Hungary rewrites Samantha Power anti-Semitism speech

Hungarian newsmakers didn’t like UN Ambassador Samantha Power’s criticism of the Hungarian Government’s attempt to rewrite World War II history – so they rewrote her speech. Why not?

Hungarian news sources often ignore important stories, but in this case they went one step further; they turned the table and rewrote it. They added lines she never said, a rant about the bad behavior of the ugly Americans. This fits well with the Orbán Government’s official propaganda that Hungary is a bastion of tolerance while the United States is a racist and anti-Semitic country.

It was last November when Samantha Power delivered President Obama’s message at a conference on anti-Semitism in Berlin. The event was organized by the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) to mark the 10th anniversary of their first conference on anti-Semitism and its concluding declaration. Their admonition of 2004 remains relevant today, said Ms. Power, adding that “robust steps must be taken” to combat the problem.

Ms. Power urged European leaders to appoint high-level envoys to focus on anti-Semitism; pass hate-crimes legislation and vigorously pursue and prosecute perpetrators; and uphold the clear distinction between legitimate political protest and anti-Semitism.

She criticized Hungary and the Orbán-government. Here is the text: “In Hungary – where the extreme ethnic nationalist Jobbik party finished second in May elections, and where public opinion polling has shown a high level of anti-Semitic attitudes, the government has cracked down as well on the independent press and civil society groups. According to international media watch dog, the Committee to Protect Journalists, Hungarian authorities have pressured the media to tone down or abandon sensitive, critical stories and punish the journalists and media outlets that press ahead. All this at the same time a new government-commissioned monument to the Second World War depicts Hungarian ‘victims of German occupation’ – but makes no mention of the major role the Hungarian government and citizens played in the mass extermination of Jews.”

BreuerPress is a Hungarian news agency focusing on Jewish and Israeli news, who reported her speech highlighting her statements about U.S. anti-Semitism, including mention of Stormfront.org, a Florida-based hate website that reaches a wide audience with its motto “White Pride World Wide”.

Mr. Peter Breuer of BreuerPress – his agency “modified” Ms. Power’s speech.

Mr. Peter Breuer of BreuerPress – his agency “modified” Ms. Power’s speech.

The problem is that there is absolutely no mention of Florida, Stormfront or White Pride World Wide in Ms. Power’s speech! Where did they get this? Here is the link to the text of her speech and here is the video of her speech.

I asked Mr. Peter Breuer, who owns BreuerPress and he assured me that his agency applies the highest journalistic standards in their work, but he cannot reveal the sources of the news item. It is strictly confidential!

Even more puzzling is that Hungary’s own delegate to the conference, Mr. Dániel Bodnár, didn’t notice Ms. Power’s criticism of the Hungarian Government even though he was present. Mr. Bodnár is the head of the TEV (Tett és Védelem Alapítvány – Action and Protection Foundation) an organization supported by the Orbán Government that is fighting anti-Semitism. Mr. András Heisler, President of the Federation of Jewish Religious Communities of Hungary (Mazsihisz), has called Mr. Bodnár’s organization “non-transparent”.

 Mr. Dániel Bodnár of TEV –  didn’t notice criticism of the Orbán Government even though he was present.

Mr. Dániel Bodnár of TEV – didn’t notice criticism of the Orbán Government even though he was present.

When Mr. Bodnár’s agency published a news story about Ms. Power’s speech on their website, they based it on the faulty journalism of BreuerPress and highlighted Florida, Stormfront and the terrible anti-Semitism in the United States.

It seems that Ms. Power’s message never reached the Hungarians. Mr. Breuer and Mr. Bodnár made sure that by distorting Ms. Power’s speech they cater to the Orbán government and most importantly Hungarians continue to believe that anti-Semitism is the ill of the American society.

Pure anti-Americanism at its best!

György Lázár

***

(Below is the link and Hungarian text of Mr. Bodnár’s report about the conference from the TEV website)

A TEV is felszólalt az EBESZ berlini konferenciáján

2014. november 20.

Az antiszemitizmus elleni fellépés intézmenyesült formáját magalkotó berlini konferencia 10 éves évfordulójának emlékére az EBESZ (más néven OSCE – Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe) a berlini szövetségi küügyminisztériummal és a svájci EBESZ elnökséggel valamint a Demokratikus Intézmények és Emberi Jogok Irodájával (ODIHR – Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights) közösen nemzetközi konferenciát rendezett a téma civil képviselőinek részvételével, amelyen ajánlásokat fogalmaztak meg a kormányok és intézmények számára. A tíz évvel ezelőtti záró dokumentum az EBESZ 57 tagállamát szóltotta fel, hogy küzdjön minden lehetséges eszközzel az antiszemitizmus ellen.

Meggyőződésük szerint – és ezt hangsúlyozta a mostani konferencia is – az európai antiszemitizmus ellen mindenkinek küzdeni kell, nem csupán a zsidóknak, ugyanúgy, ahogyan az amerikaiak sem hagyhatják azt figyelmen kívül. Persze nehéz a poharat félig teltnek látni, és nem félig üresnek. Az antiszemitizmus ugyanis Európában erősebb, mint tíz évvel ezelőtt, és az erre adott politikai válaszok többnyire bizonytalanok. Jól mutatja ezt az is, hog az EBESZ tagállamok egyharmada el sem jött a konferenciára, akik pedig eljöttek, azoknak országa többnyire csak középszintű hivatalnokokkal képviseltette magát.

A rendezvényt Samantha Power, az ENSZ amerikai nagykövete nyitotta. Beszéde a konferencia fénypontjának bizonyult. Hangsúlyozta, hogy az antiszemita idíttatású incidensek száma Európában növekszik, és „nem csak a zsidó közösségeket fenyegeti, de van egy nagyobb ívű, félelemkeltő projektjük az európi liberalizmus és pluralizus elrettentésére is”. Az antiszemitizmus olyan, mint egy vírus, mint az ebola, amely ellenőrizhetetlenül átterjed a nemzeti határokon. A nagykövetasszony példának említett egy Floridában működtetett rasszista fórumot, a Stormfront.org-ot, mely nagy számban éri el a külföldi olvasókat is. Mottója a „White Pride World Wide”, azaz fehér büszkeség világszerte. Kanada és Europa érdeklődő közönsége hasonló oldalt olvashat a neonáci Frazier Glenn Miller kiadásában. Mindez annál inkább veszélyes, mert– Power nagykövet meggyőződése szerint – az érintett országok védekezőrendszere nem működik megfelelően az antiszemitizmus borzalmai ellen. Az európai népek alkotmányainak többége ugyanis nem rendelkezik az amerikai First Amendment-hez (Első Kiegészítés) hasonló jogszabállyal.

A berlini konferencia szerint szükség lenne némi cenzúrára a gyűlöletbeszéddel szemben, ám a résztvevők többsége szerint az ilyen ezközök sosem hatékonyak, inkább az aktív monitorozás és az elkötelezett oktatás vezethet eredményre. A munka nehéz lesz, és sosem ér véget. De ahogy a történelem, a holokauszt megmutatta, ezt a munkát csinálni kell.

Az előadásokat szekcióülések követték, a civil fórum első panelbeszélgetésének előadójául a Tett és Védelem Alapítványt kérték fel, mint az antiszemitizmus elleni küzdelem egyik legújabb és tevékenységét tekintve legszervezettebb civil kezdeményezését. Bodnár Dániel elnök beszédében a szervezet elmúlt kétéves tevékenységének eredményeit és fő sarokpontjait vázolta fel: monitoring, rendvédelmi szervek oktatása és jogvédelem. Ezzel összhangban a konferencián résztvevők a kiadott közlemények szerint ugyanezen tevékenységek intenzív és intézményesült formáit tartják kívánatosnak a hatékony fellépés eszközeiként. Ezt a résztvevők javaslatok formájában megfogalmazták és eljuttatták a kormányok és a civil szféra felé is.

9 Comments

  1. Nothing new about badmouthing America, we hear it every day in various subjects and forms. The hate towards the USA brings out the worst kind of distortions, in order to minimize the antisemitism in Europe and more so in Hungary.

  2. Karl Pfeifer says:

    Excellent article. I put it on my facebook page

  3. The old adage of ‘he who pays orders’ seems to ring true.
    The raison d’etre of Action and Defence is nothing more than to whitewash neo-Nazi government policies and actions when dealing with international public opinion and to pass on the blame and responsibility to Jobbik and to others. And they accomplish this through lies and deception. The Action and Defence will do what is expected of them, especially considering that the government holds the purse strings.

  4. It’s well known that the government’s talking points always focus on the claim that anti-Semitism in Hungary essentially does not exist, but that if – by chance – it does, Viktor Orbán is here to defend us.

  5. They always acknowledged that anti-Semitism poses a serious problem in Hungary and Orbán admitted as much in his address at the Jewish World Congress in Budapest, on May 6th, 2013. He even promised to combat the spread of anti-Semitism “using all means.” I see the problem with the fact that they still lay all blame with Jobbik (and with much success), when in fact many government decisions are coloured by fascistic ideas and elements. At most, Jobbik applaudes these decisions, but who else would be responsible for enacting them if not the government that enjoys a 2/3 majority in parliament. This is why Action and Defence is so important to the government – they have a real need to show the outside world that they are tolerant and democratic.

  6. We need to keep in mind that Fidesz is far less interested in how the party is perceived in terms of domestic public opinion when it comes to issues of racism and anti-Semitism. The only thing that really concerns the government is their image abroad and nothing irritates them more than when the government or the right is labeled as being anti-Semitic. I find it very problematic, for instance, that Israel’s ambassador to Hungary not only fails to speak clearly on the issue, but also helps to fudge the facts, when it is noted that “The Israeli government is aware of the fact that the Hungarian government knows it has to fight anti-Semitism and is making efforts to do so. The question is always to what extent, and the answer is: the more, the better.”

  7. It is well known that anti-Semitism does not only pose a problem in Hungary. The far right has gathered strength in much of Europe, but in other EU countries, the legal framework and governments are able to keep these elements quarantined, and they present a united front when faced with extremism. In contrast, in Hungary we can point to government actions and legislation that have clear anti-Semitic undertones. Hungary has often pointed to anti-Semitic attacks in France, but fails to note that in countries where the Muslim population exceeds 15%, nearly all of these attacks are committed by a small group of extremist members of those communities, rather than by the majority population. As such, the root causes of anti-Semitism in Hungary are vastly different.

  8. So should we take this to mean that Action and Defence will now confront the government with the error of its ways – and using public funds?
    No, Action and Defence will do what is expected of them, especially considering that the government holds the purse strings.

  9. Yes, they are satisfied and comfortable with this, since the group can claim to be the only credible and the most influential institute studying anti-Semitism in Hungary.

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