Josef Olmert
Josef Olmert

Israel and Antisemitism: The Hungarian Case

Hungary was the scene of some of the most horrendous scenes of the Jewish disaster of WW2, a very dubious claim to fame indeed. Fascist , pro-Nazi legislation and policy from the start of the war, the unspeakable horrors of the terrible massacre of 20,000 Jews in Kamentes -Podolsk by the SS and Hungarian troops in the autumn of 1941, Jews who were deported there by the Hungarians, and then the smaller massacre of only 1,000 Jews in the Backsa region.

All this happened before the Nazi invasion and occupation of Hungary in March 1944, which led to the immediate and horrendously quick deportation to Auschwitz of 440, 000 Jews, which was devised by Adolph Eichmann and his team, but was made much easier by the active participation of the Hungarian authorities under the Regent , Admiral Miklos Horthy. These deportations were stopped by Horthy only in July 1944, and later in October, the Hungarian Nazis , under the Arrow Cross party took over, and more atrocities befell upon our brothers and sisters there. By all accounts, Horthy was a war criminal of the worst kind, who had to end his life on the gallows , but instead he ended them in the leisure and pleasure of a Portuguese resort in 1957, under the auspices of the then dictator of Portugal, Antonio Salazar.

With the fall of Communism, the old demons of Fascism and antisemitism in Hungary came back to center stage of politics there. A overtly antisemitic party, Jobbik[the Movement For A Better Hungary] is polling over 20% of the vote. Just recently, the current Hungarian PM , Viktor Orban, delivered a complimentary speech about Horthy, and the Israeli government voiced issued a distinctly low-key concern, leading the Hungarians to issue a feeble clarification, though not an apology.An unacceptable explanation to this unsatisfactory reaction has to do with the fact, that PM Netanyahu is about to register another diplomatic success for Israel and visit Hungary on 18 July, then attending a summit with the leaders of Hungary , Slovakia, Poland and the Czech Republic, no doubt a great achievement and a nice photo opportunity, BUT then , here is a simple question-when does Israeli diplomacy start, and sensitivity to antisemitism ends?.

What makes this question even more relevant, perhaps even dramatic is the Soros affair and the Israeli reaction. The Hungarian Government is conducting a public campaign against the Billionaire as part of their objections to his campaign supporting settling Muslim migrants in Hungary. Such a campaign in Hungary naturally evokes unpleasant connotations there , and the Jewish community is worried and for good reason.

That said, the question of Israeli involvement in the affair is assuming great importance. On Saturday, 8 July, the Israeli Ambassador in Budapest, Yossi Amrani, an able and experienced diplomat, followed the instructions of the ministry, whose head is Bibi Netanyahu, and published a strongly-worded statement calling upon the Hungarian Government to stop the campaign against Soros, a much stronger statement than anything connected with Horthy, who actively assisted the slaughter of nearly half a million Jews. A day later, PM Netanyahu contradicted FM Netanyahu and strongly attacked Soros. So, what is going on?. Well, Soros is a sworn enemy of the Jewish people and Israel, and he actively assist those who want to destroy Israel , possibly bringing about another genocide of Jews. Soros does not deserve ANY support from Israel , but this is a problem much bigger than him. What should Israel do when Jews are under attack in other countries, and these Jews are people and organizations which actively oppose Israel’s very existence and collaborate with its worst enemies?. The Soros affair brings to light this painful and complicated question , but there is an answer.

Neturei Karta, the Satmar Rebbes and all those who court the Ayatollahs in Iran, the JVP who honor the murderer of Jews Rasmeah Odeh and their likes are OUT of the Jewish tent. Yes, Jewish solidarity is a value to be cherished, upheld and actively supported by Israel, but Jewish solidarity,Kol Israel Arevim Ze Laze works both sides, and those who knowingly take themselves out of Klal Israel, are out, and this is no more and no less than respecting their own individual and or collective will. Coming back to the Soros issue, the speculator has enough means in his disposal to defend himself, and Israel should not interfere in this matter in internal Hungarian affairs. Still we cannot leave this issue at that point. Netanyahu should raise the Horthy affair with his Hungarian hosts in public, even with the price of embarrassing them,and he should do it, because here we deal with the man, Horthy , who is closely connected with the murder of so many Jews. Soros is connected with those who want to murder Jews-a huge difference, but consistency is required here on the part of Israel as a matter of policy, and let us be clear -taking the Hungarians to task over Horthy is more important than the entire visit there. Israel under Netanyahu has had its share of diplomatic successes recently, so if it comes to that, giving up on Proto-Fascist Hungary is not too high a price to pay.

About the Author
Dr Josef Olmert, a Middle East expert, is currently an adjunct professor at the University of South Carolina