From Jobbik rallies to Southern California churches

Historica is a popular Hungarian rock band. They play “national rock” which is a mixture a hard rock and even harder-core Hungarian nationalism. One of their songs is about the heroism of Mr. Albert Wass, a fascist and a convicted World War II criminal, who received the death sentence in absentia for murdering Jews and Romanian peasants. (Historica’s Albert Wass music video.)

The band leader, Mr. Ézsiás emailed me that I shouldn’t badmouth the group behind their back. “Stand before us,” he warned.

In Budapest the group frequently plays at Jobbik rallies. Jobbik, for those of you who don’t know, is Hungary’s far-right, anti-Roma and anti-Semitic party. Their audience is young and some have neo-Nazi sympathies; they love the band. Mr. Ézsiás writes that I should mention that they frequently play to Fidesz audiences, and do quite a bit of charity work.

The group is coming to California to perform in Hungarian Reformed churches, one of their hosts is Mr. Jakabffy the Pastor at Grace Hungarian Reformed Church, in Reseda, California. He writes, “I know a lot of people are against their performance.”

The nationalist "Historica" band comes to the U.S.

The nationalist “Historica” band comes to the U.S.

Historica’s tour is sponsored by the Washington DC based “The Hungary Initiatives Foundation.” The Foundation was started with Hungarian taxpayer’s money, and it is currently directed by Mr. Tamás Fellegi, an ex-minister, and a confidant of Prime Minister Viktor Orbán. Mr. Fellegi is Jewish. At least he frequently mentions that while in the United States; in Hungary he never talks about his background. On the foundation’s board is Ms. Katrina Lantos Swett, the daughter of the late Congressman Tom Lantos, a Jewish Holocaust survivor. Ms. Lantos Swett is a devout Mormon.

Welcome to Hungarian reality. Mr. Fellegi, a part-time Jew, and Ms. Lantos the Mormon daughter of a Jewish Holocaust survivor, are sponsoring the California tour of a far-right, nationalist band which frequently participates in the rallies of the viciously anti-Semitic Jobbik party.

Mr. Ézsiás, the band leader invites me: “We welcome you at our concerts,” he writes. I’m not going.

György Lázár

***

A note from the editor:
After the publication of our article, the Hungarian Spectrum portal has reported that Katrina Lantos Swett has resigned from the board of the Hungary Initiatives Foundation.

Historica's logo.

Historica’s logo.

3 Comments

  1. Avatar András Göllner says:

    Makes one’s hair stand on end. Truth is stranger than fiction. No doubt Bede-Fazekas Zsolt, the KMOSZ, the good man, Dr Pordány and others are in hot pursuit to book this other wonderful cultural icon of the hate-mongering, pro-Jobbik, pro-Fidesz political movement in Canada. We’ll really raise the roof high if they dare to try and sing their pro-fascist tunes in Canada.

  2. DECENCY

    Every ethnic group — indeed every group of sufficient size — has its sellouts and scapegraces. For the Jewish community of fate, with its tragic history and continued vulnerability, such lapses are particularly painful, indeed dangerous. It is a general human failing to compromise ethics for short-term gains, but Jews, through no fault of their own, need to be particularly resistant against falling into this failing, because they represent not only themselves but their entire vulnerable community.

    I profoundly hope that either Mr. Fellegi will wash his hands of Jobbik and Fidesz taint, and keep them that way — or that the worldwide community of decent, ethical human beings will wash their hands of Mr Fellegi and his Hungarian Initiatives Foundation.

    A good first step would be to cancel the “Historica” tour. Another would be to allow pluralism and dialogue to flower in the Hungarian expatriate community rather than continuing to demonize all criticism of the current Hungarian government as if it were “anti-Hungarian.”

    That would be a Hungarian Initiative worth taking.

  3. Just a small correction to the Note from the editor. Mr. Fellegi told Népszabadság that he had not asked for correction from Hungarian Spectrum for misreporting the “resignation” of the board members because basically he does not think a blog worthy of his attention.

    But the fact is that he could not have asked for correction because I never claimed that a number of board members “resigned.” What I said was the following: “the Hungary Initiative Foundation, which operates in the United States as a propaganda arm of the Orbán government, has lost almost half of its board members.”

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