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The Orbán government has done more than ever to fight antisemitism

The Magyar Nemzet is the main daily outlet of Hungary. Founded in 1938, the Magyar Nemzet (Hungarian Nation) is a reference journal for the conservatives of Hungary. The conservative newspaper is close to the current Hungarian government lead by Viktor Orbán.

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This article was published online by the Magyar Nemzet on 19 January 2022.

“It is an election year here in Hungary. This of course means that Hungary will be appearing more often than usual in the press, and as we have seen already, accusations of antisemitism will also appear,” said Zoltán Kovács in an opinion piece in the Jerusalem Post.

The Secretary of State for Public Diplomacy and Relations of Hungary mentioned an opinion article that has already been published, alleging that the Hungarian provided aid to Israel to “cover-up” their antisemitism. However, Zoltán Kovács says this statement could not be further from the truth as,

the governments led by Prime Minister Viktor Orbán have done more than any other to oppose this kind of hateful prejudice and to provide meaningful support to Hungary’s Jewish community.

In connection with this, the Secretary listed several examples:

  • “In 2012, the Fidesz-led parliament promulgated the Fundamental Law, our new constitution, recognizing Hungarian Jewry as an inseparable part of the Hungarian nation.
  • It was the first Orbán Government, in 2001, that established the Holocaust Museum along with the national Day of Remembrance for victims of the Hungarian Holocaust.
  • We introduced Holocaust education in the national curriculum and raised the pensions of Holocaust survivors.
  • The current government also passed some of the most far-reaching provisions in Europe to punish Holocaust denial, hate speech and the display of hate symbols.
  • The prime minister established a zero-tolerance policy on anti-Semitism and effectively banned paramilitary groups that were intimidating Jewish and Roma citizens.
  • In face of the growing trend to ban Kosher slaughter in Europe, Hungary stood alone in raising its voice for the protection of religious freedom and practices inseparable from the future of Jewish life on the continent.
  • We devoted resources to the reconstruction of synagogues, Jewish cemeteries and built the first new synagogue in Budapest in 80 years, among others, as part of a major Jewish institution development.
  • Prime Minister Orbán was the first Hungarian prime minister to publicly acknowledge Hungary’s culpability in the Holocaust, saying that Hungary sinned when we failed to protect our Jewish citizens.
  • When it comes to support for Israel… Under PM Orbán’s leadership, Hungary stands among the staunchest supporters of Israel’s sovereignty and independence in international bodies like the European Union and the United Nations.”

Zoltán Kovács continued, “The author who claimed that Hungary is using support for Israel to cover up Antisemitism indeed has different ideas. Because when she refers to this ugly prejudice, she’s in fact referring to criticism of George Soros… Prime Minister Orbán and his governments never refer to his Jewish roots. Interestingly, Soros himself talks little about it, emphasizing instead his American identity,” he added.

The Soros apologists play the Jewish card in an effort to smear those who dare to oppose Soros’ pro-immigration, radical open society agenda. It’s a tired, empty argument that intentionally ignores – or attempts to distract from – the real issue at stake…. [that he] is a political actor with a radical, political agenda

– said the Secretary of State. Zoltán Kovács also said that Soros “and the network of NGOs that depend on his funding have no democratic legitimacy to push his ideologically driven agenda in Hungary, especially when it concerns big, national security issues like immigration.”

The Secretary of State explained that,

What I find curious about this whole argument about antisemitism in Hungary is the deafening silence in the international media about the unified opposition’s alliance with Jobbik, a far-right, antisemitic party, and the coalition’s candidate for prime minister.

In the meantime, Péter Márki-Zay, the Prime Ministerial candidate for the opposition, recorded a video last week that he posted on Facebook in which he discusses the number of Jewish people in Fidesz. Also, it cannot be ignored that Márki-Zay supports the far-right Jobbik party’s candidates.

The Secretary of State for Public Diplomacy and Relations of Hungary concluded by saying, “I suppose that the media and international, Jewish organizations, properly apprised of the facts, would also report on the matter and express concern.” However, he does not understand why this hasn’t been done thus far.

Nikoletta Elek