To the Editor:
Kudos to Frank Bruni for drawing attention to the anti-Semitic, bigoted Jobbik party of Hungary ("Round Up the Usual Scapegoats," column, April 24).
While a number of far-right parties in Europe run on xenophobic platforms, Jobbik is the only parliamentary party of a European Union member state that campaigns with openly anti-Semitic materials. Its elected officials have made anti-Semitic remarks in Parliament, including a blood libel just this month. The party's presidential candidate, Krisztina Morvai, has referred to Israeli Jews as "lice-infested, dirty murderers."
Jobbik's rise in popularity over the last few years — with 17 percent of the population voting for Jobbik in 2010, up from 2 percent in 2006 — parallels a rise in anti-Semitic attitudes among the general population. An ADL opinion poll in February found that 63 percent of Hungarians agreed with three out of four anti-Semitic statements about Jews and money, Jewish disloyalty to the state, and Jews and the Holocaust.
Of the 10 European countries we polled for anti-Semitic sentiments, Hungary was by far the worst. By comparison, on the same scale measuring the prevalence of anti-Semitic attitudes, the Netherlands scored just 10 percent and France, 24 percent.
Opposition to Jobbik's anti-Semitism and racism is perhaps the single issue on which the ruling Fidesz party and the opposition Socialist party agree. Mainstream political and civil society leaders must continue to speak out consistently and take action to encourage their fellow citizens to reject Jobbik's bigotry.