Daily Israel Report

Hungary: Moving Back to a Fascist Future?

Hungary appears to be moving back to a neo-Nazi future, with 17 percent of young adults voting for the far-right Jobbik party.
By Hana Levi Julian
First Publish: 6/9/2010, 11:28 AM / Last Update: 6/9/2010, 11:34 AM

Jobbik

Hungary appears to be moving back to a fascist future, with nearly a quarter of young adults voting in the most recent election for the far right Jobbik party.

National elections in April saw the rise of the “Movement for a Better Hungary” with 17 percent of voters ages 18 to 29 voting for the party. The right-wing Fidesz party took 53 percent of the vote, knocking the incumbent Socialist party out of office, with only 19 percent of the mandates.

The neo-fascist, specifically anti-Semitic movement was created seven years ago. At that time, Catholic and Protestant history professors and their students at two universities – Hungary's venerable Eotvos Lorand, and the private, Calvinist Karoli Gaspar – gathered to create from the right-wing Fidesz party a new, even more nationalist framework.

The party is also known to be pro-Palestinian Authority. “The Movement for a Better Hungary has always been primarily sympathetic to the Palestinian cause,” Jobbik states on its website. “As Hungarian nationalists, we can sympathize more readily with a people who have had their land taken away from them, in order to form a new country.”

Jobbik parliamentarian Marton Gyongyosi heavily criticized Israel for its interception of the recent attempt by a Turkish-sent six-ship flotilla to break the blockade of Hamas-ruled Gaza. The far-right lawmaker said Israel's actions should be viewed as an attack against one of Hungary's NATO allies that “calls for Hungary's support on the side of Turkey.”

Gyonyosi, who is vice president of the country's Foreign Affairs Committee and IPU, compared the incident in which Israeli Naval personnel were attacked by Turkish terrorists aboard the Mavi Marmara with Israel's three-week counter terrorism war against terrorists in the region in the winter of 2008-2009 – an event he labeled a “qualified case of genocide.”

Particularly disturbing is a study conducted by Hungarian sociologist Maria Vasarhelyi that found fully one-third of the country's history majors are anti-Semitic. Fifteen percent of students take racist positions, she writes, 35 percent believe that Gypsies are criminal due to their genetic coding and 60 percent said that the Gypsies themselves are responsible for the prejudice.

Jobbik is the second largest opposition party in the Hungarian parliament at present, and Hungary will be taking over the rotating European Union Council presidency in 2011.