There are reasons we say never forget.
This week, a Holocaust-denying Hungarian lawmaker asked his government to draw up a list of Jews who reside in Hungary, since they might pose a national security threat.
In a statement to the parliament, Márton Gyöngyösi, deputy group leader of Hungary’s radical-nationalist party, said, “I think such a conflict [in Gaza] makes it timely to tally up people of Jewish ancestry who live here, especially [those] in the Hungarian Parliament and the Hungarian government, who, indeed, pose a national security risk to Hungary.”
This is not so surprising a statement coming from the same man who in July had a fit over the idea of searching for Nazi war criminals in Hungary. Granted, this isn’t Mel Gibson (or the likes of him) on a drunken rampage either. Nonetheless, the statement, which a Hungarian spokesman attempted to apologize for, is not what bothered me the most. What bothered me was Gyöngyösi’s apology for it, specifically saying he didn’t mean “all Jews”, just those with “dual Israeli-Hungarian citizenship.”
Anti-Semitism and anti-Zionism are usually linked hand in hand. When a member of the government of a country from which 500,000-600,000 Jews were killed during the Holocaust states he’s simply “anti-Zionist” due to the alleged national security threats being posed by Israeli citizens in his country, he’s not being anti-Zionist. He’s being anti-Semitic. He did not blatantly request a list of those who align with Hamas, Al Qaeda or the Palestinians. Nor did he ask for names of those people who sympathize with the Palestinian cause. He just asked specifically for a list of Jews. Not Zionists, Jews.
I am not a fan of Peter Beinart. But even he subtitles the Daily Beast blog he mediates, “Open Zion,” a “new conversation about Israel, Palestine, and the Jewish Future.” He doesn’t call it the “Zionist Future.” Because to him, Zionists are Jews and Jews are Zionists. The names are interchangeable. Apparently, the Jewish future can be discussed in conjunction with Israel, because both depend on each other. Whether you agree or disagree with that statement, it still seems evident that the world’s impression of Zionism is that it’s integrated with Judaism completely. So when Gyöngyösi made his comments about wanting a list of Jews, he meant Jews. Not Zionists. Because they are the same thing.
And his request is as anti-Semitic and Nazi-like as they come, from a man who denies the Holocaust ever happened. Let’s hope that a majority of those that attempt the erasure of history never come to power. Let the challenge of survivor testimony commence.