident is the timing. Gyöngyösi’s statements came five days after the ceasefire in Gaza was announced. So there was nothing particularly topical about his sick proposal. In any case, thugs like him never needed a pretext for Jew-baiting. Why now then?

    “Well, it so happens that, on the very same day that MGy made this demented proposal, the Fidesz supermajority put a stake through the barely-beating heart of Hungarian democracy by abolishing universal voting rights and introducing an exceptionally restrictive form of mandatory voter registration. You wouldn’t know this from the foreign media coverage of the Monday parliamentary session; but that’s precisely the point. Especially in the international media, but in Hungary too, the abolition of universal voting rights was completely eclipsed by this Nazi provocation. After all, viewed from London or Washington or Brussels it is so much easier to relate to Nazism than to election technicalities in a small country. So much easier for journalists to cover the former than the latter.

    “But let’s put things in perspective. Unfortunately, there always were and perhaps there always will be sick racists who harbor genocidal fantasies. The fact that Hungarian society as a whole fails to ostracize such people and/or treat them as psychiatric cases is a sign of a civilizational breakdown. However, there is no real danger of Gyöngyösi’s proposal being implemented (although in this respect we all know that nothing is impossible). Without denying that anti-Semitism is alarmingly widespread in Hungary and has a potential to produce violent outbursts, I think it is safe to say that the only group of people in Hungary that faces systematic discrimination and harassment on account of ethnic origins is the Roma. So we should see MGy’s statement as a purely symbolic act of transgression whose sole purpose was to shock and draw attention.

    “Unlike MGy’s proposal, the election law passed on the very same day is certain to have very real future consequences. It drastically reduces the chances of Orban’s opposition. Let’s be clear about this: the introduction of severely restrictive voter registration rules in a country with a perfectly well-functioning central registry is an unprecedented disgrace. It is the most overt violation of basic democratic principles even in the sordid record of the Orban regime’s power grab. This is the outrage that is being overlooked amid the (absolutely justified) uproar about the latest Nazi provocation by Jobbik. Look at the foreign coverage of what happened on Monday in the Hungarian parliament: there is no reference to the election law, no reference to Zsolt Nemeth’s appalling non-response, while most outlets state that the Hungarian government has condemned the provocation “in the strongest terms” (if only!) The whole story is a PR coup for Fidesz. In keeping with the line of defense adopted by numerous diplomatic and journalistic apologetes of the regime, this incident has given Fidesz yet another opportunity to play good cop to Jobbik’s bad cop.

    “To conclude, I find it almost impossible not to raise the obvious, admittedly speculative, question: Cui bono? Who is benefitting from all of this? To my mind at least the timing of this crass provocation invites the conjecture that there may be (tacit or not-so-tacit) co-operation between the Neo-Nazi Jobbik party and the ruling Fidesz supermajority. And let’s not forget here two points: it is not inconceivable that Fidesz may need to form a coalition with Jobbik to stay in power after 2014; and Jobbik is the other party, beside Fidesz, which stands to gain from the new voter registration rules. [original comment edited by MD]”


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