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Monday, December 3, 2012

Anti-Semitic Political Hungarian Party's Latest Attempt

Nadene Goldfoot
Anti-Semites have started to crawl out of the woodwork again.  In Hungary, a far-right lawmaker, Marton Gyongyosi of the Jobbik party  wants to screen Jews for national security risks. He wants a census taken to count Jews. His excuse is because of the conflict between Israel and the Palestinians, he says and thinks that Jews are a threat.  The government and Jewish groups there organized an anti-Nazi rally outside of the parliament building on Sunday in Budapest  to protest this  in which 15,000 attended including cabinet ministers and parliament members.  The Jobbik party holds 44 of the 386 seats in parliament and also 3 seats in the European parliament.

Jews have lived in Hungary since the 2nd century as Jewish graves were found from that period.  We know of Jewish communities there since the 9th century.  By the 13th century the Lateran council's decree segregated Jews from their neighbors.  They had to wear a distinctive badge.  When Bela IV reigned (1235-70) many Jews settled in Hungary as his property.  Actually they had good relations with their neighbors and were often minters of coins, some of which had Hebrew inscriptions on them.  It was the Pope who put pressure on them.

Then in 1349 Jews were expelled for the first time.  Another expulsion happened in 1360.  They went to neighboring countries but returned when the edict was revoked in 1364.  A dhminni status was created in 1365 when the office of "Judge of the Jews" was created so as to collect taxes from the Jews and "protect their interests." Sounds like "protection payment" to me.   The last judge was appointed in 1440.

The 15th and 16th centuries were full of charges of Ritual Murder and the cancellation of debts owed to Jews.  Until 1686 Jews of Buda and Southern Hungary enjoyed  civic equality and religious liberty under the Ottoman Empire regime, but as dhminnis were  heavily taxed when others weren't.  When Hungarian sovereins were restored so were the expulsions and exclusion of Jews from agriculture and the professions.

At this time a few nobles were found to protect Jews, who were joined by refugees from Vienna in 1670.  Things must have been worse in Moravia and Poland since Jews from there moved to Hungary in the first half of the 18th century, increasing the Jewish population.  And so it goes on.

We come to the WWII and 725,000 Jews were in Hungary.  400,000 were slaughtered.  Communists came to power in 1948 and they nationalized Jewish institutions.  Religious organizations were centralized under one authority.  20,000 Jews left Hungary after a 1956 revolution.  By 1990 the Jewish population was 80,000.

How do the Jews living there feel? A rabbi said,  “As a Jew born here I felt a need to attend. The statements threw me back decades, to the years of the Holocaust. In essence, that parliamentarian was referring to me as a Jew, one who holds Hungarian citizenship. His statements represent incitement that no one dared to utter. If this trend is not stopped here, in Budapest, then it may chas v’sholom spread to other areas throughout Europe.”

"In Hungary today, the real danger is from the anti-Semitism of the populist wing in and around the "national" parties. This is an intellectual anti-Semitism that cannot be banned by law or prosecution because, in part, it uses symbols of the national tradition and Christianity, and by these separates the Hungarian "nation" from the "other."

Ever since Jews were defeated by the Romans in 70CE,which was finalized by 132 with Bar Kokhba's Revolt, and living with the stigma of killing the Christian G-d, they have been living with such anti-Semitism.  Even in the United States,  it was most prevalent in the 20's and 30's.  When it finally really lifted after the 1967 War against Israel and Israel prevailed, Jews were seen as heroes.  That quickly changed to be the year we are left to defend.  It wasn't until about 2011 that Pope Benedict XVI (b:1927 Bavaria Germany) exonerated Jews for Jesus' death.  He had become Pope in 2005.  Anti-Semitism still goes on, and might be rising in certain communities.

Resource:  Oregonian Newspaper 12/3/12 page A6, Anti-Nazi Rally
The Standard Jewish Encyclopedia:  Hungary,000-Rally-Against-Anti-Semitism-in-Budapest.html

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