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Internet platform for studying Xenophobia, Radicalism and Problems of Intercultural communication. Internet platform for studying Xenophobia, Radicalism and Problems of Intercultural communication. 

Incitement of Hatred

Incitement of Hatred

It is impossible to give full account of all the hate speech and incitement of religious and ethnic hatred. Firstly, as it was mentioned in the chapter titled “Countermeasures against hate crimes: criminal cases against organizers and participants” these hate crimes and incidents are largely unreported. It is especially true for the Roma. While 62 percent of the Roma in Hungary perceived discrimination in the past 12 months, 82 percent of them did not report it to any organization or office. Secondly, internet is used extensively to spread prejudiced views, and the comprehensive monitoring of the internet is impossible. And thirdly, governmental statistics are not available about these crimes. The only organization monitoring hate-crimes and hate-incidents following a strict, internationally accepted methodology , is Action and Protection foundation, already introduced in the above-mentioned part of the paper. Therefore in the following paragraphs only some typical examples could be presented, especially in the case of crimes committed against Roma people.

Right on the first day of 2015, deputy leader of Jobbik Előd Novák made a harsh anti-Roma statement on Facebook pointing out a Roma family because they raise three children and suggesting that Roma are not Hungarians. In response to the first baby born in the country in 2015, apparently because the name of the baby (Péter Rikárdó Rácz) struck him as suspiciously Gypsy-sounding, Mr Novák posted a picture of his own family along with a short rant pointing out that Hungarians “also reproduce” and stressing the fact that “Rikárdó’s” mother is 23 and already has three children. He also said that “[t]he number of Hungarians is not only declining catastrophically, we will soon become a minority in our own homeland. When will the day come that they decide to change Hungary's name? When will we finally deal with what is one of the biggest problems in the country?” In connection with the case, Zoltán Balczó, deputy chairman of Jobbik repeated one of the party’s key anti-Roma messages saying that Roma families have children because of social benefits linked to pregnancy and raising children.

In May 2015 the city council of Ózd, a middle-sized town in North-East Hungary, decided to purchase cameras not only for the surveillance of public places, but also for keeping an eye on public workers. The public workers’ job descriptions was also amended with a passage stating that “a sound, video and photographic recording can be taken at any time … during working hours”. In May 2015 Hungarian Justice Minister, László Trócsányi attacked the European Union’s system of quotas saying that Hungary had trouble taking in economic migrants because the country should take case of “its” Gypsies.

In the following paragraphs anti-Semitic cases will be discussed based on the monitoring activity of Action and Protection Foundation. One of the news sites published an article in January 2015 that cited a Facebook post in which some users discussed how István Tényi, a member of Fidesz’s fifth district office expressed his liking of an anti-Semitic picture on Facebook. In December 2014, a caricature of former Prime Minister Ferenc Gyurcsány with an insect-like body wearing the Star of David could be seen on a Budapest public transportation vehicle.

In January Kibic, a popular site with Jewish-related content, published a post in which they described receiving a threatening phone call. An anonymous caller first demanded that caricaturist Gábor Pápai come to the phone. Once the caller found out that he would not be able to reach Pápai on that number, he asked about the caricaturist’s origin, and when he did not get a reply, he began insulting Jewish people. Kibic’s project manager explained that the caller said Jews had gone too far, and they always play the Holocaust card whenever they are mentioned, while making jokes about Muslims and Christians, instead of playing with their “circumcised dicks”. “Bunch of rotten Nazis!” the caller exclaimed. The caller then continued on with his rambling of insults, but Kibic’s project manager ended the call. Kibic believes the call was inspired by the terrorist attacks against French satirical weekly newspaper, Charlie Hebdo.

In February 2015 a Hungarian daily summarized in an article the problematic Facebook posts of Jobbik representatives, beside others that of Tibor Ágoston, a Jobbik representative from Debrecen who was then already defendant in a criminal suit. Earlier in February 2015, he shared a post saying that before the attack, the Charlie Hebdo magazine was in the possession of the Rothschilds. He wrote the following comment: “Strange coincidences – you can speculate…” The post reads: “The Charlie Hebdo by mere coincidence got into the hands of the Rothschilds some days before the attack. What a coincidence! A Rothschild-owner behind the Charlie Hebdo; interesting parallels between the Paris attack and the explosion of the World Trade Center.” In another post he shared a photo representing Jewish men in arms, with the caption: “This is how they prepare for peace.”

In February the Economy Cabinet of Fidelitas organized an event titled »The cohabitation of Christianity and Islam«, on which occasion Miklós Beer, Bishop of Vác and Sheikh Balázs Mihálffy, shared their opinion on the relation and future of Western and Islamic civilization, religion and culture. Mihálffy made several statements which offended not only Hungarian Jewry, but also the state of Israel and Ilan Mor, Ambassador of the state of Israel in Hungary. In Mihálffy’s opinion, the Jihadist ISIS is in fact the work of the CIA and Israel, and ISIS consists of hired actors or agents of Mossad, Israel’s national secret service. The Economy Cabinet of Fidelitas issued a statement about the event some days later: “The Economy Cabinet of Fidelitas organized [the] evening aiming at a friendly discussion that tried to reveal the relations of the two religions and cultures, the connection points of Western and Eastern civilization, the ways of understanding and respecting each other, and the possibilities of peaceful cohabitation. The Cabinet distances itself from the statement of Sheikh Balázs Mihálffy.

In 15 March 2015 during a Fidesz remembrance , a female journalist (presumably Italian) was interviewing participants. A group of three, approximately 60-year-old women were the main subject of the video. After a few minutes, a man of about 60–65 years of age addressed the reporter from the background, calling her a “damned Jew”, and when the woman went further away the man followed her and also called her a “slut”. In March 2015 the rock band Tankcsapda (Tank-trap) posted a photograph to its Facebook page, announcing four new concert stops on their tour this year. For June they had planned a concert in Israeli city Tel-Aviv. Later the rock music magazine Hammer World also wrote about it. Following this a very popular internet site reported that among comments added below the photographs posted by the band and the magazine, there were also some extremely anti-Jewish and some anti-Israeli comments. There are some examples of these, all verbatim quotes: “Palestinian children have died thanks to Israel :( [i.e.: sad smiley]”, “You will be the disgrace of Hungarian rock if you go visit the people with hooked noses!!!!”, “[…] it is not my habit to run away from a couple of fugitives from the ovens! :D [i.e.: laughing smiley] I prefer to chase them myself, it is fun to see after they shoot off their big mouths, how they run like rats! :D [i.e.: laughing smiley]”, “Go ahead keep licking the ass of the Jews [sic] it is exactly what you deserve!”, “Keep sucking each other’s circumcised dicks [sic], idiots! People just get a good laugh out of you guys.”

As part of the protests initiated by people who disagreed to the erection of the German occupation monument on Szabadság Square, a set of objects, stones, documents were placed near the monument which, under the name of Living monument, were intended to assist true commemoration. In April 2015, Előd Novák, deputy-chairman of the Jobbik shared on his Facebook page the letter he wrote to Minister of the Interior, writing that: “what the »protesters« collected there is in fact an illegal pile of trash. Stones, pieces of wood, suitcases, waste paper, there is everything. Some people call this collection of junk and personal objects »Living Monument«. This, in my view, is unacceptable even if terrible things had happened with the family of some of the protesters, since the law applies to everybody.” He questioned the Minister asking: does the government support the creation of “living monuments”? “Really, what are the legal criteria for using junk for these establishments?” Then he went on with guessing: “Can it be demolition debris too? Maybe this is the one and only “living monument” they will not take action against, but they will for any other illegal political pile of trash? If so, in what way this one is an exception? Due to the origin or political views of those who created this junk yard? What is to be expected for those patriotic Hungarian citizens who perhaps wish to deposit their trash in front of public statues commemorating another dictatorship?”

In May 2015 a 62 year-old man Jew-baited and threatened to shoot two men speaking Hebrew. One of the two men, an Israeli consul who is fluent in Hungarian, asked the man to stop but he threatened them again. The police officer arriving on the scene took the elderly man into custody; the consul pressed charges. The Budapest Police Crime Detention Department initiated proceedings against the perpetrator for reasonable suspicion on violence against a member of a community. The perpetrator has the right to defend himself on parole.

In May 2015 the Pázmány Péter Catholic University announced that they have created a course called “The Holocaust and its memory”, which will be obligatory for all students to attend beginning in September 2015. Many news portals reported on this. In many cases under the articles anti-Semitic and anti-Israeli comments appeared. There are some example of these, all verbatim quotes: “There is nothing more important than this, a 628 commemorations per year and listening to that all Hungarians are accomplices are not enough, we need an OBLIGATORY course as well! Well done Pázmány! No, not...” “And if a teacher denies completion of the course... is that Holocaust denial?” “I hope the course will detail how many Palestinians were killed!” “I am not sure whether the honourable decision makers realize that anti-Semitism has been growing since the Holocaust is rammed down people's throats and there are numerous commemorations around the year... It was a terrible thing indeed, but on one side, from a historical aspect, it was not at all more important than any other tragedies of mankind (like the Armenian genocide, the killing of Native Americans, the victims of the communist regime, unfortunately there has been plenty...)”

In May 2015 this year's Fonogram Awards, one of the most important music award in Hungary were given out. Young G, a reality show celebrity having a music career also, posted a video on Facebook that showed him speculating about how one could win the Fonogram Awards. His post, edited once after publishing, said the followings: “I would like to hereby congratulate to fonogram's »winners«! Who knows how one can convert to Judaism????? [new line] Such a vicious circle.... Good day” (Verbatim quote).

On the night after the Pride event, July 5th, a doll made of iridescent pieces of paper appeared in Budapest central square. The doll was hung on one of the trees by the neck, and on the left side it had a pink triangle, which the Nazis used in the concentration camps to mark homosexuals. During the period of the event, social networks were literally filled with expressions of hatred towards members of non-traditional sexual orientation.

In February 2017, two young Roma women posted on Facebook that they were prohibited from crossing through a popular night life area, Gozsdu Udvar (Gozsdu Passage) in Budapest unless escorted by a security guard. After they asked the guards whether they had been accompanied because of their Roma origin, the guards consulted their supervisor, a Roma himself, and he informed the women that he had been instructed not to allow Roma people to walk across the passage without an escort. Two and a half days later Gozsdu Passage released a statement denying the allegations and questioning the women’s credibility. After the revelation, more and more people started to come forward with similar allegations. Both the EBH and Hungarian police launched an investigation into the case.

After winning the national selection, Joci Pápai, a Hungarian singer, rapper and guitarist of Romani descent represented Hungary in the Eurovision Song Contest 2017. Many anti-Gipsy comments appeared on Facebook and in various comment arenas. In May, the extremely pro-government tabloid, Ripost was published with the front-page reading: “Go Gipsy! We have our fingers crossed for you, Joci!”

In June, far-right extremists, the Érpatak Model National Network, Identitesz, and the Sixty-Four Counties Youth Movement, started to organise a festival in Vecsés, a town of 20,600 inhabitants in the Budapest metropolitan area, to be held on 7–8 July. They advertised the event as a “revolt against liberalism”. In their video spot, future participants named different reasons why they join the event. For example, a skinhead man expressed the following: “I will go to Vecsés because I do not want a Gipsy to represent Hungary in the Eurovision Song Contest with Gipsy music. I want to defend Hungarian culture, and I want to save national identity. At least I want to demand those rights that are allowed for the Jews in Israel.”

Hate speech included various types of acts. In the public sphere, Sajtóklub (Press Club), a political discussion program on Echo TV, the regular guests of the program were Zsolt Bayer, already mentioned several times for his racist and anti-Semitic hate speech, and István Lovas, András Bencsik, and Gergely Huth. The program was a regular scene of anti-Semitic hate speech, including anti-Semitism masked as anti-Israeli criticism. Hate speech included many instances of Holocaust denial and Holocaust trivialization, which we also present in detail in the next chapter. The Hungarian Helsinki Committee however reported a case that happened in February when a Jewish family, especially the young children had been continuously verbally harassed by the neighbors.

Anti-Semitic hate speech occurred many times in demonstrations especially when far-right people showed up at anti-government protests. However, being a genuine far-right protester was not a prerequisite for some people to be anti-Semitic. There is a public debate has been going on about the planned shoreline track for a mobile dam on Budapest’s Római beach. On the one side there are environmentalists and green civil activist, and according to a survey the majority of Budapest citizens too, whose aim is to preserve the last-remaining section of natural beach on the Danube in Budapest. While on the other side there are mainly tenants and owners, previously having their houses built on a well-known floodplain, who want to prevent flood to secure their properties. Supporters of the mobile damn founded an organisation, called the Association for the Római beach (Római-partért Egyesület). In September, the Association wrote a Facebook post with the pictures of the main figures from the opponents’ side. The post read the following: “A group of Jewish intellectuals want to lock into a ghetto those living in the 70 acres on the shore. […] They want to treat those living there the same way as if they forgot what happened to their relatives in the 40s.”

We have already mentioned that in the government’s propaganda campaign George Soros has been used as the scapegoat for the migration issue. The rhetoric used against Mr Soros resembles the narrative of anti-Semitic conspiracy theories that accuse Jews of attempting to rule the world, controlling global financial institutions, subjugating economic and political leaders and acting secretly. There has been intense debate whether the campaign against George Soros is anti-Semitic or not. In May 2017, however, the campaign’s antisemitism became apparent, when the state-sponsored, extremely pro-government M1 television station, aired in its evening news a lengthy report on George Soros calling him an “evil multibillionaire Zionist-American.”

In June 2017 the president of Mazsihisz, an umbrella organisation of Jewish communities, András Heiser, in an open letter to PM Orbán wrote the following: “[…] Although the campaign is not openly anti-Semitic, it is indeed suitable to incite uncontrolled anti-Semitic and other hatred. […]” What especially made Mr Heisler write this letter and ask the prime minister to remove the posters from the streets and end the campaign was the anti-Semitic slurs written on some of the placates. Eventually, in July the government removed the posters but not at all for their controversial meaning.

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