Chrismukkah – the latest weapon of Hungarian diplomacy

Chrismukkah (in Hungarian Hanukarácsony) is the merging of two holidays – Christmas and Hanukkah. It was popularized by the TV drama The O.C. where the main character Seth Cohen created an imaginary holiday in an interfaith household with a Jewish father and Protestant mother. The television series was created by producer wunderkind Josh Schwartz and aired on cable TV from 2003 to 2007.

It seems that Hungarian Consul General in Los Angeles László Kálmán is captivated by the Chrismukkah idea. He declared that it has always been “his dream” to combine the two holidays and celebrate the Holiday of Lights.

I always get a strange feeling when Hungarian diplomats organize Jewish theme events. It seems that the purpose of the affair is to cover up Hungary’s institutionalized racism and anti-Semitism. Instead of dealing with real issues they organize sham events, like the Holiday of Lights to demonstrate that they love the Jews and show how American Jews respect Hungary’s government.

Andrew Friedman and Consul General in Los Angeles László Kálmán with the menorah at the Hungarian Chrismukkah celebration.

Andrew Friedman and Consul General in Los Angeles László Kálmán with the menorah at the Hungarian Chrismukkah celebration.

In the case of Mr. Kálmán the accusations of anti-Semitism and/or fascist sympathies are not unfounded. In April of 2013 Mr. Kálmán organized a fascist nostalgia event in Las Vegas to commemorate Mr. Albert Wass, a convicted World War II criminal. (Read about the Wass event here.) In 2014 he hosted Ms. Fruzsina Pregitzer a far-right actress and darling of the Hungarian neo-Nazis. (More about this here) Mr. Kálmán also appeared on a 1956 commemoration at a Los Angeles with a pro-Jobbik rock band. (Read here.)

Kálmán never explained these incidents and has ignored my call. The Holiday of Lights event was staged with his good friend Mr. Andrew Friedman, a Los Angeles attorney. Mr. Friedman even wrote a letter stating: “I am in contact with Hungarian Ambassador György Szapáry and Hungarian Counsel General for the Western State, László Kálmán. They are both honorable men who strongly reject anti-Semitism and were appointed to their respective positions by Prime Minister Viktor Orbán of Fidesz.” I might mention that Mr. Friedman has received an award from Mr. Kálmán for his “involvement in clarifying the Hungarian government’s approach to anti-Semitism.” (Read about Mr. Friedman’s recognition here.)

Contrary to Consul General Mr. Kálmán, both American Christian and Jewish religious leaders find Chrismukkah unacceptable. William Donohue, President of the Catholic League, and Rabbi Joseph Potasnik from the New York Board of Rabbis even issued a statement: “We are deeply concerned about the spiritual misrepresentation of a newly created ‘holiday’ called Chrismukkah. While we as Jews and Christians practice our particular traditions, we also want to see the spiritual integrity of all faiths fully protected. Chanukah and Christmas celebrated during the same period should not be fused into some cultural combination that does not recognize the spiritual identity of our respective faiths. Historically, Chanukah recalls the battle for religious independence that would permit all groups to freely practice their separate traditions without compromise or coercion. Christmas marks a most sacred period announcing the birth of the Christian Messiah, and the beginning of a sacred relationship between Jesus and the Christian people.” Synthesizing spiritual traditions may be well intended, but they are insulting both faiths simultaneously. In other words – don’t do it!

Is Consul General László Kálmán insulting Jews and Christians simultaneously with his photo-op event?

I recommend watching the attached video. To be honest, I found Mr. Friedman’s statement at minute 4:00 – surprising. (For the video presentation of the 2013 Hungarian Chrismukkah in Los Angeles click here.)

György Lázár

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