Tony Greenstein | 12 July 2018 | Post Views:

Hungary’s Viktor
Orban, who described pro-Nazi Horthy as an exceptional statesman’ , is invited to Israel whereas Jewish activist Ariel Gold is banned

No prize for guessing which ‘enemy’ speculates with money but our Zios prefer to turn a blind eye to this blatant anti-semitism

The relationship between Viktor
Orban, Hungary’s far-Right Prime Minister and Netanyahu is almost akin to a
love affair. They smile sweetly into
each others’ eyes and seem to have an affection for each other that is uncommon
amongst world leaders.
Of course they have a lot in
common.  Netanyahu built a fence between
Israel and Egypt to keep out asylum seekers from Africa (‘infiltrators’).  Orban built a wall to keep out refugees from
Netanyahu and Orban also have a
common enemy – George Soros, the Jewish billionaire.  Soros is unusual for a billionaire in that he
funds human rights groups, in Israel and Hungary.
The anti-semitic poster campaign that Orban waged against George Soros and which Netanyahu approved
Orban dedicated a nasty and vicious
poster campaign to attacking Soros last year, replete with all the anti-Semitic
dog whistles that only he was capable of. 
Hungary’s Jewish community was up in arms.  Reuters reported
ambassador to Hungary issued a statement denouncing the campaign, saying it “evokes sad memories but also sows hatred and
, an apparent reference to Hungary’s part in the deportation of
500,000 Jews during the Holocaust.
Netanyahu, no doubt sozzled from all
the free champagne that his benefactors have bestowed on him (& which is
now the subject of a corruption charges) hit the roof. He wasn’t going to have
his closest ally in Europe attacked because of a little local anti-Semitism.
Horthy, the ‘exceptional statesman’ and friend
Hours after the Ambassador made his
comments, a spokesman for Israel’s foreign ministry, issued a “clarification” saying that Soros was a
legitimate target for criticism.
no way was the statement (by the ambassador) meant to delegitimize criticism of
George Soros, who continuously undermines Israel’s democratically elected
governments,” said foreign ministry spokesman Emmanuel Nahshon, adding that
Soros funded organizations “that defame the Jewish state and seek to deny it
the right to defend itself
”. Israel
backs Hungary, says financier Soros is a threat
The ‘defamation’ of the Jewish state
constituted having funded Israeli human rights groups such as B’tselem. Israel doesn’t
do human rights. You might ask yourself what democracy vilifies human rights
groups as terrorist supporters and passes legislation to try to prevent them
getting funding. On
Netanyahu’s Orders: Israel’s Foreign Ministry Retracts Criticism of
anti-Semitism in Hungary and Slams George Soros
How Orban’s racist party Fidesz sees his relationship with Netanyahu
It was, of course, extremely
embarrassing to Netanyahu who was just about to pay a state visit to Hungary to have his host criticised for anti-Semitism.
Ha’aretz reported that Jewish community leaders had complained of
their ‘great fears following Orban’s
praise of Mikos Horthy
’ Hungary’s war-time leader ‘who cooperated with the Nazis, as well as Orban’s campaign against
Hungarian-born Jewish business magnate George Soros.’
Netanyahu falls over himself to congratulate Hungary’s anti-semitic ruler
It wasn’t an easy visit to pull off
as ‘Orban’s speech in praise of Horthy
last month created additional tensions with Israel.
’ Because Israel uses
the Holocaust as a form of legitimation it is sometimes difficult to square this with cuddling up to regimes that look to their Nazi
past as a source of national pride.
told Netanyahu that Hungary was pleased to greet such a dedicated patriot,
saying that patriotic governments were the most successful and that successful
government will be those who do not ignore national identity and interests.’
Clearly Orban and Netanyahu had a great
deal in common and they were not going to allow Orban’s nostalgia for Nazi
times past to disturb the karma.
Netanyahu and Yad Vashem
Hungary’s Viktor Orban is not the
only anti-Semitic regime that Netanyahu has taken a shine to.  Poland’s Law and Justice Party [L&J]
government is another close ally. Again there had been a few local
difficulties, but nothing that was insoluble.
How the Jewish Chronicle’s editor Stephen Pollard saw Milibands criticism of the anti-semitic Kaminski
Back in 2009 the Tory
Party was criticised,
by David Miliband for its links with Michal Kaminski, Chair of the European
Parliament’s Conservative and Reform Group and a leading member of the
L&J party, which the Tories had just joined . In the same year
Kaminski spoke alongside
Israel’s Ambassador to the UK, Ron Prossor, at the Conservative Friends of
Israel fringe meeting.
Kaminski was ardently pro-Zionist.  In the same year he was a guest speaker at the
Summit on Counter Terrorism Conference
at Herzliya. 
Kaminski also paid
to the Holocaust dead at the Yad Vashem Holocaust Propaganda Museum
in Jerusalem in April 1976. Yad Vashem has, over the years, been host to a
number of anti-Semites and Nazis including John Vorster, Prime Minister of
Apartheid South Africa who was interned during the war for his Nazi sympathies.

Children liberated by the Soviet forces from Auschwitz whose rescue was abandoned by the Zionist movement

Kaminski was a far- Right Polish MEP who
opposed a national apology for the massacre of up to 1600 Jews by Poles at
Jedwabne in July 1941. The Jews had been herded into a barn which was then set
alight. The massacre was the subject of books by Polish-Jewish
historians Jan Tomasz Gross and Anna Bikont [Neighbours and The Crime and the Silence]. It led to a national apology in 2001, which Kaminski opposed. Stephen
Pollard, editor of the Jewish Chronicle
leapt to Kaminski’s defence.
On October 1st,
in a bizarre op-Ed piece ‘David Miliband’s insult
to Michal Kaminski is contemptible
’ Pollard refuted the suggestion that Kaminski had said
he would apologise to the Jews ‘only if someone “from the Jewish
side” apologises for what “the Jews” did during the Soviet
occupation of eastern Poland from 1939 to 1941. Mr Kaminski flatly denies this,
and no one has yet produced a shred of serious evidence to contradict him.”
Nine days
later Pollard provided the evidence whilst still defending Kaminski, on the grounds that ‘there were acts of collaboration by Jewish people with the Soviet army
when the Soviet army came to Poland … If you are asking the Polish nation to
apologise for the crime made in Jedwabne, you would have to require the whole
Jewish nation to apologise for what some Jewish communists did in Eastern
Poland’s Kaminski is not an antisemite: he’s a friend to
1.10.09. He went on to argue that Kaminski was one of the greatest
friends to the Jews in a town (Brussells) where antisemitism and a visceral
loathing of Israel are rife.’
 In other words his
support for Israel negated his anti-Semitism.
If what Kaminski said wasn’t anti-Semitic it is difficult to
know what is. 90% of Poland’s Jews were exterminated yet Kaminski believed that
the surviving remnant should apologise for having survived. This is the
same Pollard who only last week was berating the ‘institutionally anti-Semitic’ Labour Party for refusing to adopt
wholesale the IHRA definition of anti-Semitism
Pollard complained that instead of adopting the definition as agreed by all these
bodies, Labour has excised the parts which relate to Israel and how criticism
of Israel can be antisemitic.’
Err yes that’s precisely the point. To separate out anti-Zionism and criticism of Israel from anti-semitism.  After all the Zionists have always protested when we said the fake anti-semitism campaign was about Israel.  Now they have proved it.
 But Kaminski
was not the only anti-Semite in the L&J party. Anna Zalewska,  Poland’s Education Minister discounted two well-documented massacres of Jews, including
Jedwabne, by calling it a matter of opinion. When far-right nationalists
marched in Warsaw, brandishing slogans and signs that said “Clean Blood,” “White Europe” and “Europe Will Be White.” Foreign Minister Witold Waszczykowski said
the march was fuelled by “patriotic
behavior of Poles
” and displays of xenophobia were “incidents” that were “of
course, reprehensible.”
If this were not enough then Antoni Macierewicz,
Poland’s Defence Minister told listeners to Radio Maryja, an anti-Semitic Catholic radio station that he had read Protocols of the Elders of
Zion, a Czarist forgery that purports to be a Jewish plan to control the global
economy but which was an acknowledged forgery. It was the basis of the Nazis’
world Jewish conspiracy theories and were described by Norman Cohn as a ‘Warrant for
Acknowledging that there was debate about the pamphlet’s authenticity, Macierewicz told
a listener: “Experience shows that there
are such groups in Jewish circles.”
It is worth bearing in mind that Hitler,
in Mein Kampf [p.174] wrote
that ‘The Protocols of the Elders of Zionare
based on a forgery’, the Frankfurter Zeitung moans and screams once every week:
the best proof that they are authentic.’
In other words both Macierewicz
and Hitler accepted they were true, but for the former it was irrelevant
whether they were authentic or not.  Polish
defence minister condemned over Jewish conspiracy theory
At the end of January
the Polish Sejm passed a Holocaust law whose purpose was to criminalise and silence anyone who suggested that Poles were involved in any
way with the Holocaust or atrocities committed under the Nazis. Poland’s
Holocaust Law Is a Dangerous Threat to Free Speech
Dina Porat, Yad Vashem’s chief historian signs off on Netanyahu’s exoneration of Poland’s holocaust revisionism law
On June 27th
Netanyahu announced that an agreement had been reached with Poland to
decriminalise criticism Polish complicity during the Nazi occupation of Poland.
This agreement has been heavily criticised in Israel for effectively rewriting
the history of the Holocaust.  The agreement
equates Polish rescuers of Jews, of whom there were undoubtedly many, with those
who actively collaborated. Although the agreement was criticised by Yad Vashem it is clear that their chief historian, Dina Porat, was
involved in the drawing up of the agreement.
Although the threat of
imprisonment and fines has now been removed those who mention Polish complicity in Nazi atrocities are still
liable to be sued in the courts.

Neo-Nazi David Duke was pleased to circulate the cartoon above which attacked George Soros

Undoubtedly the actions
of Poland severely embarrassed Israel’s ruling coalition but instead of cutting
off relations with Poland Netanyahu sought to engineer a
compromise. The legislation will remain on the statute and explosure of Polish collaboration in anti-semitic crimes will still be a civil offence.  Why does a so-called Jewish state do this?  Because the most important thing is that Poland’s
far-Right anti-Semitic government is friendly to Israel.  
There are those who
argue that the Zionist movement only collaborated with the Nazi state because
they were relatively powerless.  How then
to explain the treatment of  anti-Semitic governments  today? 
Netanyahu flew half-way round the world to
denounce Obama’s agreement with Iran. When it comes to an anti-Jewish government there
is the gentlest of diplomacy.
Of course this has
produced shock waves amongst liberal Zionists who believe that Zionism genuinely
opposes anti-Semitism. For example Professor Michael Barnett writing in America’s Forward
describes how ‘It’s a shocking thing for
the Prime Minister of the Jewish State to be accused of aiding Holocaust
revisionism yet this episode is only the latest in a string of events in which
the Israeli government has given comfort to anti-Semitism.’
Barnett described how Ron Dermer, Israel’s Ambassador to the US
had praised Hungary for being a great friend of Israel , saying the
country had a “zero tolerance policy”
regarding anti-Semitism despite Orban, and many of its leading politicians having trafficked in anti-Semitism. The following could be a text book example of hidden
and not so covert anti-Semitic messages.
“We are fighting an enemy that is different from us,” Orban said in an election speech in March. “Not open, but hiding; not straightforward but
crafty; not honest but base; 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.”
Barnett asks ‘Why is the Israeli government willing to be
an accessory to Holocaust revisionism and give cover and praise to
and chooses the easy way out.  It is ‘realpolitik’.  ‘Israel’s
security is in constant danger, and the state’s fundamental interest must be
its own security.’
Of course this is a myth.  There is no danger to Israel whatsoever and
if there was Poland is unlikely to be of much help.
The uncomfortable
answer that Barnett and other liberal Zionists shy away from is that Israel is
a far-Right state itself whose attitude to African refugees, Palestinian
refugees and anyone other than its own Jewish citizens is a model example for European
nationalists, fascists and the far Right. In the words
of neo-Nazi Richard Spencer, founder of the US’s alt-Right
“… an Israeli citizen, someone who understands your
identity, who has a sense of nationhood and peoplehood, and the history and
experience of the Jewish people, you should respect someone like me, who has analogous
feelings about whites. You could say
that I am a white Zionist
– in the sense that I care about my people, I
want us to have a secure homeland for us and ourselves. Just like you want a
secure homeland in Israel.”
This is the uncomfortable
truth that liberal Zionists choose to ignore. Israel’s use of the Holocaust as
a propaganda weapon is a double edged sword.  The treatment of refugees in
Israel today is similar to the West’s treatment of Jewish refugees 80 years
ago.  The treatment of Jews in Germany before the 1941 deportations is all
too similar to the treatment of the Arab minority. 

why the Zionist movement constantly wishes to treat the Holocaust as unique,
above and beyond society and without any causes at all (apart from eternal
anti-Semitism). It wants the Holocaust to be beyond history, without any cause
other than the fact of being Jewish.  Such a pitiable travesty of
historical understanding is necessary if Israel is to get away with its day to
day racism, transfer, siege and murder.

that Barnett can say of Israel’s behaviour is that ‘If the price of advancing
Israel’s security is becoming an accessory to Holocaust revisionism, then so be
course Barnett notes that ‘Israel is quite
quick to denounce Holocaust denial when it comes from Tehran, but Tehran is an
implacable foe. Poland can whitewash its own participation in the Holocaust, on
the other hand, and it gets a pass because it is an ally.’
without asking
what is the purpose of a Jewish state whose allies are to be found among anti-Semitic regimes.
it comes to Netanyahu’s silence over the neo-Nazi rally in Charlottesville last
year when one woman was killed and the Nazis chanted  “Jews
will not replace us.”
then he attributes it to ‘the logic of a sharp self-interest’.
course this is nonsense.  Zionism has always
refused to oppose genuine anti-Semitism whilst, at the same time, smearing
its anti-Zionist opponents with the brush of ‘anti-Semitism’.  From Herzl’s diary entry at the time of the Dreyfus
In Paris…, I achieved a freer attitude towards
anti-Semitism, which I now began to understand historically and to pardon.
Above all, I recognise the emptiness and futility of trying to ‘combat’
the trade agreement Ha’avara in 1933 with the Nazis, Zionism has always sought
to utilize anti-Semitism whilst, in Herzl’s words understanding it and pardoning it. 
Zionism has always seen anti-Semitism as the justified reaction of non-Jews
to Jewish aliens within their midst.  Jews
are held to be a separate nation, not part of the non-Jewish nations.  In the words of Zionist writer  and founder of the Encylopedia Judaica, Jacob
we do not admit the rightfulness of anti-Semitism we deny the rightfulness of
our own nationalism… Instead of establishing societies for defence against
the anti-Semites who want to reduce our rights, we should establish societies
for defence against our friends, who desire to defend our rights. [B. Matovu, “The Zionist
Wish and the Nazi Deed’ Issue, Winter 1966-7
cited in Uri Davies, ‘Utopia Incorporated’
p. 17.]
It also
helps explain why Prime Minister Netanyahu stayed quiet in response to the white nationalist rally
in Charlottesville, Virginia, where a woman was killed and neo-Nazis chanted “Jews will not replace us.” Netanyahu
spoke only after President Trump had done so. While White Supremacists were
chanting anti-Semitic slogans, the Israeli government took a policy of “see no
evil, hear no evil, speak no evil
despite Barnett’s complete failure to understand why Israel and Zionism behave
as they do, the conclusions he draws are essentially correct:
The events of 2017 and 2018 suggest that what is good for Israel
might not be necessarily good for diasporic Jews. If this is a reasonable
possibility, then the implication is that the Diaspora Jewish community must
respond appropriately. It must learn to protect itself.
are some important articles, including one from the Hungarian Spectrum on the
background to Orban’s eulogy to Admiral Horthy and another by Chemi Shalev in Ha’aretz.
The Forward July 5 Michael Barnett
Six months ago Poland passed a controversial law intended to criminalize and silence discussions of
Poland’s role in the Holocaust. Anyone who suggested that Poland as a nation
had blood on its hands for the genocide of the Jews could be charged, arrested,
and imprisoned for libel.
Outraged, Holocaust survivors, scholars, public intellectuals,
and governments around the world admonished the Polish government and demanded the law be revoked.
In order to try and work out a diplomatic solution to the controversy, the
Israeli government entered into discussions with Polish officials.
On June 27, Israeli and Polish officials announced an agreement
to amend the law, decriminalizing it. Prime Minister of Israel Benjamin
Netanyahu himself took credit for a joint declaration, boasting that he had protected the “historic truth of the Holocaust.”
But many others read the revised law, and the accompanying joint
statement by Israel and Poland, as essentially giving Israel’s seal of approval
to a bill that attempted to cover up the historical truth and exonerate
Poland’s role in the Holocaust.
No less august an institution than Yad Vashem harshly denounced the Netanyahu government. “A thorough review by Yad Vashem historians shows that the historical
assertions, presented as unchallenged facts, in the joint statement contain
grave errors and deceptions,
” read the press release. Furthermore, the
statement gives the appearance that the Polish government-in-exile and Polish
citizens were trying to rescue Jews when they were more often willing
accomplices in the destruction of the Polish Jews. The joint statement harms
the principle of “unimpeded research,”
and potentially distorts “the historical
memory of the Holocaust.”
Noted Holocaust historian Yehuda Bauer agreed, accusing the Israeli government of participating in the denial of
historical truth and betraying the memory of the Holocaust.
It’s a shocking thing for the Prime Minister of the Jewish State
to be accused of aiding Holocaust revisionism. And yet, this episode is only
the latest in a string of events in which the Israeli government has given
comfort to anti-Semitism.
On June 4, Israeli Ambassador to the United States Ron Dermer praised Hungary for being a great friend of Israel, saying the
country had a “zero tolerance policy”
regarding anti-Semitism. And yet, Hungary’s Prime Minister, Viktor Orban, and
many of its leading politicians have trafficked in anti-Semitism, blaming Hungary’s ills on the Jewish philanthropist
George Soros and making speeches that are laden with anti-Semitic tropes.
 “We are fighting an enemy that is different
from us,”
Orban said in an election speech in March rife with anti-Semitic dog-whistles. “Not open,
but hiding; not straightforward but crafty; not honest but base; 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.”
In response, the Anti-Defamation League and other American
Jewish organizations issued one denunciation after another.
And yet, Ron Dermer praised Hungary. It raises a stymying
question: Why is the Israeli government willing to be an accessory to Holocaust
revisionism and give cover and praise to anti-Semites?
Realpolitik provides the most straightforward explanation for
Israel’s unfortunate associations. From a realpolitik point of view, Israel’s
security is in constant danger, and the state’s fundamental interest must be
its own security. As famously observed by Lord Palmerston, “there are no permanent friends or permanent enemies, only permanent
From this point of view, states will associate themselves with
their purported values only so long as the values do not undermine their
fundamental security interests. There is no room for sentimentality, ethics,
and morality when it comes to the survival and security of the state. The weak
who believe the promises of the strong will be disappointed, and put their own
security at risk.
This realist wisdom maps reasonably well onto Israeli foreign
policy. Israel lives in a rough neighborhood and knows that it can rely on no
one else for its survival and security.
In addition to the defense of Israeli and Jewish security, the
Israeli state also identifies with various values, such as human rights,
democracy, and the rule of law. But Israel, just like all other states, will
have a relationship of convenience with its values; interests will and must
always trump them. Despite its rhetorical commitment to these values, Israel
has worked in the past with an authoritarian Argentina and an apartheid South
Africa, and currently with a genocidal Myanmar.
And Israel knows better than to put its faith in the commitments
made by others to its survival. The U.S. has been a long-time friend, defender,
and benefactor, but Israel’s security and defense policy operates with the
premise that it must be prepared to fight on its own. In this way, it’s like
all other countries.
And yet, in one critical respect, Israel is quite different:
Israel claims to defend the security and survival of both the state and
the Jewish people. Its definition of the “national” interest is thus more
expansive than that of other states because the Jewish nation lives not only in
Israel but also in the diaspora.
This raises a huge question: What will the Israeli government do
when there’s a trade-off between protecting Jewish Israelis and Diaspora Jews?
Realists tell us that Israel will probably choose the survival
and security of the state over all other demands, including the needs of
diasporic Jews.
And the Israeli government seems to be operating true to realist
Israel’s recent foreign policy decisions make more sense in the
realpolitical context. Israel is doing what is best for Israel, not necessarily
what is best for the Jews. If the price of advancing Israel’s security
is becoming an accessory to Holocaust revisionism, then so be it.
Israel is quite quick to denounce Holocaust denial when it comes
from Tehran, but Tehran is an implacable foe. Poland can whitewash its own
participation in the Holocaust, on the other hand, and it gets a pass because
it is an ally.
The logic of a sharp self-interest also helps explain why Prime
Minister Netanyahu stayed quiet in response to the anti-Semitic white nationalist rally
in Charlottesville, Virginia, where a woman was killed and neo-Naizs chanted “Jews will not replace us.” Netanyahu
spoke only after President Trump had done so. While White Supremacists were
chanting anti-Semitic slogans, the Israeli government took a policy of “see no
evil, hear no evil, speak no evil.”
What does Israel get in return for its seal of approval for
anti-Semitism? Hungary and Poland are members of the European Union, and might
be able to help Israel fend off EU legislation that is critical of Israel and
its policies in the occupied territories.
Because of Israel’s policies in the territories it is finding it
more difficult to maintain its long-standing alliances with liberal-oriented
Western European governments; consequently, it must search elsewhere.
When given the choice between defending Jewish security and
survival in the United States, or maintaining access to an oval office that has
aligned itself with anti-Semites, the Israeli government chose the latter.
The events of 2017 and 2018 suggest that what is good for Israel
might not be necessarily good for diasporic Jews. If this is a reasonable
possibility, then the implication is that the Diaspora Jewish community must
respond appropriately. It must learn to protect itself.
It wont be the first time. Beginning in the 19th century and
continuing through the Holocaust, Jews in London, Paris, and Berlin established
various Jewish protection societies that lobbied their governments to place
diplomatic pressure on those eastern European states and Russia that were
persecuting their Jews. American Jews often joined their West European
brethren, but they often deferred to these more established Jewish communities
as they focused on the challenge of settling hundreds of thousands of Jewish
The Holocaust, though, promoted the American Jewish community to
the role of primary protector of the Jewish diaspora. How Jews organized to
protect the diaspora changed again with the establishment of the State of
Israel, as Israel and American Jews began to partner in the defense of Jewish
Israel had sovereignty, a military, and a seat at the major
international organizations where it could defend Jewish interests, as well as
an identity as chief representative of the Jewish nation.
American Jews were the largest Jewish community in the world,
increasingly confident and politically connected, and had close ties to a U.S.
government that was the world’s leading superpower.
Together, Israel and American Jewry worked jointly to defend
Jewish communities around the world, free Soviet Jews, and rescue Ethiopian
Israel’s recent foreign policy behavior, though, suggests that
American Jewry must be prepared to take a more robust role in the protection of
Jewish life outside of Israel. To do so, it should move in the following three
First, it must sharpen and assert its moral leadership. An
Israel that is prepared to give cover to ant-Semitism and Holocaust denial is
an Israel that has ceded considerable moral authority in the Jewish world. The
declaration between Israel and Poland was just that — a declaration between two
sovereign states. But it should not be interpreted as anything more than that. Israel
has no moral authority to decide what kind of inquiry into the Holocaust is
acceptable or not. American Jewry and other diasporic Jewish communities can
make this clear by raising a dissenting voice.
Second, it should actively debate whether Israel is willing and
able to defend the basic physical security or diasporic Jews. Israel has had a
standard answer to diasporic Jews under threat: make Aliyah. That is one
possibility, for sure, but it should not be the only one.
Diasporic Jewry must consider all possible options. And among
those options must be a willingness to call out an Israeli government that
seems prepared to give credibility to governments that traffic in anti-Semitism.
Third, American Jews must become a stronger voice for refugees
and displaced peoples, and lobby for a just immigration policy. In many
respects they already are. Because of American Jewish history — the closing of
the immigration doors after World War One and refusal to accept European Jewish
refugees during the Holocaust and afterwards — they have been important
advocates for vulnerable populations attempting to reach American shores.
At the moment, American Jews are using their own historical
experience to identify with the suffering of others. But at some point in the
near future it might be Jewish lives at stake.
Consider the nightmare scenario of French Jews forced to flee
because of rising anti-Semitism. It is quite possible that many of them will
prefer to seek refuge in the United States, just like European and Soviet Jews
of the past.
They should have that choice. But they will only have the choice
if the United States creates a compassionate immigration policy. Better to push
for justice now rather than ask for special favors for French Jews later.
It is painful to watch Israel, the homeland of the Jews, give
comfort to anti-Semitism and to those who want to distort the history of the
Holocaust. Defenders of Israel’s policies point to realpolitik and accepting
the world as it is.
Regardless of whether or not this is an acceptable defense, the
implication is the same: Diaspora Jews might not be able to count on Israel to
defend their interests and values.
Barnett is University Professor of International Affairs and Political Science
at George Washington University. His most recent book is “The Star and the
Stripes: A History of the Foreign Policies of American Jews” (Princeton
University Press, 2016).
landslide poll victory for Hungarian leader, PM thanks him for supporting
Israel in international forums
Times of Israel 9 April 2018,
6:44 pm
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu called
Hungary’s newly
leader Viktor Orban on Monday to congratulate him on his victory
in Sunday’s general elections.
Netanyahu invited his Hungarian
counterpart to visit Israel, according to a statement from the Prime Minister’s
Office. A Channel 10 news report said Netanyahu was the first foreign leader to
congratulate Orban.
The premier also thanked Orban for “Hungary’s support for Israel in
international forums,”
the statement continued.
In December, Hungary was one of 35
countries that abstained on a United Nations General assembly vote condemning
US President Donald Trump’s decision to relocate the United States’ embassy in
Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.
Netanyahu met Orban during a four-day
official visit to Hungary last July
, and similarly praised Orban for his
support for Israel.
done that time and again,
” Netanyahu said at the
time. “We appreciate this stance, not
only because it’s standing with Israel, but it’s also standing with the truth.”
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Hungarian Prime Minister
Viktor Orban (L) hold a Rubik’s Cube at the Hungary-Israel Business Forum in
Budapest, Hungary, on July 19, 2017. (Haim Zach/GPO/Flash90)
Budapest is at “the forefront of the states that are opposed to this anti-Jewish
policy, and I welcome it,”
the prime minister added.
Orban praised Netanyahu at the time as a
dedicated patriot,” adding that this
is the key to his country’s success.
a lot for us to learn from Israel, ladies and gentlemen, because Israel teaches
the world and us also that if you don’t fight for something, you will lose it,”

he said. “Because nowadays, you have to
fight for everything in the modern world.”
Orban was elected Sunday to his third
consecutive term on a controversial anti-migrant platform, with his Fidesz
party winning a super-majority.
Fidesz and its small ally, the Christian
Democrat party, won a two-thirds majority, which is enough to make changes to
the constitution.
Orban late Sunday celebrated what he
called a “decisive victory.”
The far-right Jobbik party placed second
with 26 seats, while a Socialist-led, left-wing coalition came in third with 20
Germany’s conservative interior minister
welcomed Orban’s “very clear election
and warned the European Union against showing arrogance.
Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban greets his supporters in
Budapest, Hungary, April 8, 2018. (AP Photo/Darko Vojinovic)
Horst Seehofer said he would
congratulate Orban on behalf of his Christian Social Union party. As Bavaria’s
governor until last month, Seehofer sparred with Chancellor Angela Merkel over
her migration policy and invited Orban to gatherings of his party.
German news agency dpa reported that
Seehofer warned the EU against a “policy
of arrogance and paternalism
” and said bilateral ties with EU countries are
always important even when there are differences.
However, Luxembourg Foreign Minister
Jean Asselborn slammed Orban’s anti-migrant stance and called on other European
nations to reject it.
He was quoted Monday as telling German
daily Die Welt: “Today it is Hungary and
Poland, tomorrow others in eastern and central Europe, even a big founding
country of the EU, could develop a taste for undermining values and
He added that after the Hungarian
election “it is up to Germany and France,
along with all member states that aren’t counting on indifference, to weigh in
unambiguously on the basis of the European treaties to neutralize this tumor of

In Orbán’s opinion Miklós
Horthy was an exceptional statesman

Spectrum, 21st June 2017
Another day, another speech. Yes, Viktor Orbán delivered
another speech
which, with the exception of one short passage, was nothing
more than his usual collection of clichés about “those people whose aim is the transformation of Europe’s cultural
subsoil, which will lead to the atrophy of its root system.”
The occasion was the opening of the newly renovated,
sumptuous house of Kuno Klebelsberg, minister of education between 1922 and
1931, in Pesthidegkút, today part of District XII of Budapest. Along with
István Bethlen, prime minister between 1921 and 1931, Klebelsberg was his
favorite politician of the interwar period. Neither of them was a champion of
democracy, but they stood far above the average Hungarian politicians of the
period. I devoted
a post
to Klebelsberg in 2011 when the government decided that the new
centralized public school system would be overseen by a monstrous organization
called Klebelsberg Intézményfenntartó Központ (KLIK).
As I said, there was only one passage in the whole
speech that will not easily be forgotten. After describing the 1920s and 1930s
as “a grave touchstone” of Hungarian
history, Orbán said that the nation was able to survive thanks to “some exceptional statesmen like Governor
Miklós Horthy, Prime Minister István Bethlen, and Kuno Klebelsberg.”
to them, “history didn’t bury us under
the weight of the lost war, the 133 days of red terror, and the Diktat of
Trianon. Without the governor there is no prime minister, and without the prime
minister there is no minister. Even Hungary’s dismal role in World War II
cannot call into question this fact.
” Jaws dropped even at the conservative
Válasz, which called
Horthy’s description
as an exceptional statesman “a historical hornet’s nest” which will be followed by a long,
far-reaching, and most likely acrimonious debate.
Miniszterelnöki Kabinet / Károly Árvai
Maybe we could quibble over whether István Bethlen was
a statesman, but that Miklós Horthy was not is certain, and not just because of
his dismal political career. When we think of a statesman we think of a highly
respected, influential politician who exhibits great ability, wisdom, and
integrity. None of these fits Miklós Horthy. He was a narrow-minded man without
any political experience. Why did Orbán feel it necessary to join Horthy to
Bethlen and Klebelsberg as great statesmen of the interwar period, especially
by employing such twisted logic? One cannot think of anything else but that he
has some political reason for his “re-evaluation” of Horthy.
This interpretation is new because it wasn’t a
terribly long time ago when, in the wake of the Bálint Hóman statue controversy
in Székesfehérvár in December 2015, Orbán said
in parliament
that he couldn’t support the erection of the Hóman statue
because the constitution doesn’t allow anyone to be honored who held political
office after March 19, 1944, because any political activity after that date meant
collaboration with the oppressors, i.e. the Germans. For that reason, he
wouldn’t support a statue for Governor Miklós Horthy either. So, this is quite
a leap, which may have even international consequences. Although Horthy was not
officially declared to be a war criminal, historical memory has not been kind
to him. I am certain that the news that Viktor Orbán embraced Miklós Horthy as
one of the great Hungarian statesmen of the twentieth century will be all over
the international media.
The Hungarian reaction in anti-Fidesz circles was that
Orbán’s change of heart as far as Horthy is concerned has something to do with
his desire to weaken Jobbik, a party which has been most fervent in its
rehabilitation efforts on behalf of Miklós Horthy. Orbán has been waging a war
against Jobbik for some time, and Jobbik’s very effective billboards infuriated
him. He wants to destroy Vona and his party. He is vying for Jobbik votes by
courting far-right Jobbik supporters who might be dissatisfied with Vona’s new,
more moderate policies. Perhaps Horthy will do the trick.
As far as Horthy’s political abilities are concerned,
his best years were the first ten years of his governorship when he had the
good sense to let Bethlen run the affairs of state. Every time he was active in
politics he made grievous mistakes or worse, be it in the years 1919 and 1920
or in the second half of the 1930s and early 1940s.
You may have noticed that Orbán talked about the red
terror but didn’t mention the white terror that was conducted by Horthy’s
so-called officer detachments (különítmények). They roamed the countryside and
exercised summary justice against people they suspected of support for or participation
in the Hungarian Soviet Republic. Horthy knew about their activities and most
likely even encouraged them. The number of victims of white terror was about
three times the number of those who were killed by the so-called Lenin Boys.
Horthy’s election to the position of governor was
mostly due to the fact that the only military force that existed in the country
in late 1919 and early 1920 was his detachments. Politicians were worried about
the possibility of a military coup. Horthy expressed his impatience with the
politicians several times as they tried to hammer out a coalition government
the allies would accept. And his officers made it clear that it is Horthy or
else. His political views at that time were identical to those of his far-right
officers who later claimed that they were the first national socialists in
Horthy’s real inability as a politician came to light
when the world was edging toward a new world war. Perhaps his greatest sin was
Hungary’s declaration of war against the Soviet Union. He volunteered Hungary’s
military assistance when Germany didn’t even press for it. He also bears an immense responsibility for the Hungarian Holocaust
when, after the German occupation on March 19, 1944, the government
he appointed sent half a million Hungarian Jewish citizens to their death while
he himself did nothing. And we know that he could have prevented it, as he was
able to stop the transports later, mind you only after 450,000 Jewish citizens
had already been sent to die in Auschwitz and other extermination camps.
decision to declare Horthy a national hero shows the true nature of his regime.

Menachem Begin Would Be
Ashamed of Netanyahu’s Whitewash of Hungary’s anti-Semitism, Poland’s Holocaust

Viktor Orban’s upcoming official visit to
Israel is a blot on the prime minister’s record and a stain on Israel’s history
Chemi Shalev  Jul 03, 2018 10:29 AM
Israel’s preeminent Holocaust historian, Yehuda Bauer, has castigated
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu
for his recent joint
statement with Poland
, which, Bauer said, belittles the Polish role in the
destruction of Polish Jewry. “This is a small achievement and a big
mistake, which borders on betrayal,”
Bauer said of Netanyahu’s blessing
for the Polish
amendment that would decriminalize
claims that Poles aided and abetted the
Nazis, but maintain their status as a civil offense.
It’s tempting to excuse the incident as a triumph of realpolitik over
historical truth. Israel, after all, has myriad political and security
interests with Poland that are arguably more important than the age-old
question of the complicity of Poles in the Holocaust. Yedioth Ahronot columnist
Nahum Barnea, for example, this week compared Netanyahu’s move to Ben
’s willingness in the early 1950’s to recognize an “other Germany” in
exchange for massive German aid. “There
were those who cursed him for this; others blessed him. In hindsight, it seems
like he was right.”
The comparison, of course, is problematic, and not just in scale. Israel
in the early 1950’s was desperate. It suffered from extreme austerity, was
strapped for cash and faced the impossible hurdle of absorbing masses of new
immigrants that doubled the country’s population within the first four years of
its existence. Germany’s decision to grant Israel close to $8 billion dollars
in current value literally saved the Israeli economy from going bankrupt.
Israel’s reliance on Poland in 2018 is negligible in comparison to say the
Contrary to Polish leaders, moreover, who cater to nationalist sentiments
by legislating revisionist history, German Chancellor Konrad Adenauer defied
them in 1952 by accepting responsibility for the Holocaust as crimes committed
on behalf of the German people.”
Ironically, Netanyahu’s ideological predecessor Menachem Begin was the fiercest
opponent of the so-called reparations deal with Germany, leading a popular
revolt that bordered at times on mutiny.
Moreover, Netanyahu’s willingness to forgive, forget and look the other
way when Holocaust revisionism and plain anti-Semitism rear their heads isn’t
limited to Poland. His chummy relationship with Hungarian authoritarian Viktor
Orban is another case in point. Netanyahu
visited Budapest last July
and extolled Orban’s leadership, despite the
Hungarian prime minister’s effusive
for Hungary’s World War II dictator Miklos Horthy, who was
“complicit” in the extermination of Hungary’s Jews, according to the United
States Holocaust Memorial Museum. Netanyahu was also one of a handful of Western
leaders who called Orban to congratulate
him after his victory
in this year’s April elections, despite the fact that
the win was based on a
virulent public campaign against George Soros
, which Hungarian Jews and
international observers described as anti-Semitic in tone and content.
This week it was announced that Orban would visit Israel on July 18-20, thus completing Netanyahu’s efforts to
stamp the Hungarian leader with an Israeli kosher certificate.
Hungarian leader will be given a royal welcome, but in light of Netanyahu’s own
incessant attacks on Soros, for all we know the two leaders might issue a joint
statement condemning the Hungarian-born Jewish financier. This is less Ben Gurion style realpolitik and more an Israeli prime
minister’s active collaboration in anti-Jewish propaganda.
The Netanyahu-Orban axis, after all, isn’t a product of tactical
political expediency, but a strategic meeting of the minds. Both strive for ethnocentric illiberalism. Both
share a disdain for liberal values, especially those admired and cultivated by
the vast majority of American Jews. Both agitate against immigrants. Both are
sworn enemies of the free press. Both feel an affinity with Russian strongman Vladimir
and both have tied their country’s fates to Donald Trump.
Needless to say, Netanyahu has pointedly refrained from criticizing Trump for
any of his questionable statements on racists and Jews, including his
post-Charlottesville equation of neo-Nazis with anti-racist demonstrators.
Netanyahu’s courtship of authoritarian regimes can be explained, but not
justified. Of course he revels in Trump’s revocation of the Iran nuclear deal
and his anti-Palestinian policies, including the transfer
of the U.S. Embassy to Jerusalem
. And naturally Netanyahu is eager to
exploit the willingness of countries such as Hungary and Poland to buck the
European Union, a pet peeve of the prime minister and the U.S. President, and
to undermine Europe’s criticism of Israeli policies in the occupied
But such considerations cannot
excuse Netanyahu’s willingness to turn a blind eye to Holocaust revisionism and
They cannot serve as a pretext for turning his back on the
painful legacy of Polish and Hungarian Jews or for alienating the vibrant
American Jewish community. His decision to gloss over the odious Polish law
against claims of Polish complicity in the Holocaust and to camouflage
Hungary’s propaganda against “internationalists” like Soros are a blot on his
own record and a stain on Israeli history. Netanyahu’s whitewashing of
anti-Jewish regimes may not be tantamount to “selling the memory of slaughtered
Jews for blood money”, as Begin said of Ben Gurion, but one thing is certain:
the legendary Herut founder would be ashamed.
Marton Dunai, June 30, 2017 Budapest, HungaryGetty Images
Prime Minister Viktor Orban long proclaimed zero tolerance of anti-Semitism but
has more recently risked angering Israel and Jewish people with remarks
apparently courting radical right-wing voters ahead of 2018 elections.
language, embracing notions of “ethnic homogeneity,” appears fashioned to
occupy territory on the far right abandoned by the radical nationalist
opposition party Jobbik, which has moderated its message, analysts and critics
has locked horns with European Union partners over respect for liberal
democratic conventions and reluctance to take in refugees.
a speech last week Orban recalled the rule of interwar Governor Miklos Horthy,
a divisive figure who led the country for 24 years until 1944, signing several
landmark laws against Jews and eventually surrendering more than 500,000 to the
Nazi Holocaust.
“That history did not bury us [after World War
I] is down to a few exceptional statesmen [like] Gov. Miklos Horthy,”
he said. “That fact cannot be negated by Hungary’s
mournful role in World War II.”
Federation of Jewish Communities in Hungary and the World Jewish Congress said
in a joint statement that they were “concerned” about the tone of such
ambassador to Budapest requested a clarification of Orban’s words, which
Jerusalem found “troubling.” Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is due to pay a
visit to Budapest in mid-July, the first by a sitting Israeli prime minister.
analysts said Orban’s new hardened tone signaled a change in his politics and
could define his upcoming election campaign as he seeks reelection for a third
consecutive term.
Fidesz is a runaway favorite to win the 2018 elections, commanding about a
third of the electorate with Jobbik and the Socialists at about 10 percent
received about a million votes in 2014, but risks big chunks of that electorate
with its new, more moderate line.
Jobbik’s move towards the center has
upended the power base in the center and created a vacuum on the far right,”
Novak, analyst at the Centre for Fair Political Analysis said.
indicator of that move is Orban’s harder line on immigration. Hundreds of
thousands of migrants have entered Hungary via its southern frontier since
2015, though most have moved on westward to more prosperous parts of the EU.
Budapest has erected a border fence along its southern frontier.
“It is very important to preserve our ethnic

Orban told a business forum February 28, repeating the phrase several times.
Capital analyst Peter Kreko sees Fidesz and Jobbik actually trading places,
with Orban now on the far right.
“For Orban to speak about ‘ethnic homogeneity’
in eastern Europe, less than 75 years after the Holocaust or 25 years after the
Balkan wars, is a complete disregard of civilized norms,”
Kreko told Reuters.
week he used a national tour rallying against European Union plans for migrant
resettlement quotas to criticize Muslim migrants.
They don’t respect our culture,” he
said. “They seek space for their own
(culture), then suppress ours, then replace it. This is a matter of identity.”
“ethnic homogeneity” idea has struck a nerve with a new militant right-wing
political alliance, which will launch at a rally next week and may also enter
the 2018 election race.
“Within decades the continent can implode
alliance leader Balazs Laszlo told the pro-Orban daily Magyar
Idok. “Our ethnic homogeneity can come
wholly undone… We recognize differences and defend our own race.”
leader of the movement, Mihaly Orosz denied any cooperation with Fidesz.
they sense they can use our movement politically they might try but there is no
intentional collusion on our part,” he said, adding their goal was to pass the
5 percent vote threshold to get into Parliament in 2018.
the analyst, says the parallels clearly indicate a strategic squeeze:
harvesting voters left behind by Jobbik from both the center of the political
spectrum and the extreme right.
also denied any cooperation.
“Fidesz rejects all kinds of anti-Semitism,
and does not cooperate with these politicians,”
the party said in an emailed statement.
Raphael Magarik February 9,
2018 Getty Images
On Thursday, the
British tabloid “The Telegraph” ran a cover story featuring a picture of George
Soros with the headline “Man who ‘broke
the Bank of England’ backing secret plot to thwart Brexit.”
The outrage against the headline’s anti-Semitic portrayal of a
globalist anti-patriotic Jewish banker’s secretive plot was swift and
But The Telegraph’s
gaffe was hardly sui generis.
Just last Sunday,
Prime Minister of Israel Benjamin Netanyahu claimed that Hungarian-American billionaire George Soros is
funding protests against Israel’s planned deportation of Sudanese and Eritrean
asylum seekers. Soros promptly denied that he was involved, and Netanyahu gave no evidence for
his accusation.
Neo-Nazi Andrew Anglin of the Daily Stormer praised Yair Netanyahu’s cartoon attacking George Soros – one can only guess at the conversations in the Netanyahu household
leading US neo-Nazi David Duke, a former Grand Master of the KKK, praised Yair Netanyahu’s cartoon attacking Soros
But Soros has long been a fixation for the Israeli right. In
July, the Israeli foreign ministry
endorsed a Hungarian ad
campaign singling out Soros, despite widespread criticism (including by the
Israeli ambassador to Hungary) of the campaign’s anti-Semitism. And in
September, Netanyahu’s own son Yair
posted a
conspiratorial, anti-Semitic image to Facebook featuring Soros dangling the
world before a reptilian predator.
The spectacle of the
Israeli government endorsing anti-Semitic tropes is a painful and bizarre new
feature of our world. But there’s an angle from which the Right’s hatred of
Soros actually makes sense.
Soros embodies a Diasporic Jewish archetype that right-wing
Zionism has defined itself against: the cosmopolitan financier, the wandering
Jew comfortable everywhere and at home nowhere
; the liberal committed to abstract principles rather than to
his particular nation. He is a reminder that another model of Jewish identity
and even Jewish power exists divorced from nationalism, and as such, he is a
big threat to the Zionist right.
Born in Budapest,
Hungary, he was educated in England and then moved to the United States (he is
hated by the nationalist right in all three countries). He has made billions gambling in currency, which was
once a matter of national sovereignty but, thanks to Soros and others, has
become a international market.
As in the Telegraph
piece, Soros has been dubbed “The Man Who
Broke the Bank of England” —
that is, a capitalist to whom the nation-state
yields. His business led him to the conclusion that national governments are insufficient to regulate
global capitalism. “Leav[ing] it to each
individual state to protect its own interests will surely lead to the breakdown
of the gigantic circulatory system which goes under the name of global
Soros warned in his book.
The anti-Semitic slurs and comparisons to Rothschild basically write
In his philanthropy
too, he supports financially the values of international liberal capitalism:
tolerance, internationalism, and democracy. That means funding anti-Communist
protests in Eastern Europe, the liberal opposition to right-wing Hungarian
nationalism, and the political campaign against Bush in 2004.
He has pledged to
fight against nationalism, which he calls the “dominant
ideology in the world now”
and supports greater European integration, hence
the anti-Brexit cash.
Perhaps most
offensive of all to Jewish nationalists, Soros has said of Israel: “I
don’t want anything to do with it.”
A proud and confirmed globalist, Soros learned from the
Holocaust not that Jews needs a nation-state, but that the world needs less
As Mairav Zonszein wrote back in July, “Soros’s
humanitarianism and universalism represent an expression of post-Holocaust
Jewish identity that is anathema to the hard-line nationalism of Mr.
Netanyahu’s governing coalition.”
He is the Old Jew par excellence, the
deracinated banker and universal alien—an embodiment of the problem Zionism set
out to solve.
To be sure, Soros
and Israel or Zionism are in no way fundamentally opposed. That would be
absurd, since Soros currently bankrolls massive portions of the progressive,
Jewish infrastructure in Israel. I am saying that Soros is anathema for
right-wing Zionism, that is, a nationalism with no respect for universal rights
or values — and with no respect for Diaspora Jewry
Zionism has always
been ambivalent towards Diaspora Jews, as it has always been torn on the
relationship between the Jewish nation and the universal world. Eliezer Schweid
has shown how Zionists have long been torn between a “negation of
the exile” (shlilat hagolah) that sees Diaspora as embarrassing, weak, and
morally compromised, and the needs for Israelis to identify and connect with
Jewish history, which has long been Diasporic.
More broadly, there
have always been universalist and particularistic strains in Zionist thought,
from Revisionists like Jabotinsky who place the national collective above all,
to universalists like J. L. Magnes who don’t even want a politically “Jewish”
state, and imagine Israel as a secular democracy shared by Jews and
But over the past
decade, this tension has been somewhat resolved, and not for the best. A brutal, angry, and ethno-centric form of
nationalism has taken over the Israeli government and society.
for instance, supports a “Jewish
state law” on the argument that Israel has been insufficiently Jewish over the
last seventy years. West Bank settlers have entered the mainstream of Israeli
politics; for the first time, a settler serves on the Israeli supreme court, and another owns a major
Israeli newspaper.
The right openly
rejects any vision for a Palestinian state, and it is increasingly disdainful
of the democratic world. The Likud wants to regulate and limit foreign NGOs
(just like far-right nationalists in Hungary and elsewhere).
Within Israeli
culture, open expressions of racism are growing more common. A player for the
Beitar football team said openly, “I am a
,” and studies find that Israeli teens are increasingly comfortable
with outright racism. The hatred of African refugees — or as they are called in Israel
today, “infiltrators” — flows directly from this angry, exclusivist
nationalism. Minister of Culture Miri Regev, who is fighting a war against Israeli culture she deems insufficiently
nationalist, also said, “The Sudanese are
a cancer in our body.”
What’s important to
recognize here is that the right’s attacks on Soros and its plan to deport
Africans flow from the same source: a newly ascendant, intense and unchecked
sense that Jewish Israel ought to care exclusively about itself.
American Jews have
been shocked and appalled by the Israeli government’s plan to deport 60,000
poor, stateless Africans. Thank God. To deport people traumatized by war and a
brutal trek through Sudan and Egypt, subjected to violence, neglect, and living
in South Tel Aviv in abject poverty—that’s a scandal.
But less obviously,
the plight of the African asylum seekers is not just about how we treat the
Other; it is also about how Israel views us Diaspora Jews.
The Likudniks who
reject beleaguered foreigners as “infiltrators” also reject American Jews as
shiftless, Diasporic self-haters. It is no accident that a government
indifferent to Africans is also indifferent to American Jewish concerns about
religious pluralism at the Western Wall, that a state which could expel
refugees could deny entry to left-wing Jews critical of the Occupation.
The Israeli right is
rapidly passing beyond nationalism into an isolationism which surveys the globe
and sees only enemies.
American Jews must
fight this trend, because it isn’t just a rejection of the Other; it is a
rejection of us.
Raphael Magarik is a doctoral candidate at the University
of California at Berkeley.

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Tony Greenstein

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