Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Hungary: “fellow Hungarian countrymen” vs “our Jewish citizens”.

There is a problem with the comparison, as Hungary is an ethnic nation-state, while America is a non-ethnic country.  Still, this is an issue in most European countries.

Imagine the White House chief of staff stating the following at a press conference after a significant meeting about a highly controversial issue with the leading representatives of American Jewry: “The President will address all of our fellow Americans as well as our Jewish citizens next week.” It does not take a lot of imagination to envision the firestorm of criticism that would follow such a division of the American people into real Americans versus Jewish citizens of America.

Yet, this is precisely what János Lázár, the Minister of State for the Prime Minister’s office, said after the unsuccessful round-table meeting with leading Hungarian Jewish organisations. Of course, he was not talking about fellow Americans but rather “fellow Hungarian countrymen” and “our Jewish citizens”.

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