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Hungary: Jobbik MP wants to compile a list of Jewish politicians

Budapest, Hungary, 29.11.2012 1:46, (ROMEA)
A member of the Hungarian Guard, the paramilitary wing of the nationalist Jobbik party in Hungary founded on 25 August 2007 and formally dissolved by the Budapest Tribunal on 2 July 2009. (Illustrative photo:  Romea.cz archive).
A member of the Hungarian Guard, the paramilitary wing of the nationalist Jobbik party in Hungary founded on 25 August 2007 and formally dissolved by the Budapest Tribunal on 2 July 2009. (Illustrative photo: Romea.cz archive).

An MP with the chauvinist (radical nationalist) political formation called Movement for a Better Hungary (Jobbik) has declared in the Hungarian Parliament that he wants to create a list of Jewish MPs and members of the cabinet. His proposal was condemned by the Hungarian Government. The international Raoul Wallenberg Foundation has also protested against it.

Hungarian MP Márton Gyöngyösi, a member of the extreme-right party, proposed compiling such a list during Monday's debate on the recent conflict between Israel and the Palestinians. Gyöngyösi criticized the government for not clearly taking the side of the Palestinians. "When such a conflict unfolds, it is high time to evaluate how many MPs and cabinet members are of Jewish origin and represent a certain risk to Hungarian national security," the MTI agency quoted Gyöngyösi as saying.

Jobbik politicians are known for their xenophobic actions and statements, especially against Hungary's Romani minority. The party founded a paramilitary organization, the Hungarian Guard, which convenes anti-Romani events. This past summer, Jobbik announced "zero tolerance" for Romani people. The party believes that all "inadaptable Romanies" should leave Hungary.

Antisemitic statements have also been heard from the mouths of Jobbik members more and more frequently. One of the party leaders, an MEP, had to leave the party this year after his Jewish origin was revealed.

The Raoul Wallenberg Foundation, which engages in education about the Holocaust worldwide, has responded to Gyöngyösi's speech. The foundation's statement says that overtly antisemitic statements are becoming routine in the Hungarian Parliament and are a disgrace to the legislators who tolerate them.

Hungarian Foreign Minister Zsolt Németh, who was the target of the MP's call for the creation of such a list, has rejected the proposal - but not because of its antisemitic nature. Németh said he does not believe the number of Jewish politicians in Hungary has any relation to the conflict in the Middle East.

The Hungarian Government also condemned the proposal. A government spokesperson said the cabinet of Hungarian PM Viktor Orbán is "clearly against all manifestations of antisemitism, extremism, and racism and is committed to using all of its powers to suppress voices of hatred incompatible with European norms."

Jobbik is the country's third-strongest party, with 47 MPs in the 386-seat Parliament. Orbán's party, Fidesz, has a constitutional majority in the legislature. Critics of the party bear a grudge against it for radicalizing during the most recent elections so that a rising Jobbik would not attract extreme-right voters. This is leading to greater tolerance for xenophobic speech there. The Jewish Community in Hungary, which is 100 000 strong, expressed its concerns during the year over further developments in the country and the growing influence of Jobbik.

ČTK, translated by Gwendolyn Albert
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Aktuality, Antisemitismus, Evropa, Lidská práva, Maďarská garda, Politika, Projev, zprávy, Anticiganismus, Nacionalismus, Romové, Šíření nenávisti a nesnášenlivosti, Hungary, news, Roma, world



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