Hungarians do it better – Jobbik and the far-right shadow

gabor-vonaJobbik, the Movement for a Better Hungary (Jobbik Magyarországért Mozgalom), looks like Golden Dawn from a political perspective, but gained more credibility than the Greek goodfellas. In 2014 they obtained 20.54% of the votes, winning 23 seats in Parliament. In April 2015, Jobbik has won its first ever individual constituency in Parliament (by-election), taking the Tapolca seat with a narrow majority. People in Tapolca must be pretty bored, but this is understandable since the only attraction in the small city is represented by a 300-metre-long cave system.

What is astonishing is that the rest of the country hardly resists to the temptation of hearing this mermaid-neo-fascist-song. It is true that Jobbik has softened its rhetoric in recent years, gaining mainstream support. (For a visual proof, confront the two spots, from 2010 and 2014: here and here).

At the same time, Fidesz lost its super-majority in February after another by-election defeat. This is not necessarily bad, since the Prime Minister Viktor Orbán imposed a more and more authoritarian turn on Hungarian democracy. However, if the alternative to a conservative right-wing populist party is a neo-fascist party, this is like jumping out of the frying pan into the fire.

Anti Semitic supporters during a Jobbik rally

Anti Semitic supporters during a Jobbik rally

When the World Jewish Congress was held in Budapest, Gábor Vona (Jobbik chairman) said: “The Israeli conquerors, these investors, should look for another country in the world for themselves because Hungary is not for sale“. Since then, the party has clearly toned down its inflammatory rhetoric and sought to get rid of its image as a racist party: in 2015, Vona even launched on Facebook a competition among his fans, asking them to send a picture of themselves with their pets. The prize was a lunch with him in the Hungarian Parliament.little red riding hood family guy However, the true nature of the movement is difficult to hide. According to a survey (pollster Median), in Hungary – which is home to one of the largest Jewish communities in Europe – around 30% of the respondents expresses anti-Semitic views. Among Jobbik supporters, more than two-thirds were found to be strongly or moderately anti-Semitic. The efforts of the party to improve their political credibility are constantly undermined by these factors. Like, for example, Jobbik’s strong links with the ‘Hungarian Guard’ movement, which is illegal since 2009. The group aims at ‘defending a physically, spiritually and intellectually defenseless Hungary’. Many observers have described the organization as neo-fascist or neo-Nazi. In 2008 the Metropolitan Court of Budapest disbanded the ‘Magyar Gárda’ Organization because the court held that the activities of the organization were against the human rights of minorities.

Flag_of_the_Arrow_Cross_Party_1942_to_1945.svg jobbikAccording to Spiegel, ‘the Magyar Garda has pledged to train its members in the use of firearms and its members wear a uniform of black pants and vests with white shirts, and a cap emblazoned with a medieval coat of arms, the Arpad Stripes. The striped, red and white symbol is a centuries old Hungarian banner, a version of which was used by the Arrow Cross, a pro-Nazi party that briefly ruled Hungary toward the end of World War II’. Gábor Vona, founder of the ‘Magyar Gárda’, remains the head of Jobbik.

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