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Far-right mayor stages anti-Israel performance

August 6th, 2014

Columnists from both left and right express their disappointment that in contemporary Hungary the mayor of a small municipality can gain public attention through staging an idiotic and nonsensical, but at the same time potentially harmful anti-Semitic performance.

On Sunday, Mihály Orosz, Jobbik-supported mayor of the small village of Érpatak in a demonstration against Israel’s intervention in Gaza hung effigies of Benjamin Netanyahu and Simon Peres.

Orosz, who is known for staging militant homophobic stunts and also for his harsh law and order policies, called Israel a “terrorist state” that is preparing the “coming of the Antichrist”. He also accused what he called “Freemason Jews” of trying to rule the world. In an official statement published by MTI News Agency, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs strongly condemned the mayor of Érpatak and called the incident inadmissible.

In Mandiner, Gellért Rajcsányi contends that Orosz’ performance is a ridiculous stunt of an unmitigated lunatic which can hardly be taken seriously as a credible criticism of Israel’s conduct of war in Gaza. Nonetheless, such stunts may have serious repercussions, since Orosz wants to incite hatred towards local people, the conservative pundit fears. He recommends that the authorities pay more attention to the confused mayor who has so far been able to build his distorted alternative reality in Érpatak.

In Heti Válasz, András Zsuppán finds it particularly tasteless that Orosz involved young Hungarians in his nasty performance. The conservative columnist believes that the provocation is intended to foment anti-Semitic sentiments. “The only question now is if the clearly demented mayor will be reelected in the October municipal election,” Zsuppán remarks, noting that only locals can kick Orosz out of the public sphere.

The mayor of Érpatak is not the only one who should be removed from his position, Szabolcs Szunyogh fulminates in Népszava. He believes the Director General of MTI, the Hungarian News Agency should also be sacked. The left-wing columnist accuses MTI of contributing to spreading Orosz’s anti-Semitic street show. “Shall we assume that any crazy nonsense claimed by a small, off-the-map municipal council can now be publicized?” Szunyogh wonders. In an aside he wonders if the government will react in any way to Orosz’s performance.

On Tuesday afternoon, the Chief Prosecutor of Hungary announced that an investigation was underway to decide if Orosz should be prosecuted under the ‘incitement to hatred’ act.

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