Partners in hate crime: Orban and Johnson

JVL Introduction

A statement by the Jewish Socialists Group in advance of the Victor Orban/Boris Johson meeting today, which JVL endorses.

It shows the clear affinities between Orban and Johnson, with the Tories working happily in Europe in a bloc with the Hungarian party Fidesz, a racist and conspiracist enthno-nationalist formation.

This article was originally published by Jewish Socialist on Thu 27 May 2021. Read the original here.

Partners in hate crime: Orban and Johnson

A statement by the Jewish Socialists’ Group

On Friday 28th May, Victor Orban, Prime Minister of Hungary, is meeting Boris Johnson at Downing Street. Orban is a far-right populist who stays in power by scapegoating sections of society. He stirs up hatred against Roma people, against migrants and refugees, and fuels antisemitism. Orban is an authoritarian who used the Covid-19 pandemic as an excuse to introduce an Enabling Act, giving himself powers to rule by decree.

Anti-migrant

Orban has labeled migrants as “poison”, and stated plainly: “We do not want a multicultural society”. He describes Hungary as the “last bastion” against “the Islamisation of Europe”. Orban’s reaction to the refugee crisis was not to help people fleeing persecution but to build a wall along the border with Serbia, saying, “Countries that don’t stop immigration will be lost”.

Soros, migrants and antisemitism

At a mass election rally in 2018, Orban said “External forces and international powers want to force this immigration on us with the help of their henchmen here in Hungary.” The opposition to migrants of Orban and his party, Fidesz, is not simply racist, but is part of a conspiratorial world view redolent of fascism.

Targeting the pro-migrant Hungarian Jew, George Soros, as the centre of this “conspiracy”, he said, “We are fighting an enemy that is different from us. Not open, but hiding; not straightforward but crafty; not national but international, does not believe in working but speculates with money; does not have its own homeland but feels it owns the whole world.”  These are almost exactly the same terms in which the Nazis talked about Jews.

Orban describes Soros as “a speculator who operates a mafia network. Migration is good business for him,” adding, “his army … don’t like Christian Europe. They don’t like Christians at all.”

If there is any doubt about his antisemitism, we need only to look at  Orban’s rehabilitation of pro-Nazis/antisemitic writers in the compulsory school curriculum, and the removal of the work of Hungary’s sole Nobel Laureate for Literature, Imre Kertesz, a Jewish Auschwitz survivor.

Anti-Roma 

Another regular target of Orban’s racist rhetoric are the Roma, a very longstanding minority in Hungary. Journalist Zsolt Bayer, co-founder of Fidesz and a confidant of Orban, said that Roma are “not fit to live among people. These Roma are animals and they behave like animals.”

Fidesz carried out a policy of segregation in education. This was challenged in court and the Government lost. Orban reacted by describing Roma children as “aggressors against the majority”.

In Hungary, attacks on Roma settlements by far-right activists, including arson, are common.  With anti-Roma rhetoric coming from the top of Government this is no surprise.

Tory support for Fidesz

So this is the man who Prime Minister Johnson is meeting today. Shocking? Yes. Surprising? No. When Johnson was Tory Foreign Minister, he warmly welcomed Orban’s re-election. Later that year, Tory MEPs lined up with the far right to try to defend Orban from EU censure. Today the Tories are in a bloc with Fidesz in the Council of Europe.

Here in Britain the Tories continue to build a hostile environment for migrants and stir up hatred against them, with a new tranche of anti-migrant and refugee legislation on its way. The Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill increases the powers of the state against the people.

So Johnson and Orban have a great deal in common.

The Jewish Socialists’ Group condemns this meeting and calls on anti-racists, Jewish, Muslim, GRT organisations and the Labour Party to do so too.

Comments (6)

  • DJ says:

    What does the BoD have to say about Boris Johnson fraternising with “Jew hating” Orban? Didn’t the Brexiteers talk about a Muslim invasion during the referendum campaign? Hasn’t this government prorogued parliament and challenged the powers of our judiciary? Can we take Johnson seriously when he tries to disown the authoritarian policies of Orban? Does anybody believe that the party he represents isn’t a home for islamaphobes?

  • This is a very good statement. It could have added that Orban has described Admiral Horthy, the pro-Nazi ruler of Hungary during the war, who presided over the deportation of 437,000 Jews to Auschwitz, as an ‘exceptional statesman’

    Yet the silence from the Board of Deputies, Jewish Leadership Council, Holocaust Educational Trust, CST, CAA and all the other Zionist organisations is deafening. Johnson welcomes a genuine anti-Semite to Downing Street and they have nothing to say.

    Neither, for that matter, does Sir Keith Starmer.

    Anyone who seriously believes that the ‘antisemitism’ campaign in the Labour Party was about anti-Semitism needs their head examining.

  • steve mitchell says:

    No surprise here. Fascism described as a temporary alliance of the elite and the mob . Johnson and his ministers are a perfect example of the elite.

  • Dr Paul says:

    Fidesz had a poster which said: ‘Let’s not allow Soros to have the last laugh!’ At first glance it looks rather baffling: what exactly does it mean? I am certain it refers to a speech by Hitler in January 1939, when he said that when he prophesied that one day he’d be leading Germany, ‘the Jews’ (he always used the tell-tale conspiratorial definite article) were ‘laughing’, and he then prophesied that any European war would lead to ‘the annihilation of the Jewish race in Europe’.

    In November 1942, Hitler made a speech referring back to his earlier one, adding about people who laughed at his predictions: ‘Of those who laughed then, countless numbers no longer laugh today; and those who still laugh now will perhaps no longer laugh a short time from now.’ This speech was delivered at a time when Jews were being murdered by the thousand by firing squads and in gas chambers.

    I’m sure that whoever wrote the Fidesz slogan must have known about these speeches. The slogan makes no sense unless Hitler’s speeches are brought into the equation.

  • Margaret West says:

    I see that Corbyn condemned Orbán a couple of days ago:

    “Today Boris Johnson will receive Hungary’s former president Viktor Orbán. Johnson must challenge Orbán on his government’s Holocaust revisionism, antisemitism & Islamophobia, and physical abuse of detained refugees.”

  • Richard Kuper says:

    See Stephen Pollard – editor of the Jewish Chronicle no less – making a strong intellectual argument on the issue at https://twitter.com/stephenpollard/status/1398246737236668422

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