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Home / Press Release / Upcoming NATO Summit Agenda Should Include Rising Neo-Facism, Antisemitism in Greece and Hungary
August 28, 2014

Upcoming NATO Summit Agenda Should Include Rising Neo-Facism, Antisemitism in Greece and Hungary

Washington, D.C. – Human Rights First today urged President Obama, Secretary of State John Kerry and Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel at the upcoming NATO Summit to discuss potential threats to the Transatlantic alliance posed by rising antisemitism and neo-fascism in Hungary and Greece. These extremists see Russia, not the West, as their natural ally and advocate pulling out of the European Union and NATO.

“At this critical moment when NATO is grappling with how to deal with Russian aggression in Ukraine, the 28 Alliance members need to begin thinking about whether Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban is still a reliable NATO ally,” said Human Rights First’s Sonni Efron.  “Orban is embracing ‘illiberal democracy,’ shredding European democratic norms, opposing E.U. sanctions against Russia, and adopting some of the polices and historical revisionism of the popular, pro-Russian, anti-Semitic, racist, fascist Jobbik party.”

Human Rights First recently released a new report, “We Are Not Nazis, but…  The Rise of Hate Parties in Hungary and Greece and Why America Should Care,” that documents how the growing electoral success of the Jobbik Party in Hungary and the violent, purely Nazi Golden Dawn movement in Greece is corroding human rights and democratic values from inside the European Union. Failures in governance in both Greece and Hungary have allowed the extremists to rise from fringe movements to mainstream elected parties. In addition to their calls to abandon the E.U. and NATO, Golden Dawn and Jobbik support the annexation of Crimea. Two retired Greek generals were elected to the European Parliament in May on the Golden Dawn ticket, raising questions about the extent to which other segments of the Greek Armed forces sympathize with its views.

Heads of state and defense ministers from the 28 NATO member countries will meet in Wales from Sept. 4-5 for their annual summit, hosted this year by the United Kingdom. The NATO response to Russia’s annexation of Crimea and its behavior in Ukraine will top the agenda, along with discussions about ISIS, the radical Islamist insurgency in Syria and Iraq.

“Even with multiple crises on his plate, the rise of extremism in Europe is no longer just an E.U. problem,” said Efron. “To the extent that it weakens European unity and the NATO alliance, it’s an American problem, too.”

For more information, or to speak to Efron or the report’s co-author Tad Stahnke, please contact Brenda Bowser Soder at 202-370-3323 or bowsersoderb@humanrightsfirst.org