Gábor Vona’s letter to Congressman Joseph Crowley

Gábor Vona, Varánus.blog.hu

You may recall that back in June I published a facsimile of a letter sent by fifty U.S. congressmen to Viktor Orbán expressing their concern over the growing antisemitism in Hungary. In addition, the letter called attention to the treatment of  homosexuals, specifically mentioning the employment of Róbert Alföldi, director of the Hungarian National Theater. The letter also called attention to the discrimination against  the Roma population. The man who initiated sending this letter was Joseph Crowley, a Democrat from the State of New York.

The letter was actually criticized by some people in Hungary as putting the blame for the rise of antisemitism exclusively on Jobbik, the party of the extreme right in Hungary, when the current Hungarian government should share in the blame.

All that was detailed in a post entitled “Letters back and forth: Will they change the course of events in Hungary?” Here I’m publishing a letter by Gábor Vona, the party chief of Jobbik, to Congressman Crowley. It seems that Vona felt compelled to react to the contents of  the letter and to teach Joseph Crowley a thing or two. The letter is published verbatim, with all its grammatical errors. I think this letter says a lot about Jobbik and its leaders.

* * *

Mr. Joseph Crowley

Member of Congress

United States House of Representatives

Washington. DC

Budapest-11 July, 2012

Dear Congressman Crowley,

The predominant part of the letter written by you and forty-nine other representatives to Viktor Orban is related to Jobbik and what the Prime Minister should do to subdue us.

First of all, I would like to remind you that nearly one million people’s vote legitimize us in the Hungarian public life which we have gained in a democratic election in 2010, and according to the polls our popularity has only been increasing ever since. You do not mean that all these people in our country are extremists or racist citizens, do you? It was not Jobbik that you insulted, excluded and stigmatized but our voters; which not only was an irresponsible act but a serious self-contradiction, as well, since you have just ignored your own values you referred to.

I am sorry that your Budapest representation has forgotten to inform you that in the Hungarian parliamentary democracy, just like in the US, every party is responsible for itself. We do not write a letter to Barack Hussein Obama because of Councilman Charles Barron of New York, likewise a Democratic Party member, who, during his competition for Congress on the 11th of June lost against his opponent, stated earlier: “the Gaza Strip is a virtual death camp, the same kind of conditions the Nazis imposed on the Jews “.

In your letter, you logically refer to the Anti-Defamation League since this organization, together with the pro-Israel lobbies, provides the largest share of the funding for your political campaigns. Thus, we understand your diligence that as a superpower you must act to please the league in matters such as the homosexuality of the theatre director Róbert Alföldi, which must obviously be deeply troubling for the American people.

We–and the peoples of the world–are more concerned that after having destroyed Iraq and Afghanistan and caused the death of hundreds of thousands, you will do the same with Iran, who has not initiated a war against any country for centuries; just because Israel commands you to pretend that Teheran possesses nuclear weapons. And it is not only the Muslim world with its 1.3 billion population but all the benevolent peoples of the Earth who are equally worried that you provide an annual support of 3.5 billion dollars for your strategic ally, Israel who, according to former president James Carter, operates an apartheid system that kills thousands of civilians sometimes in Lebanon other times in Palestine.

If the representatives are interested in the politics of Jobbik, I will be very pleased to present you the reality. I would like to tell you in advance that in Jobbik’s political agenda or bills there is not one single point that would make a distinction between citizens by their religion or race. In fact, we are the only party in Hungary that has constantly been arguing to have the same rules and laws applied for everyone, and that no one should be treated with either negative or positive discrimination. I hope that I will be able to personally change your surprising anti-democratic views that condemn people for their political affiliation or Hungarian nationality. I also hope that I can draw your attention to the truly intolerable situation of Hungarian minorities living in the neighboring countries and tormented by chauvinism, as well as to the present vulnerable and exploited state of our truncated motherland. I am convinced that your sensitivity and sympathy for the prostrate and the down-trodden would certainly prompt you to support our cause after learning the hardships of Hungary.

Yours sincerely,

Vona Gábor

President of Jobbik

Leader of Parlamentary Group Jobbik

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71 comments

  1. @Karl Pfeifer: The definition is interesting. In only one respect do I question it: “Accusing Jewish citizens of being more loyal to Israel, or to the alleged priorities of Jews worldwide, than to the interests of their own nations.” Why is that anti-Semitic? A particular Jewish citizen of the United Sates surely may warrant accusation in the terms set out. In the United States, for example, we have Jonathan Pollard; to wonder if his behaviour is only the tip of the iceberg (or, in the classic joke, of the Goldberg) seems understandable.

  2. Wondercat :
    @Karl Pfeifer: The definition is interesting. In only one respect do I question it: “Accusing Jewish citizens of being more loyal to Israel, or to the alleged priorities of Jews worldwide, than to the interests of their own nations.” Why is that anti-Semitic? A particular Jewish citizen of the United Sates surely may warrant accusation in the terms set out. In the United States, for example, we have Jonathan Pollard.

    I didn’t think the difference had to be spelled out but here is an example. This is like accusing people of killing young girls for their blood and mix it into the matzo for Passover because they are Jewish or actually convicting Jewish murderers for killing young girls.

  3. Odin : “as well as other organisations conducting propaganda, including revisionist propaganda, hostile to the United Nations, shall not permit in future the existence and activities of organisations of that nature which have as their aim denial to the people of their democratic rights.”

    On this basis, the old MKP, and its successors were also “illegal”

  4. Wondercat, I cannot say whether this is the reason why such thinking could be considered anti-semitic but with some mixture of identities or backgrounds, it is very difficult to give a “correct” answer to the question of “national loyalty” – a “correct” answer expected by people with only one background and who therefore will answer very easily. There is no question that you are Hungarian, American, or whatever if there is no other background that might potentially mean an additional “loyalty” or a bias. This wish to be loyal to just one country follows the logic of “Great Power politics”. It not only expects people to be able to choose – no, they also must choose. Otherwise, they are kind of a “fifth column”. People with more than one background may find that an insufficient comprehension of the situation of people who cannot fulfil the expectation (and do not even see any necessity to do so) of a single and clear “affiliation”.

  5. Marcel Dé (@MarcelD10) :
    @Some1: is my English even worse than Vona’s, or do you need better contact lenses? I’ll let you slowly read again my comment, and choose for yourself.

    My bad. Yes, I need your contact lenses. I apologize. THe truth is that I started to read your original response, and I got to the ” had U.S. Congressmen sent France or the Netherlands a similar letter ” and I sort of rolled my eyes thinking, here comes an other on American foreign policy. I should of read the whole post. I still fell my reply is very valid, but not to your response.

  6. Wondercat :
    @Karl Pfeifer: The definition is interesting. In only one respect do I question it: “Accusing Jewish citizens of being more loyal to Israel, or to the alleged priorities of Jews worldwide, than to the interests of their own nations.” Why is that anti-Semitic? A particular Jewish citizen of the United Sates surely may warrant accusation in the terms set out. In the United States, for example, we have Jonathan Pollard; to wonder if his behaviour is only the tip of the iceberg (or, in the classic joke, of the Goldberg) seems understandable.

    It is not understandable at all. Do you think that all Americans of Hungarian origin are spies for Hungary? Or that all Americans of Russian origin are spies for Russia? Or if a spy ofr any other country is caught, that could be the tip of the iceberg?

  7. @gdfxx / Kirsten / The Muttster: Thank you all. The definition cited by Karl Pfeifer seems flawed to me because it does not include the important modifier of “as a class”. It stands now “Accusing Jewish citizens of being more loyal to Israel, or to the alleged priorities of Jews worldwide, than to the interests of their own nations.” If it stood “Accusing Jewish citizens, as a class, of being more loyal to Israel, or to the alleged priorities of Jews worldwide, than to the interests of their own nations” it would, to me, be unexceptionable.

    Important to recognise, I believe, that as claims against Jewry do not necessarily attaint the individual Jew, neither do claims against the individual Jew, the Jonathan Pollard, necessarily attaint Jewry. (And that some claims against individual or against class really ARE preposterous — I wouldn’t have bothered to guaiac-test matzoth from the Tiszaeszlári bakery, for example. Well, maybe I would have done, just to say — with evidence — “Vér nincs!”)

    The questions are posed: “Do you think that all Americans of Hungarian origin are spies for Hungary? Or that all Americans of Russian origin are spies for Russia? Or if a spy of any other country is caught, that could be the tip of the iceberg?” Writing for myself: I do not; I do not; and…I do (because the verb in the question has not “are” but “could be”). If I were in charge of loyalty screening programmes at the Central Intelligence Agency, I should, I believe, fall very short of my duty if I did not think that all Americans of X origin — not “are”, but “might be” — spies for X, particularly in the case of Americans with access to “sensitive” information.

  8. The EUMC working definition of anti-Semitism is very useful for policemen and judges in several countries.
    As far as Hungary is concerned it would be useful too, however some liberals thought Nazis must be free to voice their ideas and so Hungary is flooded since many years by hatemongering antisemitic incitement.
    Today Népszabadság published an excellent report on the town ruled until now by Jobbik. A typical Hungarian anti-Semite is telling the reporter that he believes Hungary is ruled by Jews and that Vona is also a Jew.
    Such crazy ideas are not restricted to a few unbalanced people. One can find in the postings on Fidesz near Magyar Hirlap antisemitic incitement.
    Thanks to those liberals who thought that Hungarian society will reject such ideas and advocated free speech for Nazis such discourse is tolerated in Hungary. (1996 Népszabadság published a brochure of all the articles pro and contra liberty for nazi speech)

  9. Mutt Damon :

    Wondercat :
    @Karl Pfeifer: The definition is interesting. In only one respect do I question it: “Accusing Jewish citizens of being more loyal to Israel, or to the alleged priorities of Jews worldwide, than to the interests of their own nations.” Why is that anti-Semitic? A particular Jewish citizen of the United Sates surely may warrant accusation in the terms set out. In the United States, for example, we have Jonathan Pollard.

    I didn’t think the difference had to be spelled out but here is an example. This is like accusing people of killing young girls for their blood and mix it into the matzo for Passover because they are Jewish or actually convicting Jewish murderers for killing young girls.

    Actually, I do remember my great-grandfather telling me that
    the matzah hadn’t tasted the same for a long time…

  10. Wondercat :
    @gdfxx / Kirsten / The Muttster: Thank you all. The definition cited by Karl Pfeifer seems flawed to me because it does not include the important modifier of “as a class”

    OK. It’s 4th of July. US flags are are everywhere. Redneck and his Jewish neighbor walk out of the house at the same time in the morning. Then the redneck goes:

    1. Hey, Yitzak. What’s the flag for? You people are helping Israel more then the Americans.
    – or –
    2. Hey, Yitzak. What’s the flag for? You people, as a class, are helping Israel more then the Americans.

  11. @Mutt Damon: Not a pertinent question; “you people” is a collective noun; the error of conflating Yitzak with Jewry exists in each alternative that you propose.

  12. Wondercat :
    @Mutt Damon: Not a pertinent question; “you people” is a collective noun; the error of conflating Yitzak with Jewry exists in each alternative that you propose.

    Dang. Take the word “people” out of the first sentence.

  13. @Mutt Damon: NOW wew’re talkin’. If Izzy has his wits about him (and don’t those wily Jews always!), when Bubba offers the “you people” alternative, he can and should respond — “Other Jews, maybe, but not me. I’m a good American and I fly the flag.” When Bubba offers the “you” alternative, Izzy can and should respond — “Well, I have to disagree with that. I think of myself as a good American and I fly the flag to show that I’m an American first and foremost. What makes you say different?” And either way Bubba slinks off to console himself with a double order of waffle fries at Chick-Fil-A. With hate sauce.

  14. Vona’s point about war crimes and hypocrisies on the part of U.S. imperialism and Israel is unarguable, but also beside the point. In this sense the letter from Washington was an opportunity handed to Jobbik on a silver platter to appeal to its putrid base. Commenters are right to point out that the poor English of Vona’s response will hardly bother his target audience of racists and antisemites. Of course Jobbik couldn’t care less about the Muslim and Palestinian victims of U.S./Israeli massacres, torture, drone strikes, and renditions, except as a useful rhetorical device. The empowering of small-time racist thugs around the world is in part another unintended consequence of the big-time Thuggery of Washington’s phoney ‘war on terror.’

  15. Lumpy :
    Vona’s point about war crimes and hypocrisies on the part of U.S. imperialism and Israel is unarguable….
    Of course Jobbik couldn’t care less about the Muslim and Palestinian victims of U.S./Israeli massacres, torture, drone strikes, and renditions. The empowering of small-time racist thugs around the world is in part another unintended consequence of the big-time Thuggery of Washington’s phoney ‘war on terror.’

    Good try. Read the comments above, and post your stupid, patronizing well packaged attack on US and Israel policies on blogs where they belong. THis blog is for the Hungarian issues and not to discuss if you agree with the USA foreign policies regarding other counties.

  16. Ok ok S1 I agree attempting to walk and chew gum at the same time is too ambitious… Please don’t waterboard me!

    Imagine thinking that what is going on in Hungary might also be symptomatic of bigger things going on in the world in the twilight of the Empire. You’ve certainly shown me the error of my ways! Hungary’s problems can only be understood in strict isolation. ;-)

  17. Lumpy :
    Ok ok S1 I agree attempting to walk and chew gum at the same time is too ambitious… Please don’t waterboard me!
    Imagine thinking that what is going on in Hungary might also be symptomatic of bigger things going on in the world in the twilight of the Empire. You’ve certainly shown me the error of my ways! Hungary’s problems can only be understood in strict isolation.

    That is not the case. The problem with Hungary is that the people who are running it always compare Hungary to the worst examples. Dragging out the worst in every single country’s modus operandi, and saying that well Hungary is doing better then them, or just doing as they do, is not the way to go. Why don’t we drag out the best examples and see how can Hungary measures up would be actually the way to go. Trying to match the good would lead to progress. It is not that I want to see Hungary in a vacuum, but I want to see Hungary aim higher, and not to follow the “it is good enough” attitude. Good enough is not good enough, and worst is even worst. The Hungarian thinking now is that the small thief who got caught by lifting an orange should not tell the serial rapist and killer that it is wrong to do that.

  18. @Lumpy@ Nobody claimed what you say.
    I do not believe the desecration of the Jewish cemetery in Kaposvár has to do with alleged crimes of the USA and/or Israel. The same goes for anti-Semitic texts on Magyar Hirlap.
    To claim an Israeli massacre at a time when even according to very conservative estimates more than 16.000 Syrians lost their life during the last 15 months is not very clever. What you say has nothing to do with Middle East reality and everything with Hungary.
    So let us discuss who is responsible for an upsurge of anti-Semitism and racism in Hungary.

  19. .

    Karl Pfeifer :
    @Lumpy@ Nobody claimed what you say.
    I do not believe the desecration of the Jewish cemetery in Kaposvár has to do with alleged crimes of the USA and/or Israel. The same goes for anti-Semitic texts on Magyar Hirlap
    So let us discuss who is responsible for an upsurge of anti-Semitism and racism in Hungary.

    Hungary’s ruling class has a long history whipping up racist paranoia in the more backward layers of its population… The same is happening in most parts of the world, as a means of diverting attention from economic hardships, while bullying working people into passive acceptance of austerity measures to pay for capitalism’s economic crisis. No mystery to it really.
    I think much responsibility in Hungary lies with the liberal ‘left’ which looks to the EU to win its battles for it. To put the best light on it, instead of seeking to educate and mobilize the working class against anti-Roma racism and antisemitism, the social democrats have vacated this terrain for Brussels to ‘fix’ with stupid bureaucratic ‘anti racism’ statutes, playing directly into the hands of Orban and the far right with their propaganda re the “international Jewish bankers conspiracy against the Nation”..
    This has created a very bad political polarization, much to the disadvantage of the left and its traditional constituencies, which only seems destined to get worse.

  20. Lumpy :
    Hungary’s ruling class has a long history whipping up racist paranoia in the more backward layers of its population… The same is happening in most parts of the world, as a means of diverting attention from economic hardships, while bullying working people into passive acceptance of austerity measures to pay for capitalism’s economic crisis. No mystery to it really.
    I think much responsibility in Hungary lies with the liberal ‘left’ which looks to the EU to win its battles for it. To put the best light on it, instead of seeking to educate and mobilize the working class against anti-Roma racism and antisemitism, the social democrats have vacated this terrain for Brussels to ‘fix’ with stupid bureaucratic ‘anti racism’ statutes, playing directly into the hands of Orban and the far right with their propaganda re the “international Jewish bankers conspiracy against the Nation”..

    Whiskey tango foxtrot? The Hungarian liberal left (who is that, by the way) should mobilize the working class against racism, so they will not passively accept austerity measures to pay for capitalism’s economic crisis? Ladies and Gents! Circus Planet Hungary is in session!

  21. Lumpy, Good God, what old brochures did you read? I took you for a rightwing antisemite. No, you are a leftwing antisemite who repeats the old soviet anti-Semitic slogans about Israeli massacres etc.

Comments are closed.