Martin Gyongyosi, the leader of Hungary’s third-strongest political party, said on November 26 that the government should draw up a list of Jews who pose a national security risk. “It is high time to assess how many MPs and government members are of Jewish origin and who present a national security risk to Hungary,” Gyongyosi said in front of parliament as he described how Jewish parliamentarians had influenced Hungary’s foreign policy concerning Israel’s conflict with the Palestinians. The Anti-Defamation League has described Jobbik, the party Gyongyosi represents, as openly anti-Semitic in its policies. Jobbik is the third-strongest political party in the nation. The fact that such an openly anti-Jewish party is supported by nearly a tenth of the population should set off alarm bells.
Last Wednesday, Hungarian Foreign Minister Janos Martonyi condemned Gyongyosi’s remarks in the strongest terms, calling them “completely unacceptable.” Gyongyosi’s comments have galvanized usually-polarized Hungarian politicians. Representatives from the ruling Fidesz party, as well as the socialist and centrist parties, spoke at a rally on December 4 to show support and solidarity with Hungary’s strong Jewish minority. But the real story is in how long it took the government to say anything at all about the radical politician’s racist remarks. It took a week for Prime Minister Viktor Orban to personally speak out against Gyongyosi’s pre-World War ii-style invective, and that was the day after the December 4 rally in front of the parliament building. Nine days after the Gyongyosi’s comments, the foreign minister came out with his condemnation.