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Prime minister Viktor Orbán did not distance himself explicitly from far-right Jobbik

 

Viktor Orbán didn't do what Attila Mesterházy asked him to do in his speech on Sunday. He didn't explicitly and clearly distance himself from far-right Jobbik and condemn them. He refused to dismiss state secretary Zsolt Németh because of his inadequate answer to Jobbik parliamentarian Márton Gyöngyösi. He talked about the incident in a roundabout way by saying: "I rejected this call on behalf of the government and I would like you to know that as long as I am standing in this place, no one in Hungary can be hurt or discriminated against because of their faith, conviction or ancestry. We Hungarians do protect our Jewish compatriots. The Hungarian nation suffered through dictatorships. We will not allow anyone or any kind of ideology, economic interest or foreign power to divert Hungary from its democratic conviction and the respect of human dignity."

Orbán was responding to comments by Márton Gyöngyösi, one of Jobbik's 44 lawmakers in the 386-seat parliament, who said on November 27 during a debate on violence in the Gaza Strip that it would be "timely" to draw up a list of people of Jewish ancestry who posed a national security risk.

His remarks, for which he later apologized, triggered international outrage. The U.S. Embassy said it condemned "in the strongest terms the outrageous anti-Semitic remarks made on the floor of Parliament by a Jobbik parliamentarian".

Seeking to distance himself and his country from the comments – however he missed the opportunity to distance himself from the far-right party - , Orbán said Gyöngyösi's outburst had no place in modern Hungary. "Last week sentences were uttered in parliament which are unworthy of Hungary," Orbán told parliament, responding to a lawmaker from the opposition Socialist party.

Orbán read the above from a prepared text.

Left-wing liberals pointes out after Orbán's speech that there are at least two problems with this short reference to the event of last week. One is that Orbán speaks of "we Hungarians" protecting the Jews. The implication is that Jews are not Hungarians, not part of the nation. It is worth quoting here from Gordon Bajnai's speech where he talks about the "Hungarian Shoah [as] fratricide." The other problem is that unfortunately there was a time when "we Hungarians" failed to protect "our Jewish compatriots." The promise therefore sounded hollow.

Source: Reuters; Hungarian Spectrum

Last Updated on Friday, 30 August 2013 09:11

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