Frequently Refuted LiesMon, 2010-05-03 19:00
Since when are Hungarian nationalists, morons who have German words tattooed on their heads?
On the day of the 2010 Hungarian parliamentary elections, if you made a Google News search using the term "Jobbik" you found approximately 200 articles that mentioned the Movement for a Better Hungary, internationally. It took some time to read them all, but when you did, you discovered that they each had a common feature; and it might not be the one you think.
Not a single article, without exception, quoted even a solitary sentence of the Jobbik manifesto. Either the English language version which the press had two months to scrutinize, available here, or the Hungarian original published three months prior to the polls. Not a sentence, not a phrase, not a word. Not one.
How on earth did the journalists who wrote such material intend telling their readership the reasons why twice as many Hungarians voted for Jobbik in 2010, than they did, less than a year before that? (855,436 votes in 2010 versus the 427,773 we took at the European elections in June 2009) The truth is, that they had no intention of doing anything of the kind.
The best illustration of why the international press behaves how it does with respect to Jobbik, is in an article from that day in the Scotsman newspaper. It began, “The scenario is classic. Hungary's economy is in crisis, its large Roma minority is an easy scapegoat, and a far-right party blaming ‘Gypsy crooks’ and ‘welfare spongers’ is set to be the big winner.” Of note is not the plain rubbish written in the second sentence, but rather, what was written in the first.
What is this “classic scenario”? Quite simple really. Central Europeans + Economic Downturn = (or rather, must and can only equal) Hateful Extremists and persecution of minorities.
People don't behave like this anywhere else mind you, only around here. Take a few pennies out of a Hungarian's pocket, and he turns almost immediately into a slavering ultra-nationalist who on the way back from clubbing a local Gypsy, will pause only to hurl yet another brick through the windows of his nearest synagogue.
This scenario is too tempting to avoid, and too easy to question, writing anything else that might actually address the problems and concerns of Hungary and the facts about Jobbik, is of course, much too much like hard work.
It can’t possibly be that Jobbik is the only party dedicated to tackling the endemic corruption that costs Hungarians 3 billion Forints every single day. No! We must be extremists.
It can’t be, at all, that Jobbik is popular because it was the only Hungarian party to raise such taboo subjects as renegotiating the national debt, extending our arable-land sale moratorium, or questioning the role that unrestricted cowboy-capitalism has played here. No! We must be anti-Semitic.
Jobbik’s success in rural Hungary can’t have anything to do with how we suggested both tackling the crime that exists there, through a Gendarmerie, and tackling the causes of that crime through educational and social-security reforms. Not to mention how we promote the restructuring of the agricultural sector to be the rural economy's backbone. No! We must be anti-Roma racists.
And as for our opposition to how Hungary’s parliament signed the Lisbon treaty a day after it was issued, and before it was even translated into Hungarian; or the fact that we stress the interests of the persecuted Hungarians living in the countries which surround us; or how Hungary’s once great cultural output has disappeared, and our television screens are now filled with the cheapest possible remakes of the tawdriest examples of foreign programs imaginable. No! We must be xenophobes.
Business as usual it seems. Regular readers of jobbik.com will of course be familiar with the realities, but perhaps it would wise, considering the huge surge in traffic and press attention that has happened since the elections; to recap.
THE FACTS: You might as well, with the same level of plausibility, say that we are Neo-Pagans, Communists, funded by Mossad, controlled by Tehran, Third-Positionists, directed from Moscow, influenced by Al-Quaeda, or, really, a money laundering operation for an international cartel of bank robbers. Yes. All of this patent nonsense has been reported, quite seriously, in the Hungarian press. The reason why you will not have read it from international media, is of course that this brand of nonsense would not fit, the aforementioned “scenario.”
Jobbik in fact, has the best democratic credentials of any party in Hungarian politics. As a grass roots political organization, founded by Hungarians, it is unique in post-War and post-"regime change" national politics. Jobbik introduced its 2010 parliamentary manifesto to the public, over a month before any other party. Which was produced as a result of a six month nationwide consultative exercise with the Hungarian electorate, allowing the public to directly influence, and question, the content of our national political program. In addition, in the interests of international transparency our manifesto has been translated into English. No political party, in the entire history of Hungarian democracy, has ever done any of this.
Jobbik is a bottom-up political party, funded entirely by Hungarian people, in which it is the membership of, and sympathizers with, our 257 local party organizations that define and decide the party’s direction and purpose. Of the three other parties now voted into parliament, the winners Fidesz are a product of the largesse of the Soros Foundation, our direct opponents the MSZP were originally an import from Soviet Russia, while LMP is almost exclusively funded by an American national and multi-millionaire. To say nothing of the fact that both Fidesz and the MSZP are now under criminal investigation for concerted abuses of Hungarian electoral law.
As for Right-Wing political extremism, all the fundamental constitutional changes that Jobbik proposes are marked out by the desire to give less power to a centralised political elite, by giving more power to the people. Almost every major measure we propose, has an established contemporary precedent in one or more other European countries. We always have, and always will, be nothing more than a Christian conservative nationalist party. And the nationalism we promote is directly comparable to that accepted as the norm, by all parties in countries like France or Ireland. In terms of political policy we use nationalism not as an ideology, but as a tool for testing the usefulness of particular policy alternatives. (Feel free to read our manifesto and find out for a change what it is that we do actually stand for!)
One such policy deemed to have failed this "test of the national interest" is political correctness. The way we reason, is that Hungary has no hope of dealing with the problems it faces, in the crisis it is in: if it may not even name what these problems are. Of the crime that is the second most pressing issue in Hungary today (after the economy), the three most significant elements are, in descending order of importance: political criminality, corruption and gypsy crime.
THE FACTS: Firstly, no one in Hungary, with the possible exception of the politically ambitious and cosmopolitanly self-conscious news presenters, refers to Hungary’s Roma population by any other way, than with the word “Cigány.” Which translates into English as “Gypsy.” This includes of course the Gypsy population themselves. Second, have you noticed how all the news reports that refer to, and condemn, Jobbik’s supposed “rhetoric” never actually quote any of it, to let you judge it for yourself?
Predominantly resident in the North and East of Hungary, the Gypsy population was primarily employed in the manufacturing industry in 1989. The complete destruction of this industry, that came hand in hand with the change, has produced a situation in which significant communities of individuals have not seen work, for some two decades. It is this, the socio-cultural economic circumstances of such people, that has led to the predominant commission of certain types of crimes; and it has nothing at all to do with their ethnic origin.
But it is strange that all those who express outrage at Jobbik’s use of the term “gypsy crime” to describe this truism, never mention that when such Roma populations emigrate in significant numbers to countries like Canada, Italy or Northern Ireland; the communities they come to, suddenly find themselves victims of precisely these forms of criminality. Or is it supposed that their shameful racist Hungarian neighbours somehow move country with them?
Mirroring its approach to tackling political wrongdoing, and corruption (which both take up significantly more space in our manifesto) Jobbik has suggested an approach to tackling gypsy crime that deals with both its cause and its effects. The combination of a dedicated rural police service, or Gendarmerie, on the one hand; and social security and educational reforms on the other.
All such changes would be totally colour-blind and would apply to all.
Again, the mention of the term "Gendarmerie" has created consternation in some circles. But the fact is, that the policy of all parties in Hungary now mirrors that of Jobbik’s in this matter; except, that they do not include our social security and educational provisions. All parties now recognize the need to create a dedicated rural policing service, they simply omit to calling it by the name it has in every other country in the world.
This is what Jobbik does, bringing into the public eye the problems that the Hungarian political establishment would much rather sweep under the carpet, and compelling them into taking action. The Hungarian Guard has been a significant help in highlighting the problem of Gypsy / Magyar coexistence in Hungary, and prompting the political sea-change that has taken place.
THE FACTS: A paramilitary who is armed with nothing more fearful than a handkerchief is not worthy of the name, indeed any person who tells you such a person is a "paramilitary" or a member of a "militia" is telling you a deliberate lie. The carrying of any form of weapon whatsoever results in immediate summary expulsion from the Hungarian Guard.
We would also urge you to be suspicious of any press piece which in its hurry to lambast Jobbik, for its closeness to the Guard, conveniently forgets to mention that Fidesz, forecast to win today's elections by a landslide, have discussed at length the wisdom of establishing a practically identical “National Guard.”
What the Guard is, is an expression of the desire for public service, still latent for many Hungarians. It is a response to a society that has been produced in Hungary by the 20 years post-1989, in which our political leaders have promoted a selfish free-for-all and called it freedom. Also, it is a declaration that no Hungarian government has the right, to be so caught up in its own enrichment through corruption that it is thoroughly disinterested, in its effective abandonment of certain rural communities. The role of preserving Hungarian culture and heritage that the Guard plays; in addition to the fact that members are entirely self-funding, when they travel for example to areas of flooding to help relief efforts they do so at their own expense; are issues never considered noteworthy in the international press.
Anyone actually familiar with the activities of the Guard would immediately dismiss the idea of them being involved in violence, as preposterous. In three years of existing in Hungary not a single criminal act, violent or otherwise, has ever been committed by a member of the Hungarian Guard.
During the Spring and Summer of 2009 six Gypsies were murdered across Hungary in a spate of cold-blooded assassinations. The perpetrators of these terrible crimes were captured in September of that year; and in the eight months to date, those prosecuting and investigating them have found no link, either direct or incidental, between these men and the Hungarian Guard. Also, despite these tragic deaths, the fact remains that per capita, the number of racially motivated hate crimes in Hungary is positively microscopic when compared to those committed per head of population in countries like France, Sweden or the United Kingdom.
Nevertheless, you will not encounter any of these easily verifiable facts in any recent news story about Jobbik, of course not, they would spoil the story. And the case of the Hungarian Guard is a perfect illustration of the desperate and persistent desire to bash the square peg, of today’s Hungarian nationalism, into its "allotted" round hole of extremism. Journalists for example who see a picture of a person in a white top and black waistcoat, and say, that what they in fact see is a blackshirt. When anyone will tell you that a white shirt and black waistcoat has been traditional peasant formal attire in Hungary for centuries and has never been the uniform of anybody. When dark comments are made about "fascist" paraphernalia or symbols "reminiscent" of the 1940s what is being referred to, and why are these references always so vague? Simply, because any clarification would rapidly dismiss such fear-mongering as drivel.
The Flag of the Royal House of Árpád (pictured) has been a symbol of the Hungarian nation, everywhere, for over 800 years. Precisely because it was, and has for centuries been – everywhere – it was also used briefly and in bastardized form, by a tyrannical four month long government in Hungary complicit in the holocaust. But neither Jobbik nor the Hungarian Guard “resurrected” this symbol, because it has continued to be used as the emblem of government departments, rural municipalities, and parliamentary banners, for decades in post-War Hungary, long before Jobbik or the Hungarian Guard even existed. It is no more a symbol of extremism than the Lion and the Unicorn, the Bald Eagle or the Maltese Cross. And when it is suggested that it is, in foreign reportage, Hungarians rightfully feel a sense of indignance in the defence of their heritage, and a flag which represents a Royal House which has more canonized saints amongst its number, than a great many entire countries do.
The Hungarian Guard has also been the subject of a prolonged civil case with the state, which may be best summarized by a word-for-word citation of a remark made by the chief prosecutor in the state’s initial indictment. Quote. “Nothing better exemplifies the danger posed by the Hungarian Guard, than the fact that when they parade through a particular rural community, the members of that community come out into the street to applaud them.” Unquote.
THE FACTS: First, Jobbik has never denied the holocaust, and persistently refutes as absurd the idea that it is anti-Semitic. Nevertheless, it was not a Jobbik party member that chose to fly to Tel Aviv’s Hilton Hotel on 10th October 2007, to disguise himself as Simon Peres, and then make a public statement pretending to be the head of Israel, to say that it was “buying up Hungary.” No. The Israeli President managed to do this all on his own. And the indignation that resulted from it in Hungary has been a product of what was said, not who said. As Hungarian nationalists we would consider it an unacceptable statement had it come from the President of Denmark, the Prime Minister of Burkina Faso, or the Sultan of Oman.
Furthermore, the significant role played by Israeli companies in terms of receiving lucrative government contracts, and the Hungarian property market, is beyond denial. Some 70% of all property development in Budapest is conducted by Israeli owned firms. Twenty separate Israeli companies dominate the Budapest property market,* and own the vast majority of our capital’s shopping centres, office blocks, and prestige hotels; in addition to most of the recently constructed residential blocks in the city.
Extensive levels of fraud, bribery, underselling and corruption has taken place in order to make all this possible; both at the local- and senior-government level. To say nothing of the fact that the face of the Hungarian capital, which used to be regarded worldwide for its classic architecture and the strict building regulations that it observed, has been changed completely by this construction boom of mostly modernist buildings of cheapest possible manufacture. The lowliest council functionary, up to the highest levels of government, have been implicated in this affair e.g. the troubling relationship between Israeli property magnate Joav Blum and both former Prime Ministers Ferenc Gyurcsány and Gordon Bajnai. These are simply the facts.
Massive sums have changed hands. And perhaps the most sickening part of this whole saga is how so many Hungarian front bench politicians, have used their maintenance of dual Israeli – Hungarian nationality, as a cynical form of virtual immunity in regard of these types of scandals: being immediately able to condemn anyone with the temerity of drawing attention to their actions, as an anti-Semite.
As a matter of international policy, the Movement for a Better Hungary, has always been primarily sympathetic to the Palestinian cause in the long running Arab – Israeli conflict; in marked contrast to previous national administrations. Again, this is simply because as Hungarian nationalists, we can sympathise more readily with a people who have had their land taken away from them, in order to form a new country. Given that 75% of the Kingdom of Hungary was torn from our nation by the Trianon peace diktat in 1920.
This allegiance has been sufficient to classify Jobbik in the minds of several Israeli News Agencies, as anti-Semitic, and Jobbik is subject to this charge persistently and relentlessly as a result. Nevertheless, we maintain that the charge is a completely invalid one, because the religious adherence or not of any of the parties involved, has absolutely no bearing or relevance whatsoever to these matters, only the facts, and people's actions do.
*These companies are: the Ablon Group, the Arlon/Neocity Group, Autóker Holding Zrt., Brack Capital Real Estate, BSR Europe, CEE, Coral Holding, Cordia Magyarország, Elephant Holding, the Engel Group, GB Európa Ingatlan, Home Center, Minrav (Yozma), the Ofer Brothers Group, the Olimpia Group, Plaza Centers, Pro-Mot Hungária, Shiraz, the SL Group and Sybil Holdings.