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Calling for consensus against blood libel

April 14th, 2012

A leading rabbi and a moderate conservative columnist condemn Jobbik MP Zsolt Baráth for his anti-Semitic speech in Parliament last week and call for civilized dialogue among democrats and joint action against hate speech.

Last Wednesday, Jobbik MP Zsolt Baráth asked Parliament to commemorate Eszter Solymosi, a peasant girl who died in 1882 at Tiszaeszlár. The trial of the alleged Jewish murderers became a typical blood libel case. In his speech Baráth claimed that the court (which cleared them all of the accusations) acted under pressure from “circles who still have the economy of Hungary and the whole world in their hands.” His anti-Semitic speech was condemned by all parliamentary parties except his own. (See BudaPost, April 9.)

In Szombat, a Jewish political and cultural periodical, Slomó Köves, the leading rabbi of the Unified Hungarian Jewish Congregation warns that while in 1882 all democratic parties were united in condemning anti-Semitism, nowadays opposing sides are too busy excommunicating each other. He explicitly invites right and left to stop branding one another anti-democratic or traitors to the nation and find a joint stance on basic issues.

The rabbi believes that the Hungarian left have overreacted too often, and cried anti-Semitism even when they had no reason to do so, while on the other hand, the political right too often remained silent when it should have condemned racism.

Zsolt Baráth’s speech gives the whole Hungarian political spectrum a chance to move on and establish a minimum consensus –Slomó Köves concludes.

In Heti Válasz, Szilárd Szőnyi suggests that the Tiszaeszlár blood libel is being picked up by Jobbik, in order to dwell on one of the far right’s favourite issues, the idea that “international financial circles hold Hungary in their fists.”

The moderate conservative columnist argues that one can be critical of global capital or certain financial funds, but resorting to such disgusting racist blood libel makes  any sensible discussion impossible.