Below, thanks to a friend, a contributor, and a regular reader of Hungarian Spectrum, I’m able to publish the speeches of Péter Feldmájer, president of the Federation of Jewish Communities in Hungary (MAZSIHISZ), and Ronald S. Lauder, president of the World Jewish Congress, at the Plenary Assembly in Budapest on May 5.
Unfortunately Viktor Orbán’s speech is not yet available in English (although it’s already on YouTube in Hungarian), but the World Jewish Congress’s reaction was negative.
I should add that the translations are not mine.
* * *
Mr. President Lauder, Mr. Prime Minister, His Excellency the Cardinal, Bishops, Rabbis, Mr. and Madame Ambassadors, Dear Guests, Ladies and Gentlemen
Ma nishtano halailo haze?
What makes this night different from all other nights, we ask each Passover Seder evening; today we can ask the question: ma nishtano hacongres haze – i.e. what makes this congress different from all other congresses?
First and most, it is that we would like to welcome you in Budapest, the capital of Hungary, a glorious city that safeguards the joys and also the tortures of the past.
You have arrived in a country which – legend has it – saw the Jewish people from the Kazar empire come into this land together with the state founding proud horse tribes, and also where for many decades in the 19th century the Jews of the east were greeted with a warm and wholehearted welcome. The Jews here had become Hungarian patriots, they quickly lost their own language and supported the cause of Hungarian independence without reservations; nevertheless, already in the very first days of the 1848 heroic freedom fight, a pogrom was launched against the Jews of Bratislava.
You have come to a city that is proud to have Tivadar Herzl, the visionary of modern Israel, as its son and student.
You have come to a country which had lost World War I and with that 2/3 of its territory. The heroism of the Jewish soldiers and officers fighting the war as Hungarian patriots had become legendary, yet it did nothing to stop the political elite from blaming the Jews for the defeat and introducing the very first anti-Semitic laws of Europe, which served as models for the Nazis.
You have come to a country where the vast majority of the then mainstream society approved of the anti-Semitic laws and while most of them did not identify with the massacres, ultimately the entire Hungarian public administration – led by the Governor – successfully organised and implemented the gathering and deportation of Jews to the gas chambers of Auschwitz. You have come to a city that is proud of its jewel, the blue Danube, whose water was once painted red by the blood of tens of thousands of Jews shot dead on its banks.
You have come to a city where despite decades of anti-Semitic propaganda, despite official prohibitions, there were still hundreds and thousands that risked their lives standing up for, hiding and saving the lives of Jews.
You have come to a country where the majority of Jewish people – despite the massacres – remained patriotic to the land.
You have come to a country in which Moscow-based concoctors of leftist anti-Semitic pogroms could not achieve anything because the otherwise loyal Communist leaders of the country were not willing to identify with and fulfil the mad plans and commands of red tsars that followed the footsteps of Hitler.
You have come to a country where after the fall of Communism, the largest Jewish community of Central Europe revived Jewish religious and cultural life with unparalleled enthusiasm; the education system they brought to life may be an example to all.
You have come to a country whose proud Jewish residents can freely express their love of Israel and may freely proclaim not to ever forget Jerusalem, the spiritual capital of the united Jewish people.
You have come to a country which – perhaps the first one in the world after Israel – adopted a bill to commemorate the victims of the holocaust and – in line with the measures of the first Orban-cabinet – does a tremendous lot to keep the memory of the holocaust alive, to make the history of the holocaust part of school education.
You have come to a country whose Jewish community is again under threat by horrific ideologies and acts, which are the remnants of the Middle Ages and the holocaust, where an elderly Chief Rabbi is attacked in the street, where Fascists are hailed, where the courts set murderers as role models for the young as squares, and streets are being named after keen anti-Semites, as the works of court poets of Hungarian Nazis are included in the national curriculum and thus polluting the souls of our students.
You have come to a country whose government is in support of the security of the state of Israel and is ready to stand up for the inalienable religious rights of Jews and would never consider placing animal rights before the religious rights of Jews.
You have come to a country, where Jews could live in peace and enjoy the support of the majority of Hungarian society if the holler of the vindictive minority did not suppress their sober and friendly voices.
Two decades ago, the director of MAZSIHISZ, Mr Zoltai, and I used to think that not only did Hungarian Jews have a great past, they also have a great future ahead of them. What has happened in this country in the past decades has proved that we were not wrong. We are still convinced today that not only is the present of Hungarian Jews great, but so is their future despite the raving of the anti-Semite rabble.
Thank you for coming and being here with us. We are proud to have been found worthy of holding the congress here, to be together, and for you to express your solidarity with the Hungarian Jewry.
I believe that the Jews of the world must unite their forces. This day also shows us that we are not alone, we are all listening to each other no matter where we may be living across the globe. The task we have is no little one to handle.
Hungary and Europe are on the wrong track.
As the Prince of Denmark, Hamlet put it:
“The time is out of joint: O cursed spite,
That ever I was born to set it right!”
Yes, ladies and gentlemen, time is out of joint and only together can we set it right; it is as if we the sounds and voices of the sinister ’30s were back again. All of us here tonight, Jews and non-Jews can only succeed in preventing the dark era of anti-Semitism from retuning to Hungary, Europe and the entire world and in ensuring that not a single Jewish person is ever in fear of terror if we unite our forces.
Thank you for your attention, I wish you all a pleasant evening.
* * *
Prime Minister Orban, President of Mazsihisz, my friend Péter Feldmájer, Cardinal Erdő, Rabbis, Ministers and Members of Parliament, Distinguished Ambassadors, Representatives of our Jewish Communities from all around the world, ladies and gentlemen, Dear friends:
First of all, I want to thank Péter Feldmájer and the wonderful Jewish community here in Hungary.
The fact that we are here tonight – representatives of Jewish communities from 100 countries around the world – is a tribute to the strength, resilience and vitality of Hungarian Jewry and to your leadership, Péter. Thank you.
Prime Minister Orbán and Cardinal Erdő, we thank you for being with us. Your presence here tonight is also fitting because Budapest’s history is tied to Jewish history.
Less than one hundred years ago, a quarter of this great city’s population was Jewish. Hungary’s Jews contributed to the country’s economy, its culture, and its universities as well as its extraordinary tradition of mathematics and science.
Albert Einstein happens to be one of the few top physicists in the last century who was not born in Hungary but figures such as Szilard, Teller and Johnny von Neuman were just some of the brilliant Jewish minds that all came from Hungary and left a huge impact on the world.
Joseph Pulitzer, one of America’s greatest newspaper publishers and the founder of the most coveted prize in journalism that still bears his name today came from Hungary. And of course, Theodore Herzl, who founded the modern Zionist movement that led to the creation of Israel is from here as well.
My own mother’s parents were born here. The Lauder family dates back to the 13th Century and there was a special Jewish community there at that time, so you see my connection to Hungary is both deep and personal.
But sadly, all of the famous Jews I mention – and there are many more – noble laureates, artists and scholars – all left Hungary because they were forced to leave.
The rise of anti-Semitic parties in the 1920s and the 1930s led to the darkest chapter of all – the deportation and gassing of more than 400,000 Jewish men, women and children. A staggering one-third of the 1.1 million Jews murdered at Auschwitz were Hungarian.
It is so clear that if these dark forces of anti-Semitism had not been allowed to rise in the 20th Century – all of Hungary would have prospered.
This always strikes me as so obvious – when Jews are allowed to live their lives freely and practice their religion, countries always flourish. It is obvious. But all too often, the irrational hatred that is Anti-Semitism defeats common sense.
After 1920, the government of Admiral Miklós Horthy – a vicious anti-Semite – moved Hungary towards this irrational hatred. His government passed successive anti-Jewish laws and aligned itself closely at that time with the Nazis in Germany. And in 1938, the Horthy regime enacted its version of the infamous Nuremberg Laws.
The first deportations of Jews from Hungary to concentration camps occurred in 1941, during the time of Admiral Horthy.
I am recalling these facts now not because we are not familiar with them, but because today we are seeing, once again, growing ignorance, growing intolerance, growing hatred.
Once again we see the outrage of anti-Semitism.
This is by no means only in Hungary, but also in other places in Europe – in Greece, where I was a few weeks ago, in Ukraine and elsewhere. We see that Jews and other minorities are singled out, vilified, demonized.
We see that more and more people openly deny the Holocaust, which happens to be one of the most well documented tragedies in history.
We see that a growing number of people actually believe the old canard that Jews control world finance, or the media, or everything.
And we see that Jews again are being blamed for economic troubles.
Today, there are members of the Hungarian Parliament who want the government to draw up “Lists of Jews” who hold public office. That sends out warning signals around the world.
In the press and on television, anti-Semitism and incitement against the Roma minority are becoming commonplace, and sometimes even accepted. We were shocked to learn that an anti-Semitic TV presenter was awarded a prize.
Thankfully the Government withdrew this prize. But the fact that it was awarded in the first place is the kind of thing that has us worried.
And there is this journalist, Zsolt Bayer, who recently called Gypsies “cowardly, repulsive, noxious animals.” He said they were “unfit to live among people” and called for “dealing with them immediately.”
Such words are reminiscent of the darkest era in European history. Let us never forget the Roma were also victims of the Nazi Holocaust.
Today, Jews are again wondering whether they will have to leave the country, for similar reasons.
Because they wonder why anti-Semites like Miklós Horthy are being glorified, and why statues honoring them are unveiled by Hungarian officials. Horthy was equivalent to Hitler and seeing statues of him going up sends the wrong signal.
Perhaps because they wonder if Jews have a future in Hungary?
Whatever the reason, their concerns must be taken seriously.
When Hungarian Jews are attacked by fanatics, they should be able to count on the unequivocal support of their government and of their authorities. It is the authorities that must stop this before it even begins.
Mr. Prime Minister, I know that the Hungarian people love freedom. They are courageous.
In 1956, Hungary was the first country to rise up against the Soviet oppressors.
Hungary was the first country in 1989 that set off the chain reaction, which opened the Iron Curtain and brought down the Berlin Wall. For this the world thanks the Hungarian community.
Mr. Prime Minister, you were part of this. You did many things positive at that time.
The fall of Communism paved the way for a rebirth not just of a new Hungary but also for the revival of Jewish life here in Hungary and frankly no one frankly after the Shoah could ever imagine that. I remember when I opened my summer camp here we had 400 children from all over Europe attend a ceremony and the translator as I was speaking started to cry. I turned to him and asked “why are you crying?” He said “old man, I never thought I would see Jewish children again in Hungary.”
I decided to support that Jewish renaissance as much as I could. In 1990, I established the Lauder Javne School in Budapest. It is now welcoming 600 Jewish students a year and enriching their lives with Jewish values.
I am very proud of all the things we have accomplished, and tomorrow we shall all have a chance to see more of the children when we have dinner at the school.
I have also had the honor to rebuild many synagogues here – showing my strong commitment to Hungary’s history and it’s great heritage. Let there be no doubt: I still believe in the future of this country. And so do many others.
Prime Minister Orbán, I thank you for your presence here tonight.
It is no secret that Hungary’s international reputation has suffered in recent years.
But Hungary’s good name was not smeared by the foreign press, but by extremists.
Mr. Prime Minister, we are especially concerned about one particular party. I am talking about Jobbik, a party that won almost 17 percent of the vote in the 2010 elections. Through its anti-Semitism, its hostility to the Roma, and its paranoid rantings at the outside world, Jobbik is dragging the good name of Hungary through the mud.
That same party held a demonstration just yesterday against our gathering here in Budapest. Granted there were only a few people but it was symbolic because they were told they should not protest.
Hungarian Jews, Mr. Prime Minister, need you to take a firm and decisive lead. They need you to take on these dark forces. They need you to be pro-active. They need your leadership in this fight.
They need you to send the message to the entire population that intolerance will not be tolerated.
As President of the World Jewish Congress, I ask you to do precisely that and thus to demonstrate and talk about this great country’s finest traditions.
It is time for leadership and strong actions. We truly hope that you will be successful.
Fascism and intolerance always single out the Jews first. But they are never the last victims. All good people suffer. Countries suffer. In the end, this hatred and intolerance only destroys a nation’s hopes, its progress and its future.
Mr. Prime Minister this hall is full of hope. We welcome you here to our gathering as you and the majority of your compatriots have welcomed us to your country.
We thank you for being with us in your stunningly beautiful capital city.
Thank you very much.
* * *
It seems that Viktor Orbán’s speech didn’t meet the expectations of the World Jewish Congress.
The World Jewish Congress appreciates Prime Minister Viktor Orbán’s decision to address the international Jewish community by speaking here tonight. We welcome that the Prime Minister made it clear that anti-Semitism is unacceptable and intolerable.
However, the Prime Minister did not confront the true nature of the problem: the threat posed by the anti-Semites in general and by the extreme-right Jobbik party in particular. We regret that Mr. Orbán did not address any recent anti-Semitic or racist incidents in the country, nor did he provide sufficient reassurance that a clear line has been drawn between his government and the far-right fringe.
As the Jewish people have learnt throughout history: Actions speak louder than words, no matter how well intended they are. The WJC will continue to urge all democratic forces in Hungary and elsewhere to combat with great determination rising extremism, anti-Semitism and hatred. We will continue to evaluate the situation in this regard.
The prime minister’s speech is available on YouTube in Hungarian:
I may add that Ferenc Gyurcsány, who was present at the plenary assembly, left before Viktor Orbán delivered his address. In a Facebook comment he said that he had no intention of listening to the Hungarian prime minister’s lies.
Bully for you Fleto!
Indeed it was not easy to listen to the PM, knowing that every duplicitous word he says is having a parallel other word waiting to be told encouragingly in an other venue, another day to the anti-Semitic crowd.
Anyway, it was nothing more than a Lego-assemblage of the usual panels and boiler-plate.
He doth protest too much. Mr. Orban, you could start by simply calling your compatriots: Hungarian Jews.
The speech given by Victor Orban was excellent. The sentiments that he expressed deserve the support of all who are interested in a world where diversity of points of view are not only accepted but also welcomed.
Hungarians are Hungarians – be they Christian, Roma, Jew, Ba’hai, Catholic, Muslim, Buddhist… Hungary is a nation – with borders, surrounded by other nations. EVERY SINGLE PERSON WITHIN THE BORDERS OF HUNGARY (unless of course s/he is just visiting or is there working temporarily) IS HUNGARIAN.. this false division between Hungarians and “Hungarian Jews” is THE ROOT of the problem – until that kind of talk stops, I am not very hopeful for anyone living inside Hungary who is not Christian. Mi a nagy hulyeseg. V.O., Fidesz, and Jobbik have REALLY got to go.
It was a very neutral campaign speech. He was tooting his own horn by talking about the great new constitution and all. He was like “we’re good Christians, we don’t hurt the Jews, do we …” He was treading lightly – tried not to piss off too much the cardholder nazis before the elections. A coalition with the JOBBIK would be a bummer after all … I give him a C minus.
But did he really mean all this? His best friends are anti-Semites and nazi lovers. Even his constitution declared that the nation is not responsible for the history after the German occupation. His academy just recommended Ottokar Prohaszka, the ideolog for the Hungarian nazi party, for street name. The Horthy cult is spreading like wildfire. Tell me Zoltan, what did he actually do to fight anti-Semitism? Nothing. He is a liar.
Lauder’s talk, despite some ornament and unction, was ok. Some of Feldmajer’s talk too, but this misplaced and thoughtless one turned my stomach: “You have come to a country whose government… would never consider placing animal rights before the religious rights of Jews.” I would have appreciated more than token lip-service to the plight of Roma too — and at least self-serving avoidance of the democracy issue.
typo above: I meant less self-serving avoidance…
Do any of these speakers realise that the rise of anti-semitic violence in Europe is mainly from the Muslim population? Whether you look at France, the Netherlands, Sweden, the UK you see similar trends. Nonetheless, expect a number of these people to continue to support immigration from those countries into Europe, but not Israel.
Are you mad? or are you just practicing the usual, blaming someone else always?
The moslem “population” of Hungary is negligible.
At the nazi rally two days ago I have seen some 3-400 Hungarian idiots, but not one single turban was present anywheres.
Hungary proudly consumes the exclusively homegrown anti-Semitism.
Lauder has a school in Budapest, Feldmájer, like Zoltai are the point men of the state subsidy (for foreigners who may be unfamiliar with the Hungarian situatuion: yes, the Federation of Jewish Communities like all historiocal “churches” receives huge amounts of state subsidy, otherwise known as taxpayers’ money, on various grounds).
If they are too agressive, soon the subsidy may decrease or Rózsa Hoffman will find that the Lauder School does not follow the national framework study pland rigourosly enough.
These guygs will not be critical and problematic, they have to live with Orbán and Jobbik for the long term.
They know that Orbán will finish them in a second (well, not too overtly, but more subtly) if they cause too much trouble (not suprisingly Zoltai/Feldmajer rarely if ever raise their voice about anti-semitism).
Ad: Feldmájer “You have come to a country which had lost World War I and with that 2/3 of its territory”.
In this area was Austro-Hungarian Empire = Hungary had not lost 2/3 of territory !!!
Main “loser” was Habsburg !!!
Open eyes, mind and DO THING LOGICALLY AND CORRECTLY.
It turns my stomach every time I see one of the thousands of maps of “Historical Hungary” that are displayed in private and public places in Hungary. Not because there is anything wrong with the map but because making an ikon of it, second only to “The Holy Crown”, is sick. The people behind the avalanche of historical maps pretend that the map is a proof of Hungary’s historical right to all the territories that belonged to the former Hungarian Kingdom. Well, there is no Court of Historical Rights where the map can be presented as evidence. The historical map campaign is designed to poison the Hungarian minds with the idea that the lost lands can be taken back “so oder so”. The distributors of the historical map don’t want peace in Europe. They want strife. They sow wind and don’t seem to understand that they shall harvest storm.
Live: (Westerwelle is speaking now)
The speech given by Orbán was excellent.
In an interview given earlier, Feldmajer commented favourably about the
future of Hungarian Jews in Hungary.
“…he is a liar…”
Not only is he a liar, but he is that peculiar type of liar who is proud that he lies…visibly shaking with pleasure when he can lead astray the non-Felcsutian simpletons-
Petofi: Orbán is having the greatest pleasure when he is misleading supposedly thorough EU officials or supposedly supersmart Jews.
I mean if local MAZSIHISZ thinks that everything is just fine and the future in Hungary for Jews is bright like the sun how could there be a problem, right?
He is the happiest when he can purchase (in whatever way) his potential critiques (like he purchased MAZSIHISZ whose leadership is the posterboy of cronisms and lack of transparent governance) and he can communicate through them, it’s much more believable.
Similarly, the most fun is when he can find a former-MSZP (a credible “communist” like Katalin Szili) who can be critical of MSZP. I mean even the communists think that MSZP is bad, then they must be really bad. Brrr.
So everything is happy as can be in Orbánisztán.
Orban did not mislead the Jewish leaders.
“You have come to a country whose Jewish community is again under threat by horrific ideologies and acts, which are the remnants of the Middle Ages and the holocaust, where an elderly Chief Rabbi is attacked in the street, where Fascists are hailed, where the courts set murderers as role models for the young as squares, and streets are being named after keen anti-Semites, as the works of court poets of Hungarian Nazis are included in the national curriculum and thus polluting the souls of our students”
Gesagt, getan. Almost.
Orbán said he fancies the Portugese-owned building on Andrássy út, within two days the particular municipality got his engine running and is putting together a proposal (see link).
I imagine Bajnai or Materhazi and his minions debating endlessly, well, it’s maybe a bit too much, let’s do it this way, no, rather that way — Fidesz eats these idiots for breakfast.
It’s not a surprise that Fidesz and Jobbik between them command 67% of the sure votes according to the latest Media poll, when in the new system a concentrated 35% would already be enough for a majority, but a 42% would almost certainly mean a 2/3s in the Parliament.
Sad to say but in today’s world, it’s an unfair struggle between the lawful and the lawless; and between the honest and dishonest. For one thing, one side abides by rules and etiquette and the other shreds both as it sees fit.
From my reading of history, it is in situations like this that a Savanarola type comes into play…
Or if it doesn’t, then you have the ‘burn-them-down-and-let-them-all-suffer-syndrome’ like that which Hitler visited on Germany.
“However, the Prime Minister did not confront the true nature of the problem..”
Really ? He is the problem (or at least a big part of it).
It is WJC who failed to confront Orban rather that Orban failing to confront anyone. After all he went there and stood up in front of them.
What has been the point of having “chutzpah” and stage the WJC at Budapest if you then meltdown when the crunch time comes ?
This kind of “retro”- 1930s like- cultural policy (nationalistic with antisemitic undertones) is Fidesz’s cultural policy not something that Orban would “confront”.
I think that at least some members of the 13 recognised national minorities would disagree. 🙂 What you describe is essentially the concept of the “political nation,” which was a good, forward-thinking idea in 19th-century Hungary. It basically said, “let every inhabitant of Hungary [at that time, every subject to the Holy Crown] be part of the Hungarian nation” as opposed to the mediaeval concept that restricted the term “nation” to members of the three “estates.” Sadly, this extremely broad and uniquely Hungarian nation-concept was incompatible with the Western concept of the ethnic nation, which was so popular in 19th and 20th century Europe. The Treaty of Trianon was, in many ways, a consequence of this.
median poll 2013.04 [vs 2012.05]
Fidesz 29% [22%]
Jobbik 11% [11%]
Democratic opposition 23% [23%]
don’t say 36% [43%]
Do things go in the right direction in Hungary?
Yes 27% [16%]
No 64% [76%]
Popularity: Orban 36%, Bajnai 34%, Mesterhazy 30%, Gyurcsany 18%
Scenes from the Hungarian Mutament [< Parliament]
1. MPs are fined for showing a sign: "You steal, cheat and lie", referring to the Fidesz's tobacco license fraud.
Opposition MP Szanyi was not allowed to speak today in Parliament.
He wanted to express his outrage about the same topic. He had submitted his text, and was censored. His strongest expression would have been: "Aren't you ashamed?" – referring to the Fidesz and a minster Nemeth.
Back to the latest poll by Median
Do you want a change of government in 2014?
This is the important figure.
That change is possible: perhaps OV will include Jobbik also.
Are you satisfied with your own financial situation?
I agree with Sandor that Orbán’s speech at the WJC was “a Lego-assemblage of the usual panels and boiler-plate.” However, Orbán noticed what Feldmájer’s purpose was in organising the 14th WJC in Budapest: “Your leaders justified your visit by the fact that they wished to draw the world’s attention to increasing anti-Semitism in Hungary.”
Anyway, the effect was stunning. For the first time since Orbánisation in April 2010, the world media had a closer look at Hungary. And what they saw they mostly didn’t like.
BTW: Thanks to Pusztaranger for having informed us about the fact that the government website had finally posted Orbáns speech in English: http://www.kormany.hu/en/prime-minister-s-office/the-prime-ministers-speeches/speech-by-viktor-orban-at-the-14th-plenary-assembly-of-the-world-jewish-congress
Apparently, they now also have a better translator at the Orbán HQ. The speech is worth reading because it’s so revealing and has some really gross passages.
PS. I haven’t been commenting for a month or so because of two reasons. (1) I had an eye operation after which reading and typing were quite difficult. (2) I’m so sick and tired of these sordid Hungarian affairs that I really have to force myself to follow them, although I was amongst the first Cassandras even before April 2010. I didn’t know that it could be so sickening to have been right from the start!
May 6, 2013 at 1:59 pm | #21 Quote
How painfully right you are!
Both Csaba K. Zoltani and Joe Simon start with the same sentence: Orban’s speech was excellent.
Sounds like part of some “talking points”, issued by the FIDESZ political bureau.
Among the assemblage of Jewish brains and financial brawn, Viktor O. was, tinker-tailer-jumbo-dumbo.
No, these figures are national avarages like all poll numbers. But the system does not work that way and Fidesz likes it because it misleads everyone.
Fidesz’ advantage is much bigger.
That is the discontent of Budapest and the leftist and liberal voters of Budapest cannot make up for the zero traction they have in rural areas and I include all outside of Budapest districts in the rural category.
Fidesz is happy that the oppsoition voters are conatined in a small area of say 20 dictricts in Budapest, meanwhile in the other 85 districts are dominated by Fidesz or Jobbik. (with a system that will prefer the winner, weirdly compensate the winner of the individual dictrict elections the distrortion is huge. Since Fidesz popularity is even and national they may even be second place in the national polls and still end up as the overall winner if most of the oppsoition votes are concentrated (which is the case).
So, don’t bet on the discontent. Nn rural places (outside of Budapest) Fidesz is king and there is no method by which a party could target rural voters (Bajnai could not get a venue in his hometown of Baja last week).
This is right. For all its unique, invaluable, sober and intelligent analysis of events here in Hungary, there are comments on this blog that present far too rosy an analysis of the opposition’s chances and of people’s ‘discontent’. I live in a rural area and encounter (from highly educated people) almost no discontent from people regarding the government – and what little there is tends to be directed at either the EU, Gyurcsany or ‘ill-informed’ foreign journalists (or a bizarre conspiracy of the three).
The biggest masterstroke was the hijacking of the mainstream media. Coupled with widespread monolingualism (in other words an inability to encounter commentary from outside Hungary) and an education system that frowns upon individual analysis and free thinking, the prospects for ANY debate or questioning by the electorate are zero.
On another matter, I’m disappointed that Congress speakers did not really take the PM to task for Fidesz/Jobbik cooperation in local government, or for their repeatedly expressed support for Bayer (toasts at birthday parties, dismissal of criticism at press conferences etc). Here was an opportunity to ask questions and to make the man uncomfortable. And, by-and-large, the opportunity was spurned.
BTW also Jewish organizations sometimes are “crazy”. For example one jewish organisation from US granted award to antisemitic politician Janos Esterhazy who worked for destroying of democratic Czechoslovakia.
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