Europe,  The Right

Fidesz-Jobbik relationship at close quarters

Cross-posted from Eva S. Balogh at Hungarian Spectrum

Although here and there the Jobbik parliamentary delegation disagrees with Fidesz-KDNP, overall the relationship is fairly cozy between the government party and the neo-Nazi Jobbik. They especially see eye-to-eye when it comes to the witchhunt of former government officials. Back in early October I wrote about this under the title "Looking for guilty politicians Fidesz-Jobbik style." While doing research for that post I read several days' worth of minutes of the subcommittee on human rights and came to the conclusion that the subcommittee was set up primarily to prepare a show trial of Ferenc Gyurcsány. Way before the subcommittee began hearings, the members had made up their minds that the former prime minister was guilty of instructing the police to attack "peaceful demonstrators" against government terrorism. In its efforts to validate this claim the committee failed spectacularly. No one supplied the eager Jobbik-Fidesz-LMP members (MSZP refused to take part in the proceedings for obvious reasons) with a shred of evidence that would have implicated Ferenc Gyurcsány.

But the Jobbik members of the subcommittee had another agenda: to implicate the socialist-liberal government in the trampling on basic human rights of opposition groups. These groups turned out to be neo-Nazi organizations like Arrows of Hungarians, Lelkiismeret88 (88=HH=Heil Hitler), Hungarian Guard, Sixty-Four Counties, and similar outfits. Jobbik succeeded in that task with the willing assistance of Fidesz and LMP. LMP's role in this disgusting affair is not at all surprising. It has been clear for some time that András Schiffer's opinions on the events of September-October 2006 don't differ much from those of Jobbik.

The report, written by Tamás Gaudi-Nagy (Jobbik), defense lawyer of György Budaházy who can safely be called a terrorist,  and unanimously approved by the members, describes the former governments' policies as systematic attempts to limit legal rights in order to maintain themselves in power. The government attacked those groups who protested against policies that were injurious to the nation and to human rights. According to the report the government used the police as an intrument of oppression, intimidation, and reprisals. And the government tried to convince the world that these demonstrations  were attacks on the peaceful majority by a disorderly rabble. Gaudi-Nagy in a press conference emphasized that all this cannot remain without consequences.

According to Gaudi-Nagy such laws as "the lex egg" and "the lex guard" must be annulled. You may not remember, but there was a ruling that throwing eggs at politicians is not free speech. The "lex guard" of course refers to the decision that pronounced the Hungarian Guard illegal. The examples cited by the subcommittee are almost all connected in one way or the other to the activities of these far-right groups.

The report is completely one-sided. For example, the police are condemned but there is not a word about those who broke into the headquarters of the Hungarian Public Television. The report draws a picture of  Hungary in the last eight years as if it had been a dictatorship where "the representatives of the state limited the most basic political rights."

Those of us who remember the events of 2006 might laugh at the attempt to falsify facts, but unfortunately under the present circumstances the Jobbik-Fidesz threats are not idle. One shimmer of hope is still the Hungarian courts. Almost the same day that the subcommittee's report was released the Budapest Court found seven men guilty in the attack on the headquarters of the television station in September 2006. There is no more opportunity for appeal. Just to show the extent of "dictatorship" in Hungary in the last four years, it is worth recounting that there were originally forty accused but nineteen were found not guilty. Twenty-one were found guilty, but again on appeal most of them were acquitted. Thus remained only seven who have now been found guilty but, with the exception of one, all of them received only suspended sentences. The one who will have to spend one year and eight months in jail was well known to the police. This is not the first time Zoltán K. had run-ins with the law. Zoltán K. and his accomplices were surely not fighting against dictatorship in the name of freedom. And they certainly were not peaceful demonstrators.

Unfortunately, the Fidesz-Jobbik duo is great at changing history at will. They keep repeating lies and eventually people actually believe them. If Krisztina Morvai says fifty times that the police shot out the eyes of thirteen people it seems that eventually everybody believes it. Even if the accusers never produced a single person blinded as a result of the police assault.

Historians will have a hard time sorting things out down the road.