Right-wing weekly probes mayoral candidate’s Jewish “connection”

Coded antisemitism is a familiar phenomenon on the “moderate” Hungarian right (provided that there is still such a thing as moderate, centre-right Hungarian politics). While Jobbik and those to the right of Fidesz-KDNP are open in their antisemitic diatribes, the pro-Fidesz press simply aims to insinuate that the Hungarian left – en masse – is somehow beholden to Jewish interests. The Heti Válasz weekly magazine (normally a more moderate pro-government organ) decided to dig rather deep in “exposing” and discrediting Ferenc Falus, the left’s joint mayoral candidate in Budapest for the October 12th municipal elections. The paper uncovered that Mr. Falus is “the president of the country’s most influential Jewish charitable organization.”

Ferenc Falus on the cover of Heti Válasz.

Ferenc Falus on the cover of Heti Válasz.

As Tamás Gomperz of hvg.hu wrote, the problem isn’t that Heti Válasz mentioned that Mr. Falus was the president of a Jewish charity, but that the paper chose to focus on this one fact in the article’s title, while the lengthy piece dealt with completely different aspects of the mayoral candidate’s life and professional medical career. “Ferenc Falus is a Jew. Heti Válasz allows the readers to put an exclamation mark at the end of that sentence themselves”–writes Mr. Gomperz.

Heti Válasz noted that Mr. Falus chairs the board of directors of Hungary’s Jewish Relief Foundation (Magyarországi Zsidó Segély Alapítvány), which is the largest agency tasked with aiding elderly Holocaust survivors. The right-wing paper not only ties Mr. Falus to the Hungarian Socialist Party (MSZP), of which he was a member, but also to Gordon Bajnai, one of the favourite targets of Hungarian right-wing character assassins.

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