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Football fans’ anti-Semitism

August 31st, 2012

A leading conservative columnist condemns the football hooligans who chanted anti-Semitic slogans before and during a friendly football match between Hungary and Israel, but thinks the incident would have remained unnoticed if certain people were not interested in discrediting Hungary.

On August 15, a group of young football fans chanted anti-Semitic slogans when the Israeli anthem was being played before a friendly match between Hungary and Israel. The scene did not appear on live TV, as the cameras were panning along the faces of the Israeli players on the pitch. But a few days later a video surfaced on Israeli web sites showing a few dozen youngsters shouting “Dirty Jews” and some turning their backs on the field as the Israeli anthem was being played. The Hungarian government issued a declaration condemning the incident and anti-Semitism in general.

In Heti Válasz, editor Gábor Borókai remarks that the incident took place behind one of the goals and correspondents on the spot could not hear what the youngsters were shouting. In fact, racist slogans are no novelty in Hungarian stadia, and Népszava reported the day after the match that the usual denigrating cries against Slovaks, Romanians, “and sometimes Jews” could be heard. Five days later, Ha’aretz, a leading Israeli daily complained that Hungary had not apologised for what happened. It was then that a video was released in Israel, on the site of the Jerusalem Post, showing the “hard core” mentioned above. “A camera had been placed there as if someone had known what was going to happen”, Borókai remarks. “One can fairly suspect a well organised provocation, aimed at strengthening Hungary’s anti-Semitic image”.

“Not that we are innocent”, he admits, and mentions as a manifestation of anti-Semitism the latest “Guard day” event on 25th August (See BudaPost August 28). But, Borókai continues, not all charges of anti-Semitism are well founded. In his concluding remarks, he mentions that the Summer Jewish Festival is taking place now, for the fifteenth year in a row, with masses of people attending peacefully. “This is also Hungary”, he notes.

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