Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Hungary: Jobbik's anti-Semitism - behind a ’pro-Palestine’ veil


Via Open Democracy:
Jobbik remains Hungary’s third most popular party in its own right. In its vision of Hungary as a 'bridge between west and east', Jobbik has dismissed any charges of Islamophobia. Furthermore, the party has been quick to strike a ’pro-Palestine’ outlook and castigate Israel not solely for its aggression against the Palestinians but also over its, allegedly, belligerent foreign policy towards other states in the Middle East (namely Iran).

Between 2010 and 2014, negative references to Israel’s alleged meddling in Hungarian domestic policies featured quite regularly in Jobbik’s rhetoric. In its 2010 Party Manifesto, Jobbik has been highly dismissive of transnational capitalism and the suspicious role of multinational corporations in Hungary.

In the party’s speech, specific references to the engagement of Israeli companies in Hungary appeared more frequently than the link between the collapse of certain German (also Austrian) banks and Hungary’s economic crisis. This campaign reached its zenith in November 2012 when Martin Gyöngyösi, Jobbik’s second-in-command, stated that: ’It is high time to figure out which MPs and government members are of Jewish origin and represent a security risk to Hungary’.

A few days earlier, the party-leader, Gábor Vona, had demanded that: ‘Government members and MPs are screened in order to determine whether any possess double, Hungarian-Israeli, citizenship’. This informal statement was made during a ‘pro-Palestine’ rally held by Jobbik in front of the Israeli embassy.

The main bulk of Jobbik’s voters have opted for the party mainly on the basis of its wider ‘anti-systemic’ speech and, to a much lesser extent, on the grounds of its anti-Semitism. Meanwhile, the new realities of the refugee crisis and the wave of sexual assaults in Germany on New Year’s Eve, have demonstrated that the party can be situationally-adaptive in its stance vis-à-vis the Muslim world.

Recently, Jobbik-affiliates have become highly vocal over the necessity to safeguard Europe’s Christian pillars of identity and protect Hungarian/European women from the ‘rapacious Islamic invaders’. This largely corresponds to the endorsement of a body politics approach.

With specific regard to its anti-Semitism, it becomes rather visible that Jobbik has been feeding on the propagation of negative Jewish stereotypes on the level of cultural discourse.

These are mainly the stereotypes over the, allegedly, conspiring Jewish nature, the Jewish proneness towards illegitimate networking, as well as their resistance to integrate into the main body of national societies where they live. This becomes rather evident in the party’s more explicit and rather frequent vilification of Jewry/Israel, despite the attempt to mask this endeavor behind a more geopolitical, ‘pro-Palestine’, critique.

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