Recently in the spotlight

French photographer Bruno Bourel, who relocated to Budapest in 1993, created a series of photos on Jégbüfé.

Jégbüfé: Reflections on an authentically retro Budapest confectionery

Amidst all the kitsch, the tacky souvenir shops, the tourist traps and the overpriced “traditional Hungarian” restaurants along Váci utca, Budapest’s main pedestrian mall, there’s a little haunt called the Jégbüfé (Ice buffet), located just a block away, right near the foot of Elisabeth Bridge. When you go to the Jégbüfé, think more communist era retro, rather than old world […]

by · July 31, 2015 · Culture
Sister Margit Slachta

Angel of Mercy in Canada – a film about Sister Margit Slachta

In 1949 when Sister Margit Slachta arrived to the United States and asked for temporary refuge, she had no idea that she would never return to Hungary. She died in Buffalo, New York, in 1974 and the local paper headline read, “Sister Margaret Slachta Dies; Champion of Rights.” Indeed, she was an uncompromising fighter of human rights. George Csicsery arrived […]

by · July 30, 2015 · Culture
Dr.Yama Nayab, sits with his daughter in Szabadka (Hungarian-dominated northern Serbia), waiting to cross into Hungary. Dr. Nayab was a surgeon in Afghanistan. Photo: Sima Diab/The Guardian.

It’s in Hungary’s interest to accept more refugees and immigrants

I increasingly believe that it is in Hungary’s enlightened self-interest to begin accepting many more of the Syrian and Afghan refugees, rather than stoking fear within Hungarian society and creating a siege mentality, which seems to be the tactic du jour. There is the humanitarian argument, where one might reasonably expect a greater degree of compassion and understanding from Hungarian […]

by · July 29, 2015 · Focus
Rabbi Andrew Baker (left) Michael Georg Link (next too him) and Péter Szijjártó (across).

Antisemitism in Hungary: Talk is not enough, real action needed

The Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) issued a statement a few weeks ago on antisemitism in Hungary, during a joint visit to Budapest by Michael Georg Link, the director of the OSCE’s Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights, and Rabbi Andrew Baker of Washington, DC. The Hungarian media quoted parts of the statement, but did not […]

by · July 28, 2015 · Antisemitism
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
Afghan and Syrian refugees arrive in Hungary by the hundreds each day. Photo: Molnár Edvárd/MTI.

Budapest residents organize aid for refugees through social media

Refugees from Syria and Afghanistan transiting through Hungary have become an everyday sight for Budapest residents, especially those living close to the Keleti railway station and major squares in the 7th and 8th Districts. Police seem to be focused on removing them as quickly as possible from these areas (out of sight, out of mind), but a growing civilian ‘army’ […]

by · July 26, 2015 · Focus
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
Bishop Béla Poznan

The disgraceful fall of Bishop Béla Poznan

What a scandal! Hungarian media has avoided reporting the firing of Rt. Rev. Béla Poznan, the long-time Bishop of the Calvin Synod of the American protestant denomination the United Church of Christ. Bishop Poznan maintained close ties with Hungary’s Orbán Government; he was a member of the openly pro-Fidesz Diaspora Council and frequently appeared in Budapest. Bishop Poznan even received […]

by · July 21, 2015 · Diaspora
Mr. Ferenc Kumin and Rabbi Arthur Schneier.

Did Consul General Ferenc Kumin trick an elderly Holocaust survivor rabbi?

Tad Stahnke from Human Rights First has published an article in which he warns American lawmakers not to be “duped” by the Fidesz government’s “charm offensive.” Here is a story about the communication tricks Hungarian diplomats play in the United States. Ferenc Kumin is 40 years old and the Consul General of Hungary in New York. Before this position, he […]

by · July 16, 2015 · Antisemitism
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