- 11 Dec 2023 8:52 AM
Addressing the Budapest Jewish and Israeli Film Festival last week, US Ambassador David Pressman acknowledged that Jewish people can go about their daily lives in Budapest without fear of attacks but that is the most basic responsibility of any government. Yet, he saw the recently launched poster campaign against foreign interference featuring Alex Soros as carrying an antisemitic message.
In Magyar Nemzet, Ottó Gajdics calls the ambassador a ‘dumb activist’ clumsily playing the role of a diplomat. No one in their right mind, he writes, thinks of Soros Junior’s Jewish ancestry when they look at the government’s poster. Wanton, unfounded accusations of anti-Semitism may well stoke hatred against the Ambassador and those who agree with him, Gajdics warns. In his concluding remark, he asks whether that was precisely what Mr Pressman was aiming at.
On Pesti Srácok, Áron Ambrózy writes that he cannot decide whether Mr Pressman is ‘wicked or dumb’ but tends to believe the latter. He asks if living without fear is basic, as the ambassador said, why Jewish people do not enjoy it in the United States and Western Europe nowadays.
Meanwhile, Liberal Authors in Hungary Criticise Israel’s War in Gaza
While two liberal commentators accuse Israel of applying disproportionate destructive force in reaction to the murderous rampage of Hamas in October, the editor of a Jewish review condemns them for equating terrorist attacks with a war aimed at uprooting a terrorist organisation.
In two consecutive issues of Élet és Irodalom, two liberal authors question Israel’s right to destroy Hamas at the price of high civilian casualties in Gaza.
Gábor Gadó writes that dismantling Hamas is a legitimate ambition but its pursuit becomes unacceptable if masses of civilians die along the way. He adds that the war in Gaza will induce sympathisers with the Palestinian cause in the West to consider terrorist acts legitimate in the future.
In a similar vein, Péter György warns that with its massive air and artillery campaign in Gaza, Israel may easily find itself outside western civilisation where it has belonged for all its history. He considers the recent unprecedentedly large anti-Israeli demonstrations in the West as proof of his thesis. György also adds that anti-Semitism that has often been tolerated by the ruling élite may flare up in the future.
In Múlt és jövő (Past and Future), a review he founded in 1988, first as an unauthorized publication, János Kőbányai reminds the two authors that Hamas deliberately attacked civilians in Israel on October 7, whereas the Israeli Defence Force is not targeting civilians. He therefore condemns Élet és Irodalom’s authors for equating the two cases. He also finds György’s remarks on Hungary unfounded.
On the contrary, he believes the Hungarian government has been right to refuse the entry of masses of unlawful Muslim migrants. Although, he writes, he would never vote for that government, he praises its record of keeping Hungary free of violent anti-Semitism.
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