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April 01, 2014

Antisemitic and Racist Statements by Hungarian Political Leaders

The proliferation of antisemitic and discriminatory statements by elected officials in Hungary—sometimes followed by apologies, sometimes not—creates a permissive climate for hatred, discrimination, and violence against Hungarian minorities. Political parties in Hungary should take action against members who make discriminatory or hate-filled statements.

As Jobbik has gained political legitimacy in Hungary, its senior members have made an effort in recent times to tone down the party’s virulent rhetoric. Gabor Vona, Jobbik’s leader and a member of Parliament, explained in April 2015, “I am much more consistent now about the wild offshoots that I used to allow, look away from, or sweep under the carpet. The responsibility that flows our way from Hungary’s voters demands that we do that . . . With time the (extremist) elements of Jobbik you may see as prevalent will fade out because they no longer find their calling here.”

Yet Hungarian politicians’ antisemitic and xenophobic statements persist:

“The number of Hungarians is not just falling disastrously, but soon we will become a minority in our own homes. When will the day come when they decide to change Hungary's name? And when will we finally tackle our country's biggest problem?”
--Source: Elöd Novák, Jobbik member of Parliament, BBC (2015)

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