BERLIN – A spokesman for the anti-Jewish and pro-Iranian Jobbik political party in Hungary cast doubt last week on the veracity of the Holocaust in Hungary, compared Israel with Nazi Germany, and said Jews are invading Hungary, according to the London-based Jewish Chronicle.
The extremist right-wing Jobbik party has 47 deputies in the Hungarian Parliament.
Marton Gyongyosi, the foreign affairs spokesman of Jobbik, told the Chronicle that it is questionable whether 400,000 Hungarian Jews were murdered or deported during the Holocaust.
“It has become a fantastic business to jiggle around with the numbers,” said Gyongyosi.
In an interview with the British newspaper’s Orlando Radice, Gyongyosi added that the Jewish state's policies toward the Palestinians amounted to a “Nazi system.”
Political commentator Tom Gross, who has written extensively about anti-Semitism in Europe, told The Jerusalem Post on Saturday that “the developments in Hungary, a European Union and NATO member state right in the heart of Europe, are very worrying indeed. And the failure of the EU as an institution to make clear to the Hungarians that this kind of anti-Semitism and Holocaust denial is utterly unacceptable is also deeply troubling. Hungary should consider outlawing parties like Jobbik if they don’t dismiss Gyongyosi as a spokesman.”
According to the interview with Gyongyosi, he said Israel was created by “terrorists,” adding that the Jewish state is a “Nazi system, based on racial hatred. Look at Lieberman – he’s no different to Goebbels. He is a pure Nazi.”
Gyongyosi termed Israel’s West Bank security barrier, which has reduced the number of terror attacks against Israelis, an “apartheid wall” and said “the Jews don’t have the right to talk about what happened in the Second World War.”
The London-based newspaper reported that in connection with a speech by President Shimon Peres in 2007, in which he highlighted the success of Israeli businessmen in Hungary and across the globe, Gyongyosi said, “Jews are looking to build outside of Israel. There is a kind of expansionism in their behavior. If Peres is supporting colonization, it is a natural reaction for people to feel that Jews are not welcome here.”
Prof. Dovid Katz, a leading expert on Eastern European and Baltic-based anti-Semitism, told the Post on Saturday that “the situation in Hungary is much more volatile than it looks. Much of what Jobbik is saying is embraced by Fidesz. A certain type of anti-Semitism is camouflaged as center-right.”
Katz, one of the world’s leading Yiddish scholars, was professor of Yiddish at Vilnius University from 1999 to 2010. He is the editor of DefendingHistory.com, which monitors Holocaust obfuscation and the Double Genocide movement in Lithuania and Eastern Europe.
Speaking from Vilnius in Lithuania on Saturday, Katz continued that “Jobbik, by carrying out the work of the ‘Nasty Far Right’ is in effect enabling the ‘Camouflaged Far Right’ – the Fidesz government itself, presenting itself as center-right to the naives of Western Europe – to pursue deeply anti-democratic, anti-Semitic and fascist-glorifying policies. Since 2010, these have included passing a law that in effect criminalizes the accurate history of the Holocaust [by insisting on Soviet and Nazi crimes being deemed equally to constitute ‘genocide’].”
Hungary’s center-right Fidesz party controls a two-thirds majority in the parliament.
Viktor Orban, Hungary’s conservative prime minister, is the leader of Fidesz. Critics have long argued that Orban has failed to crack down on state-sponsored anti-Semitic and anti- Israeli comments stemming from his party’s loose ties with Jobbik.
In an e-mail to the Post on Saturday, the New York-based political commentator Ben Cohen wrote, “Gyongyosi’s remarks neatly demonstrate the overlap of extreme-right and far-left anti-Semitism: paranoia about Jewish economic and political influence, downright lies about Jewish history and pathological loathing of Israel and Zionism. They also demonstrate that however much of Hungary regards itself as a modern, European state, a large swathe of public opinion remains steeped in an ignorance that borders on barbarism.”
Cohen has written about rising Hungarian anti-Semitism for Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty.
Jobbik’s president, Gabor Vona, has established strong political ties with Iran’s regime. The wide-ranging interview with Gyongyosi noted that “Jobbik is actively developing a relationship with Iran. In January last year, Vona took the Iranian ambassador to the Hungarian town of Tiszavasvari, which Mr Vona called ‘the capital of our movement.’ And in October, Jobbik hosted a large Iranian delegation to Hungary, at which Vona declared: ‘For Iran, Hungary is the gate to the West.’”
According to the Chronicle, a senior civil servant in the Hungarian Foreign Ministry said, “We are very, very worried. The prime minister could easily fail in the coming months, taking the ruling party down with him, and Jobbik is well placed to become the largest party in parliament in an election.”
The newspaper wrote that “Mr Gyongyosi appeared to support Iran in its oft-stated aim to wipe Israel off the map.”
“I always support the position of a threatened country. Iran is in the center of a Middle East axis that Israel and the US want to subjugate and keep under their control. Iran is an extremely peaceful country and never started a war, unlike Israel, which has declared wars on anything and everybody around it,” said Gyongyosi.