Forward Thinking

Jewish Leader of Hungary's Anti-Semites

By Robert Zaretsky

  • Print
  • Share Share
Getty Images
Csanad Szegedi

If history does act with cunning, as Hegel claimed, recent events involving Hungary’s extreme right wing Jobbik remind us that it does not always keep a straight face when doing so.

A better Hungary, according to Jobbik, the country’s third largest party, is a Hungary emptied of its Roma and Jewish communities. As a result, when a Jobbik deputy underwent genetic testing last month to prove his racial purity, the only surprise was that a scientific laboratory lent its name to the bogus enterprise.

Equally unsurprising, though for different reasons, was yesterday’s news that another Jobbik dignitary discovered that there was no need to undergo such testing. Csanad Szegedi, who serves as a Jobbik deputy in the European Parliament, was at a loss for words when he learned his parents were of Jewish origin. Worried that the discovery would crimp the anti-Semitic rants that had made him popular, Szegedi suggested that what made for a true Hungarian was not “racial purity” but “the way one behaves as a Hungarian.”

Among the many ways to behave as a Hungarian are the models offered by Nicholas Horthy and Ferenc Szalasi. As leader of wartime Hungary, Admiral Horthy behaved as a traditional anti-Semite, grounding his worldview in his Catholic faith; as leader of the fascist Arrow Cross, Szalasi behaved as a modern anti-Semite, persuaded that the Jew (and Roma) were racially inferior to the Magyar.

While Csanad Szegedi frantically tacks between these two exemplars, we should keep in mind a third way to behave as a Hungarian: as Prime Minister Viktor Orbán. His ruling Fidesz Party has long sought to whitewash Hungary’s wartime behavior and repair the image of Admiral Horthy. Orbán has remained silent over the behavior of Jobbik’s gentile and Jewish anti-Semites — a silence as resistant to reality as Horthy’s title of admiral after Hungary became a landlocked nation.


Permalink | | Share | Email | Print | Filed under: Jobbik, Hungary, Anti-Semitism, Arrow Cross

The Jewish Daily Forward welcomes reader comments in order to promote thoughtful discussion on issues of importance to the Jewish community. In the interest of maintaining a civil forum, The Jewish Daily Forwardrequires that all commenters be appropriately respectful toward our writers, other commenters and the subjects of the articles. Vigorous debate and reasoned critique are welcome; name-calling and personal invective are not. While we generally do not seek to edit or actively moderate comments, our spam filter prevents most links and certain key words from being posted and The Jewish Daily Forward reserves the right to remove comments for any reason.




Find us on Facebook!
  • Is pot kosher for Passover. The rabbis say no, especially for Ashkenazi Jews. And it doesn't matter if its the unofficial Pot Day of April 20.
  • A Ukrainian rabbi says he thinks the leaflets ordering Jews in restive Donetsk to 'register' were a hoax. But the disturbing story still won't die.
  • Some snacks to help you get through the second half of Passover.
  • You wouldn't think that a Soviet-Jewish immigrant would find much in common with Gabriel Garcia Marquez. But the famed novelist once helped one man find his first love. http://jd.fo/f3JiS
  • Can you relate?
  • The Forverts' "Bintel Brief" advice column ran for more than 65 years. Now it's getting a second life — as a cartoon.
  • Half of this Hillel's members believe Jesus was the Messiah.
  • Vinyl isn't just for hipsters and hippies. Israeli photographer Eilan Paz documents the most astonishing record collections from around the world:http://jd.fo/g3IyM
  • Could Spider-Man be Jewish? Andrew Garfield thinks so.
  • Most tasteless video ever? A new video shows Jesus Christ dying at Auschwitz.
  • "It’s the smell that hits me first — musty, almost sweet, emanating from the green felt that cradles each piece of silver cutlery in its own place." Only one week left to submit! Tell us the story of your family's Jewish heirloom.
  • Mazel tov to Chelsea Clinton and Marc Mezvinsky!
  • If it's true, it's pretty terrifying news.
  • “My mom went to cook at the White House and all I got was this tiny piece of leftover raspberry ganache."
  • from-cache

Would you like to receive updates about new stories?




















We will not share your e-mail address or other personal information.

Already subscribed? Manage your subscription.