In an interview published on Feb. 2, 2012 with Orlando Radice conducted in Hungary for the London based Jewish Chronicle, Marton Gyongyosi, the foreign affairs spokesman of Jobbik, the ultra-nationalist party poised to play a leading role in Hungarian politics, openly questioned the Holocaust and claimed that Jews are colonizing the country. (Picture above: Jobbik political ad for the 2009 election for the European Parliament. The text means “We will grow up. We will get stronger.”
Anti-Semitism has become a problem for Hungary's 150,000-strong Jewish community and even more for the Roma (Gypsies) that have been facing discrimination and hate. In the country’s elections in April, 2010, the center-right Fidesz party won a commanding majority and the Fascist Jobbik party took 47 of 386 parliamentary seats (12.18%) - more parliamentary seats than any other far-right party since the Nazi era. Jobbik is set to capitalize on the country's current economic and political woes as Hungary is facing economic meltdown, with unemployment at 10.6 per cent.
Jobbik, The Movement for a Better Hungary (Hungarian: Jobbik Magyarországért Mozgalom), commonly known as Jobbik, is a Hungarian radical nationalist political party founded in October 2003. Jobbik has been denoted by scholars, different press outlets and its political opponents as fascist, neo-fascist, anti-Semitic, anti-Roma and homophobic.
The party describes itself as "a principled, conservative and radically patriotic Christian party", whose "fundamental purpose" was the protection of "Hungarian values and interests." Jobbik rejects globalised capitalism, and the influence of foreign investors in Hungary.
A senior civil servant in the Hungarian Foreign Ministry warned about the party: "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."
Gyongyosi said that Israel's treatment of the Palestinians amounted to a "Nazi system." Based on this assessment, he questioned whether Jews "have the right to talk about what happened during the Second World War".
Far from seeking to whitewash his party's reputation ahead of a possible role in government, Mr. Gyongyosi, a fluent English speaker, questioned whether 400,000 Jews really were killed or deported from Hungary during the Second World War. "It has become a fantastic business to jiggle around with the numbers," he said.
Referring to a speech made by Shimon Peres in 2007 in which the Israeli President celebrated the success of Israeli businessmen around the world, including Hungary, Mr. 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."
When it was suggested that Hungary should face up to and apologize for its role in the Holocaust, Mr Gyongyosi said: "Me, should I say sorry for this when 70 years later, I am still reminded on the hour, every hour about it? Let's get over it, for Christ's sake. I find this question outrageous."
Meanwhile, Jobbik is actively developing a relationship with Iran. In January last year, Jobbik’s president, Gabor 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 Mr Vona declared: "For Iran, Hungary is the gate to the West."
Mr Gyongyosi appeared to support Iran in its oft-stated aim to wipe Israel off the map. He also heads the Iranian-Hungarian friendship committee. He said: "I always support the position of a threatened country.”Iran is in the centre 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."
As a son of a foreign tradesman, Gyongyosi lived in Egypt, Iraq and Afghanistan for many years. He believes Hungary has huge commercial and economic opportunities in this region and should exploit these opportunities.
The Iranian connection may also be influenced by Jobbik's interpretation of Hungarian nationalism that includes the ideology of Turanism which stresses the (alleged) origin of the Magyar peoples in Central Asia, and the links of the Hungarians to Asian, especially Turkic peoples. Therefore Jobbik leader Gábor Vona favors Hungary turning away from the West (including the Euro-Atlantic alliances) and towards the "East", to form a "Turanian alliance" whose "Western bastion" Hungary should become.
Israel, says Mr Gyongyosi, was founded by "terrorists" and today runs a "Nazi system, based on racial hatred. Look at Lieberman, he's no different to Goebbels. He is a pure Nazi." And Israel's policies in the West Bank and Gaza, which, according to Mr Gyongyosi, amount to shooting women and children and building an "apartheid wall", mean that "the Jews don't have the right to talk about what happened in the Second World War."
It is Jobbik that has Greater Hungarian irredentist claims with pleas for cross-border ethnic self-determination. For example, the party demands "territorial autonomy" for the Székely Land in Romania and desires to make Transcarpathian Ukraine an independent Hungarian district.
Jobbik’s has also tried to create a para-military organization to support their objectives of Hungarian nationalism. In June 2007, Gábor Vona, the leader of Jobbik, supported by the party, founded and registered the organization called Magyar Gárda (English: Hungarian Guard Movement). It was a nationalist organization related to (and allegedly funded by) the Jobbik party. It was founded through an "oath of loyalty to Hungary" by its members in Buda Castle, Budapest, on 25 August 2007. It was dissolved by the Budapest Tribunal on 2 July 2009.
Jobbik’s declared support for Krisztina Morvai for the position of the president of Hungary has also solidified their support for anti-Semitism. Morvai was elected on the list of Jobbik in the 2009 European Parliament elections and has repeatedly expressed anti-Jewish sentiments.
Morvai made a statement on the eve of the 2009 elections to the European parliament that: I would be greatly pleased if those who call themselves proud Hungarian Jews played in their leisure with their tiny circumcised dicks, instead of besmirching me. Your kind of people are used to seeing all of our kind of people stand to attention and adjust to you every time you fart. Would you kindly acknowledge this is now OVER. We have raised our head up high and we shall no longer tolerate your kind of terror. We shall take back our country."
In March 2009 the Jewish Telegraphic Agency and Jungle World quoted an undated and otherwise unreported speech in 2008 in which Morvai "advised" the "liberal-Bolshevik Zionists" to "start thinking of where to flee and where to hide".
In February 2009, Morvai objected to Israel's offensive in the Gaza Strip and called it a "mass murder" and "genocide" of the Palestinian people and in an open letter to the Israeli ambassador to Hungary wrote that Israel held itself above the law and that its leaders would be imprisoned for their actions in Gaza, she continued, "The only way to talk to people like you is by assuming the style of Hamas. I wish all of you lice-infested, dirty murderers will receive Hamas' 'kisses.'"
Her supporters however, claim that though she certainly has a record of being critical of the state of Israel given a sympathy for the Palestinian cause she developed while working as an international human rights lawyer, the idea of Morvai being an anti-Semite is "simply ridiculous," given that at the time of her alleged remarks she was married to an Hungarian of Jewish origin, with whom she has three children, but from whom she is now separated.
In an e-mail to the Jerusalem 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.”
Government reaction to the Gyongyosi interview included a statement by Zoltan Balog, Hungary's Minister of State for Social Inclusion, who said: "Jobbik play a dangerous game. They are making use of old paranoia at a time of economic crisis."
Hungary’s Foreign Ministry on Feb. 5, 2012 criticized anti-Semitic and pro-Iranian regime statements of Marton Gyongyosi. The spokesman added that Hungary’s Foreign Ministry opposed Jobbik’s pro-Iran position and “Jobbik supported Iran.” Hungary “rejects all forms of Holocaust denial,” he said.