So who is racist here?

Hypocritically enough, Viktor Orbán, who has been washing people’s brains with his anti-Semitic anti-Soros campaign for years, is now trying to prove Jobbik’s alleged extremism in his year-opening speech. In his attempt to do so, he’s using my unfortunate speech delivered in the Parliament seven years ago. Nothing seems to pain Fidesz more than the realization that they are now Hungary’s far right party and they are trying really hard to stick this label on someone else.

I have to disappoint Orbán and his pals. They may keep trying to rake up unfortunate and bad statements from Jobbik’s past just to question our people’s party policy. However, their allegations have no foundation because our people’s party policy was based on the very lesson that Fidesz’ governance taught us: a lot of danger lies in a policy that is built on hatred and the creation of enemy images. Jobbik may have committed mistakes earlier but we realized that true patriotism may not be based on polarization. We were able to make efforts and change, both at the individual and the organizational level. I know it doesn’t make sense in Orbán’s world but I believe that morality overrides political rationality. When we oppose Fidesz’ hatemongering and say that we want to heal the wounds of the past rather than open them up again, and we want to build bridges rather than look for enemies everywhere, that’s exactly what we mean by that. I am convinced that true patriotism is to enrich Hungary with the one that lives in our hearts rather than destroy the one that lives in other people’s hearts.

Since the Prime Minister referred to me in his oratorical piece, I want to assert that my unfortunate speech was about dual citizenship and not origins. I apologized for the bad choice of words immediately and have repeated it multiple times since then. I made it clear that I committed a mistake and I learnt my lesson. I reject any discrimination of people based on their origins or religion and I once again apologize to those who were offended by my words. And that’s the very reason why my apology is neither for Fidesz nor for Viktor Orbán who, clinging to his power, has completely lost control of his instigation and hatemongering. Neither Orbán nor Fidesz have any moral ground to hold me or Jobbik to account.

Contrary to Jobbik where István Szávay submitted his resignation for his boorish remarks, not only do Orbán and Fidesz allow acts of gutter racism go unpunished, they explicitly encourage such behaviour. It’s enough to remind you of the acts committed by Fidesz lawmaker János Pócs who burnt a reference to George Soros on the carcass of a scorched pig, which amused the Fidesz audience quite much. We expected an apology from Fidesz’ leaders – and we are still waiting as they have failed to apologize. Together with hundreds of my sensible and morally sound compatriots, we signed a manifesto to protest against this ignoble act. I signed the manifesto, too. Just for the sake of Fidesz propagandists, let me remark here that the reason why I did so was not because I agree with George Soros but because, as a man of Christian values, I resent any attempt to humiliate a fellow human being in such a manner. It’s not a question of sympathy, it’s a question of humanity although I’m not sure Fidesz have heard of such a thing.

Of course, I do know that the purpose of citing my speech, which evokes bad memories, is part of a carefully considered political agenda: a power hungry dictator’s lowly attempt at preventing any dialogue between the opposition parties. What Viktor Orbán is worried about is not the Hungarian Jewish community but his own power. And he’s willing to use anyone and anything to that end. For example, they hired a foreign company just to make a public enemy out of George Soros. To our homeland’s shame, they filled the outdoor media of the whole country with hardly coded anti-Semitic and racist messages reminiscent of the propaganda put out by 20th-century authoritarian regimes, just to incite fear and gain votes. And don’t tell me they didn’t know exactly that they were instigating anti-Semitic sentiments!

I drew the conclusion of my unfortunate speech back then and apologized for it. Now I am calling on Viktor Orbán and his government’s propagandists to do some soul searching and abandon the extremist policy which managed to put Hungary in the dunce’s seat of Europe and the whole world since our homeland is now referred to everywhere as a country run by an extremist and racist government.


Márton Gyöngyösi

Executive Vice-President of Jobbik