20 Dicembre 2010

Anti-Semitism in Hungary



Anti-Semitism in Hungary


László Molnár


Anti-Semitism reemerged in Hungary after the transition to democracy in 1989. There is, however, a notable difference between its earlier manifestations in the 1990s and recent developments. Traditional anti-Semitism has resurfaced and received an institutional framework, while verbal and physical aggression against Jews and Roma has intensified.


One of the major representatives of this institutionalized ideology is the openly anti-Semitic, anti-Roma party Jobbik, which received 17 percent of the vote in the April 2010 national elections. Jobbik’s popularity and its ties to paramilitary organizations are unique in the European Union. The Jobbik-affiliated far-right media is deeply embedded in the extremist circles and regularly presents anti-Semitic, racist, inciting content.


The far-right subculture plays a major role in the institutionalization of Hungarian anti-Semitism and extremism. This subculture ranges from nationalist shops – where one can find Nazi, neo-Nazi, and fascist literature along with pagan and wartime pro-Nazi, Hungarist symbols – to radical-nationalist and neo-Nazi festivals and events. Judging by its manifestations, the far-right subculture is deeply infected with aggressive, revisionist, neo-Nazi, and racist ideology, and has been able to promote this without any serious consequences throughout the country over the past decade.


The emergence of Jobbik enabled extremist organizations, far-right subculture and media, and marginalized extreme-right anti-Semitism to become part of the mainstream public discourse. The wave of violence in recent years must be understood within this context. The phenomenon in itself calls for immediate intervention, but in the greater historical perspective, the picture is worrying.