Jewish Insider Kickoff

New Yorker Mag First Look – Letter From Budapest – Anti-Semite and Jew, The Double Life of a Hungarian Politician: “The day was chilly but clear, the crowd energetic. Some were in quasi-military uniform, others in hooded sweatshirts emblazoned with patriotic symbols. Dozens of flags fluttered in the breeze. The red-white-and-green tricolor of modern Hungary was prominent, but so was a flag with red and white stripes, remembered by most Hungarians as the symbol of the wartime Fascists. There were hundreds of banners bearing the word “Jobbik,” shorthand for Jobbik Magyarországért Mozgalom—Movement for a Better Hungary—the name of Hungary’s far-right political party.

–Jobbik’s supporters had gathered outside the offices of the European Commission in Budapest to denounce the European Union. Like many other Euroskeptic parties, Jobbik objects to the multinational European project, and to criticisms of any sort from Brussels. Unlike others, Jobbik dresses up its attacks on Europe with theatrics. This demonstration, in January, 2012, was no exception. Gábor Vona, the Party’s photogenic young leader, stood in front of a giant slogan, “Shall We Be Members, or Shall We Be Free?”—a pun on a famous line by Sándor Petőfi, the great poet of Hungary’s 1848 revolution, “Shall we be slaves or shall we be free?”—and called for Hungary’s withdrawal from Europe. Another Jobbik leader, Előd Novák, dressed in what appeared to be a black Mao jacket, doused a European Union flag with lighter fluid and set it on fire. As the crowd shouted “Let it burn!,” a Jobbik member of parliament stamped on the flag. “Perish, European Union!” he cried. . . .

​—Blatant anti-Semitism is a risky electoral strategy—the majority of Hungarians would not support it—and so Jobbik’s leaders deny that they are anti-Semitic. But they drop hints that their voters understand. Jobbik loudly and frequently criticizes Israel, and has ostentatiously invited Iranian businessmen to Budapest to meet with party leaders. In 2010, Vona and Szegedi held a rally around a statue of Mihaly Karolyi, a Roman Catholic aristocrat who was Hungary’s Prime Minister during the First World War. In an almost avant-garde mashup of symbols, they put a kippah on the statue’s head and a sign in his arms that read, “I am responsible for Trianon” — implying that the peace treaty signed in 1920 in Trianon, which diminished Hungary’s territory by two-thirds, was the fault of the Jews.” [New Yorker]

Transition – Peter Beinart leaving the Daily Beast for The Atlantic and Haaretz; Open Zion blog to be shut down: “Peter Beinart, the liberal Jewish blogger, is leaving The Daily Beast for The Atlantic Media Company, where he will serve as contributing editor for both The Atlantic and National Journal. Beinart will also join the Israeli newspaper Haaretz as a senior columnist. Beinart, a former New Republic editor, joined the Daily Beast in November 2008 and in 2012 launched “Zion Square” — later changed to “Open Zion” — a blog dedicated to “an open and unafraid conversation about Israel, Palestine, and the Jewish future.” Formerly a fixture on the AIPAC speaking circuit, he has in recent years become a hero on the Israeli left — and a pariah on the right — for advocating against Israeli settlements and in support of a two-state solution.” [Politico] (more…)

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