Politics

The two Vic(k)tors: Victor Ponta of Romania (left) and Viktor Orbán of Hungary (right).

Growing diplomatic row between Hungary and Romania

In the doldrums of summer, there is a growing and increasingly public conflict between Hungary’s Orbán government and the Ponta administration in Romania. In just the past two days, the diplomatic representatives of the  two countries, serving in Budapest and Bucharest, have been summoned by the respective foreign ministries of the two EU member states and both are claiming that […]

by · August 11, 2015 · Politics
Negotiations with Metzger. Left: Mr. Viktor Orbán, current Finance Minister Mr. Mihály Varga, ex-New York Consul General Mr. Károly Dán, Mr. György Szabó (MAZSÖK) – Right: Rabbi Oberlander, Israeli Chief Rabbi Yona Metzger (in hat), Rabbi Köves and Rabbi Raskin of Budapest Chabad.

Was Israel’s former Ashkenazi Chief Rabbi Yona Metzger a lobbyist for Orbán?

Politics makes strange bedfellows. And this may be the case in the unexpected alliance between former Israeli Ashkenazi Chief Rabbi, Yona Metzger, and Hungary’s Orbán Government. In November 2013 Rabbi Yona Metzger was arrested in Israel on suspicion of corruption and the Magistrate’s Court ordered him to be kept in custody. According to investigators, Rabbi Metzger accepted bribes of an […]

by · August 6, 2015 · Politics
Syrian and Afghan refugees in II. János Pál pápa tér, a park in the 8th District, after being evicted from the Keleti railway station by police. There is no sign of tents, fires being lit, knife violence or fighting, as Mayor Kocsis claimed on Facebook. Photo: Zoltán Balogh/MTI.

Fidesz mayor Máté Kocsis and the hysteria around refugees in Hungary

Máté Kocsis, the Fidesz party mayor of Budapest’s 8th district, is among the most avid Facebook users in Hungary, and in his case it’s not a press secretary posting updates on his behalf, but the mayor himself. Sometimes he gets himself into trouble, like when he engaged in a homophobic tirade earlier this year, after a liberal politician outed him […]

by · August 5, 2015 · Politics
A rather edgy Kuruc.info propaganda poster.

Budapest teacher turned Nazi journalist jumped on opportunity to get inheritance from Canada

HFP readers will recall a story we published in June about how a small activist cell, which calls itself The Voice of Six Million Souls, “outed” a rabidly antisemitic and Holocaust-denying contributor to the Nazi website Kuruc.info (who wrote under the pseudonym Ottó Perge), as being a high school history teacher by the name of László Zábori. Since that article […]

by · August 4, 2015 · Politics
Viktor Orbán in Tusnádfürdő (Băile Tuşnad), Romania.

Hungary’s Orbán is far more dangerous than Jobbik or any other extreme right movement

Dutch political scientist Cas Mudde, the author of Racist Extremism in Central and Eastern Europe (Routledge, 2005), made a critically important point in an op-ed piece published Saturday in The Guardian. According to Professor Mudde, western journalists and activists who have been concerned primarily with, and focused almost exclusively on, the rise of the far-right Jobbik in Hungary have been wrong […]

by · August 1, 2015 · Politics
Muslim prayer in Budapest. Photo: Ahmed Miklós Kovács.

The Hungarian far-right and Islam

Traditionally, Hungary’s extreme right was not openly Islamophobic. In fact, the Hungarian right-wing in general tended to differ markedly from conservative politicians in North America and much of western Europe in its support for Palestinian nationhood and its criticism of Israel. At the time of the war with Hezbollah back in 2006, I wrote a response to a piece published […]

by · July 27, 2015 · Politics
Viktor Orbán in Tusnádfürdő. Photo: Szilárd Koszticsák/MTI.

Hungary’s prime minister suggests left-wingers are treasonous anti-Hungarians

Viktor Orbán warmed up his signature political dish today in the Transylvanian town of Tusnádfürdő (Băile Tușnad), where he gave his annual speech at a right-wing gathering of students, activists, politicians and policy-makers. Mr. Orbán returned to an old theme, and one which very successfully created a toxic environment for Hungarians both in Hungary and in the diaspora who were […]

by · July 25, 2015 · Politics
The Magician / Vesa Peltronen.

Tad Stahnke: Don’t be duped by Orbán’s charm offensive!

Tad Stahnke is the vice president of a Washington, D.C.-based organization called Human Rights First, which has launched campaigns advocating for the closure of Guantanamo Bay, as well as for LGBT rights in Vladimir Putin’s Russia and for anti-human trafficking initiatives. This time, the group is speaking out forcefully against a major visit to Washington D.C. by Hungary’s far right […]

by · July 15, 2015 · Politics
A Syrian refugee learns to ride a scooter...thanks to an random act of kindness from a Hungarian homeless man in Budapest. Photo: Szilárd Kalmár.)

Hungarians oppose new iron curtain on Serbian border

A poll produced for the political news weekly, Vasárnapi Hírek, on the Orbán government’s plans to erect a 175 km long fence along the border between Hungary and Serbia–in order to stop the growing wave of refugees and migrants crossing the frontier illegally–reveals some surprising results. The opinion poll was conducted by the Publicus Intézet and it shows that a […]

by · July 11, 2015 · Politics
Jason Kenney (left) goes out of its way to commend the Orbán regime.

Canadian government congratulates Orbán regime

In stark contrast to the Obama administration, as well as key Republican politicians, and governments in western Europe, Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s cabinet has expressed absolutely no concern in public about the authoritarian, illiberal and xenophobic politics of Hungary’s Orbán regime. In fact, since 2010, the Embassy of Hungary in Ottawa has placed a special emphasis on cultivating a […]

by · July 4, 2015 · Politics