Hungarian government historian to give racist talk in Toronto

Hungary’s Orbán government is organizing a talk in Toronto for the local Hungarian community, in which Sándor Szakály, a historian closely tied to the far-right, but currently tasked with leading the state-funded Veritas Institute, will give a talk entitled: “Dutiful irresponsibility: How long will Europe be able to withstand, and for how long will there still be a Europe?”

The talk is being hosted by Zsolt Bede-Fazekas, the producer of a local weekly Hungarian-language radio broadcast on Toronto’s AM 530 multicultural station and also the coordinator of a Hungarian cultural association called the Parameter Club. Last year, Mr. Bede-Fazekas planned to host an event with Jobbik party MP Gábor Staudt at the same location where the Szakály talk is being planned, but the landlord eventually prohibited him from organizing this event in his building.

Mr. Szakály’s talk is about the refugee crisis in Europe. The lecture, planned for December 5th, 2015 at 7:00 PM, held at 695 Coxwell Avenue, in Toronto,  will cover the following questions (I am quoting and translating them directly, as they appear on the Hungarian-language invitation):

  • “What are the historical antecedents and what is the background of today’s migration?”
  • “Do the migrants plan to integrate, or do they want to transform Europe into their image?”
  • “Why don’t they stay in Muslim lands?”
  • “Who are the causes of this mass migration?”
  • “To whom will Europe belong?”

Beyond the overarching alarmist and Islamophobic tone, the fourth question struck me the most: who and not what factors are “causing” the mass migration. Only Mr. Szakály knows precisely what he is going to say, but most people familiar with Hungarian public discourse and polemics, especially on the right, will likely read this as coded, dog whistle antisemitism.

One popular conspiracy theory on the Hungarian far-right is that the mass migration is caused by Jews, in order to empty out parts of the Middle East and to pave the way for a “Greater Israel.”

Sándor Szakály, the director of the Orbán government's Veritas Institute.

Sándor Szakály, the director of the Orbán government’s Veritas Institute.

Mr. Szakály, who controversially referred to the 1941 deportation of Jews from Hungary as “police action against aliens,” is a prominent figure on the Hungarian far-right and an invited speaker at Jobbik events. Mr. Szakály, who entered the Orbán government’s inner circle through the recommendation of former Prime Minister Péter Boross (who has openly referred to himself as a Horthyist and an admirer of interwar Hungary), was never associated with the more moderate elements of Fidesz. He always gravitated to the far-right.

It’s quite difficult to see Mr. Szakály’s second appearance in Toronto in just six months (in May, he celebrated the legacy of Hungarian soldiers during World War II, who fought alongside Nazi Germany to the bitter end) as anything other than what an essay by András Göllner, published yesterday in HFP, refers to as affinity fraud. One day and for one audience, the Orbán government in Canada organizes solemn commemorations of the Holocaust. The next day, the government-appointed historian is scheduled to give what promises to be, based on the invitation, a xenophobic talk to an audience that may be receptive to this.

As Canada gets ready to accept 10,000 Syrian refugees before December 31st, and up to an additional 15,000 in the first two months of 2016, it is shameful that this talk is being organized in Canada’s most populous city. The only aspect that is even more shameful is the fact that Hungarians after 1956 benefited from a reasonably liberal and benign refugee policy on the part of Canada, with authorities accepting over 38,000 Hungarians after the suppression of the revolution, yet today it is a prominent group within this community that is engaging in fear mongering.

16 Comments

  1. András B. Göllner says:

    Speak of the devil…Prof Dr Szakály’s timing couldn’t be better. I hope there will be a few people in the audience who will dare to stand up and ask him why his government loves to speak out of both sides of its mouth at once, why Orbán can’t walk his talk, why FIDESZ can’t practice what it preaches during this anniversary year for the liberation of Auschwitz, why it is funding, for example a new statue in Székesfehérvár to the memory of a man – Bálint Hóman – who fomented hatred towards the Jews and was instrumental in the creation of various anti-Jewish laws in Hungary.(See the article about this shameful December provocation and disrespect towards the victims of the Holocaust in today’s Kanadai Magyar Hírlap, written by Ákos Kertész).

  2. András B. Göllner says:

    Lest someone accuses us of distorting the truth about Prof Dr Szakály, and his master, Viktor Orbán, here is the Hungarian government’s hate-filled, scaremongering talk straight from the horse’s mouth, here is what the Orbán government thinks of the people that Justin Trudeau is bringing into Canada over the next three months. My translation is taken directly from a published article of Dr Szakály that appeared in the pro-government Hungarian daily, Magyar Hírlap, on September 23, 2015. Enough is enough !!! Would the newly elected Liberals please do something about this kind of hate pollution in Canada by Viktor Orbán’s government ? Please? Could we please put an end to the affinity fraud and call a spade a spade? Here is the professor:

    “Let’s not be naive. Those who are coming to Europe now from the East do not want to integrate. They want the opposite – they want to change the face of Europe to that of their own. And those irresponsible leaders who don’t want to recognize this, or because of ignorance, are unable to recognize this, are doing nothing than eliminating the future of those who live in Europe now….the migrants should stay in Afghanistan, Syria, Libya and Iraq…these people don’t want our democracy – all they want is our money and standards of living. In the next few months we’ll know who will own Europe”

  3. Pierre Divenyi says:

    Dear Canadian-Hungarians, can’t you do something to have Trudeau’s people cancel this event?

  4. Well, Angus, one racist manifestation will not justify an other one.
    The police report you are referencing is as racist as can be. In Canada, or at any rate in a civilized country, the race of the perpetrators is not considered in statistics, but rather their social status, regardless of race.
    But what does this report have to do with the racist historian’s vista in Toronto? Or do I understand correctly that the nonwhites of New York are so bad that the Jews deserve every injustice they are getting?

  5. Informative article, just what I needed.

  6. “As Canada gets ready to accept 10,000 Syrian refugees before December 31st, and up to an additional 15,000 in the first two months of 2016, it is shameful that this talk is being organized in Canada’s most populous city.”

    Yes, but in a smart way and later will regret even that.

    https://www.rt.com/news/323196-canada-syria-male-refugees/

    “Now governments in the US and Canada are worried that, under the guise of being a refugee, single, IS-sympathetic males might abuse benevolence of their new found homes, and carry out attacks in the countries which offer them safe heaven.”

    That is what Orban said in due time only to be ridiculed and demonized.
    Unfortunately, time has proved he was right. Now others say and do the same things e.g. fences and pay a high price like the Paris massacre.
    —–
    “What are the historical antecedents and what is the background of today’s migration?”
    “Do the migrants plan to integrate, or do they want to transform Europe into their image?”
    “Why don’t they stay in Muslim lands?”
    “Who are the causes of this mass migration?”
    “To whom will Europe belong?”

    Absolutely legitimate questions. I certainly try to look behind the scene, what and why is happening, what will happen to me, to us tomorrow, who is pulling the strings. Therefore I also have a legitimate question before going on analyzing his answers he gave to his own questions.
    Why is this necessary for the Orban government to bring this issue to Canada that way, who “causes” his trip to Canada, who finances it, what is their intent their final purpose.
    I am truly aware of that the end of the Eu and Europe has come and I appreciate his questions, but before listening his answer and advice I just want to know who’s talking.

  7. SZAKALY’S PRODUCER WINS THE NOMINATION!

    Just as Academy Award nominees, even if they do not win the Oscar, enjoy the permanent “distinction” of having been nominated, the Orban regime will now enjoy the permanent distinction of having been the first European nation to be nominated for Article 7 suspension of voting rights whether or not the “nuclear weapon” is eventually launched. Yet another shame that Szakaly and his Veritas Institute will now need to work hard to try to write out of Hungarian History.
    http://bbj.hu/politics/brussels-green-lights-initiative-to-investigate-democracy-in-hungary_107878

  8. Racist? Xenophobic? ISLAMOPHOBIA? SERIOUSLY? These labels are pretty lame and I don’t think they are taken seriously by most. Besides, what is wrong with opposing ME, especially Moslem immigration to Europe? It is a VERY legitimate issue for many reasons, including terrorism and the future of Europe. The citizens of most countries are against it. Those *refugees* could be helped in their own countries!

  9. geezus….WHY is this guy constantly touring North America????

  10. Christopher, you and the likes should pay some serious attention to reality. For example, to the way Australia is handling her decades long “migrant crisis”, before you are producing (assumably well paid) hogwash articles like this. You must wake up, and learn to understand how today’s world is spinning. For God’s sake, go to your window, look – not your computer screen or TV set, but – out to the real world! Or travel, pay attention, look, listen, understand, and then, only may be then say what you think (provided that your bosses are allowing you to say what you really think). It is really, really, disturbing and sad to see the light-year distances between your (and Göllner’s, Divenyi’s, Harnad’s etc.), thoughts and messages, and the serious, harsh reality which is out here, where real people are living!

    • Leave him alone, Laszlo! He is paid for these kind os articles. It is his job. There are carpenters, butchers, doctors, engineers, and there are lying anti-Hunitic journalists. Such is life.

      • Charlie London says:

        Did you know that you can now be prosecuted in Hungary for saying things like this?

        Enjoy the freedom.

        But rest assured that Chris’ integrity is unimpeachable.

  11. Pingback: Holocaust commemorations, public memory and antisemitism in Hungary: A video interview with András Heisler

  12. You should stay obsessed with your mono-topic.

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