Tag Archives: Hungary

Special Report: Rise of far right in Europe being overlooked

Western mainstream media had been fully geared up to cover the expected victory of the far right presidential candidate, Norbert Hofer, in the recent Austrian election. The win of the Green party candidate, Alexander Van der Bellen, robbed them of the opportunity to cover what they had been predicting as the first European post-Second World War far right head of state election victory.

Norbert Hofer
Norbert Hofer

Yet, the rise of far right European parties and candidates into the established international realpolitik, rather than their traditional fringe position, is something that has been and is being fundamentally overlooked.

In France, the far-right National Front won 6.8 million votes in regional elections in 2015 – its largest ever popular endorsement.

The far-right Jobbik party who polled third in Hungaryorganises patrols by an unarmed but uniformed “Hungarian Guard” in Roma (Gypsy) neighbourhoods.

In Denmark, the government relies on the support of the nationalist Danish People’s Party and has the toughest immigration rules in Europe.

While, the leader of the nationalist Finns Party is the foreign minister of Finland, after it joined a coalition government last year.

Andrzej Duda
Andrzej Duda

Less than a year after Poland elected Andrzej Duda, a previously little-known right-wing politician as president, Warsaw’s nationalist government moved to strip a leading Jewish Holocaust scholar of a national honour for asserting simply what the previous Polish presidential incumbent, Bronislaw Komorowski, acknowledged. Namely, that Poland was in part responsible for Nazi war crimes against its Jewish population during World War II.

Perhaps one of most shocking situations currently exists in Croatia. During World War II, Croatia was ruled by the Ustashi, an axis-aligned regime that was every bit as bad as the Nazis. The Ustashi killed over 600,000 people, 500,000 of which were Serbs. The Ustashi-ruled Independent State of Croatia had a population of around 6.3 million, meaning the Ustashi killed around one in 10 of its own people. Eighty percent of the nation’s Jews were murdered.

Ustashi
Ustashi – axis-aligned regime during World War II, every bit as bad as the Nazis.

Now the Ustashi are making a comeback. It has now penetrated cabinet ministers and the mainstream media. Ognjen Kraus, the leader of Croatia’s Jewish communities, said that the government “is simply not doing anything” and that it “does not want to.”

The nation’s new right-wing coalition that came to power at the start of the year is responsible for much of this change. As part of that coalition, Zlatko Hasanbegović became Croatia’s culture minister in January. He was once a member of a small far-right, pro-Ustashi party.

Ustashi supporters in modern Croatia
Ustashi supporters in modern Croatia

Since taking office, Hasanbegović has cut funds for progressive groups and independent media and has endorsed a revisionist documentary film that denies the scale of the crimes committed by Croatia during its alliance with Nazi Germany in the 1940s.

Reporters Without Borders, the Simon Wiesenthal Center and Serb and Jewish groups in the region have all condemned the new government.

The government’s tolerance of such a man as a minister in government is creating a climate of fear throughout the country.

Croatian soccer fans frequently chant Nazi-era slogans during games with only indirect criticism from the government. During one game with Israel, fans were heard to shout, “We Croats! Ustashi! Ustashi!”

Efraim Zuroff, the director of the Simon Wiesenthal Center’s office in Israel and Eastern Europe, warned that Croatia is “a country where manifestations of fascism and anti-Semitism are very common, especially in the local soccer stadiums, but not easily identifiable by those ignorant of the country’s World War II and Holocaust history.”

In the UK much of the media coverage of anti-Semitic issues has focused attention to the political left following the storm that has engulfed the Labour Party. Equally, many in the western media, following mass immigration stories and terrorist outrages, have, unsurprisingly, concentrated on radical Islamist matters and any associated anti-Semitism. Yet, if world history, our history, tells us one thing, we cannot afford to ignore or overlook the rise of the far right. If the mainstream media will not do it we shall have to do it for ourselves.

Visibility must be a price worth paying as anti-Semitism continues to thrive in Europe

coollogo_com-23172872

When AntiSemitismWatch launched its groundbreaking survey on the experience of ultra-Orthodox Jewish communities in the UK last year, it had a working premise. Namely, that their visibility would mean they were likely to have a markedly different experience in regards to anti-Semitism than the wider mainstream Jewish communities.

The results significantly bore out that theory, casting a huge shadow over the reliability of the published UK anti-Semitic hate crime figures.

Of all the respondents, 77% had witnessed or experienced anti-Semitism in the previous 12 months.

Of those, 49% had witnessed or experienced 3 or more anti-Semitic incidents (8% had witnessed or experienced 10 or more Anti-Semitic incidents in the previous 12 months).

images-3However, it would be wrong to leave the impression that vulnerability of visibility is an exclusive preserve of the ultra-Orthodox or the UK.

Just recently a Jewish student was denied a seat on a train in Berlin due to her Magen-David necklace.

Two women saw her, noticed her necklace, then put their bags on the empty seats next to them, to prevent her from sitting down.  They reaffirmed their actions through words of hate towards her.

Disgracefully, the other passengers studiously ignored what was going on and looked at the floor or window.

images-2The victim said she experiences such negative experiences whenever her Magen-David is visible, therefore,  usually choosing to hide it with a scarf.

On Wednesday we reported that Guy Muller of the Netherlands Center for Information and Documentation on Israel (CIDI) explained the hazards of appearing externally Jewish in public: “If you walk around and are identifiable as a Jew, there is a higher chance that you will be attacked. We know that there are people who are attacked more than once each year.”

Famously, Zvi Ammar, the head of Marseille’s Israelite Consistory urged men to stop wearing their kippah after yet a further violent anti-Semitic attack on a Jew.

Mr Ammar called on Jews “not to wear the kippah in the street to avoid being identified as Jewish”.

“It is sad to find ourselves in this position in 2016, in a great democratic country like France,” he said.

images“But faced with an exceptional situation, we have to take exceptional measures. It causes me such pain to come to this conclusion but I do not want anyone to die in Marseille because they had a kippah on their head.”

This led to remarkable scenes of French politicians, so usually ardent in their advocacy of secularism, wearing kippot into the national parliament.

None of these are truly a surprise against the backdrop of the rocketing rates of European anti-Semitism.

Just to say it was revealed that 35% of Hungarians hold “high or moderate” anti-Semitic views.

The survey, which questioned 1,200 Hungarian citizens on their views toward Jews, was initiated by the Action and Protection Foundation, a Hungarian organization combating anti-Semitism in the country.

Twenty-three percent of respondents claimed to hold “extreme” anti-Semitic views towards Jews, while 12% claimed to hold “moderate” anti-Semitic views towards Jews. Shockingly, 31% said they do not wish to have Jewish neighbors.

Even in neighboring Poland there is a high level of anti-Semitism. A survey conducted by the National Institute for Public Opinion Research found that 37% of respondents said they “do not like Jews”.

Yet, despite all of this, does AntiSemitismWatch suggest hiding away our precious signs of our Judaism? Of course not!

Do not hide. Take sensible precautions, in the same way any community or individual should, and rally, campaign and argue the point, but never hide. When they have forced us into hiding, that is a victory, the first broken window.

It will only encourage more of the same actions. Instead, find wherever the hate is being preached and stand against it.

Stand strong our friends!

Best ever response to anti-Semitism? Go win an Oscar!

In January, AntiSemitismWatch reported that Some Hungarians had responded with anti-Semitic abuse to the news that “Son of Saul”, a film set during the Holocaust, may win this year’s Academy Award for best foreign film.

With some labelling it “Holokamu” (Holocaust con or hoax), one Holocaust-denier described it as “Science fiction!” on his Facebook page.

Well, in the best tradition of serving up an appropriate response, win an Oscar is precisely what the film went and did last night!

images

It really is enough to make one smile 🙂

Planned glorification of Lithuanian priest who organised Jewish massacre protested

Over the last 12 months there has been an escalation in rows over historical memory related to the Second World War and the glorification of some of those with highly suspect records. They predominantly relate to Eastern European nations the most recent of which was Hungary.

Now the small town of Moletai in Lithuania has come under fire for its announcement that it intends to name a street after Jonas Zvinys, a local priest accused of organizing a gang that murdered the city’s Jews in 1941.Moletai.12

Lithuanian writer Ruta Vanagaite launched an investigation into Zvinys at the behest of Simon Wiesenthal Center Nazi hunter Dr. Efraim Zuroff, with whom she recently co-authored a book on Lithuanians and the Holocaust.

Speaking with The Jerusalem Post from Vilnius on Thursday, Vanagaite said that after searching through KGB archives she discovered that the priest indeed set up the gang in question, one of whose leaders was his own brother, who would later confess to his role in the massacre.

At Vanagaite’s urging, local news portal delfi.it investigated the matter as well, discovering that Zvinys had been awarded a colonelcy in 2002 by the office of the president at the behest of the country’s state-sponsored Study of the Genocide and Resistance of the Residents of Lithuania.

Delfi asked the center about Zvinys and was referred to the president’s office and the Moletai municipality, with the local mayor, who is related to Zvinys, asking why there should be a problem in honoring him if he was already feted by the government.

They were all throwing the ball to each other and no one wants to investigate without somebody else asking for it,” Vanagaite said. “I think it’s good because it shows that the whole system doesn’t work because there is nobody who takes responsibility to investigate without anybody asking for it and nobody asks for it.”

“The media exposure that this case has generated may serve as a deterrent to other towns interested in glorifying Holocaust collaborators”, she said.

Follow this link to the original article source.

Hungary at it again in looking to glorify anti-Semite

AntiSemitismWatch has previously reported on the seemingly regular inappropriate attempts at glorification in Hungary of its World War II past. In the latest twist, Hungarian Jews have protested a new government plan to honor a Holocaust-era politician who supported anti-Semitic legislation.

The controversy that unfolded Tuesday between the Mazsihisz umbrella group of Jewish communities and the government concerns a statue scheduled to be unveiled in Budapest in the presence of government officials on Wednesday of Gyorgy Donath – a lawmaker who supported discriminatory laws against Jews that historians say served as the legal foundation for their persecution by the German Nazis and their Hungarian collaborators.

Gyorgy Donath
Gyorgy Donath

This “far-right, anti-Semitic politician deserves no statue in Hungary,” Mazsihisz wrote in a statement published Tuesday.

The unveiling of a statue of Donath follows earlier scandals including a plan to commemorate Balint Homan, a Hungarian Holocaust-era minister who supported and promoted the same laws. In December, following protests by Mazsihisz, the Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán, said that the plans by a nonprofit organization dedicated to Homan’s legacy to erect the monument in his honor in Szekesfehervar near Budapest will not come to pass.

Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán
Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán

In 2014, Mazsihisz briefly suspended its talks with Orban’s center-right government in protest of its support of yet another controversial commemorative project – a statue dealing with Hungary under the rule of Nazi Germany and its pro-Nazis collaborators.

Unveiled in July that year in Budapest, it is a statue of an angel being attacked by a German eagle – a design which critics say glosses over Hungary’s active role in sending some 450,000 Jews to their deaths during the Holocaust. The Hungarian government disputes the interpretation, arguing the figure attacked represents all victims of fascism and not the Hungarian state.

Read more here.

Condemnation of Hungary and its far-right glorification

The Simon Wiesenthal Center has blasted Hungarian officials for their failure to stop a Neo Nazi event in the city of Szekesfehervar, where a proposed statue to honor Balint Homan, a major Hungarian anti-Semite and Nazi collaborator was recently halted only following an international outcry.

Mark Weitzman, the Wiesenthal Center’s Director of Government Affairs, who helped spearhead the international protests against the monument, declared, “This weekend’s scheduled event in  featuring a SS veteran and neo-Nazis followed by a concert (See Flyer) is another blatant attempt to honor and glorify the perpetrators of the Holocaust. For such an event to be allowed to go forward without any condemnation in the country that is currently chairing the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance and has a law against Holocaust denial, is an exercise in political and historical hypocrisy.”

 

“When I met with the mayor of Szekesfehervar in December regarding the proposed Homan statue, he expressed his concern that Szekesfehervar would be remembered for that controversy. In light of this weekend’s planned event, we can say that it is clear that Szekesfehervar will be notorious from now on as a city that allows the glorification of Nazis,” Weitzman concluded.

Shocking anti-Semitism….. over a film!

Some Hungarians have responded with anti-Semitic abuse to the news that “Son of Saul,” a film set during the Holocaust, directed by Laszlo Nemes, may win this year’s Academy Award for best foreign film. The film has already won the Grand Prix at the Cannes Film Festival last summer and a Golden Globe this month, for its portrayal of a Hungarian-Jewish prisoner in Auschwitz who is trying to give a dignified burial to the body of a boy he believes is his son.

But, according to The Age, some Hungarians are calling it “Holokamu” (Holocaust con or hoax). And one Holocaust-denier described it as “Science fiction!” on his Facebook page.

“Jewish propaganda!” and “For Jews, about Jews,” went some of the responses on social media. Others were too vile to repeat on a decent website.

“So many anti-Semitic comments have been made; it’s a disgrace,” a member of the Budapest Jewish community told The Age, adding, “I wonder if the West is aware of how people here think.”

In the 21st century, antisemitism in Hungary has evolved and received an institutional framework, in the popular Hungarian party Jobbik, which received 17 percent of the vote in the April 2010 national election — this while verbal and physical aggression against Jews has escalated.

The far-right subculture in Hungary, which ranges from nationalist shops to radical-nationalist and neo-Nazi festivals and events, plays a major role in the institutionalization of modern Hungarian antisemitism. The contemporary antisemitic rhetoric has been updated and expanded, but is still based on the old antisemitic notions. The traditional accusations and motifs include such phrases as Jewish occupation, international Jewish conspiracy, Judeo-Bolshevism, and good, old-fashioned blood libels as well as accusations against “Jewish bankers” who have caused Hungary’s monetary crisis. There’s also the quaint the Palestinization of the Hungarian people conspiracy theory, suggesting the Zionists plan to take over Hungary as soon as they’re done with the Arabs.

Follow the link to the original article here.