Center for Fundamental Rights

YESTERDAY’S NAZIS ARE TODAY’S DEMOCRATS

Jobbik was officially registered as a political party on October 24th, 2003. The origins of the movement go back to the skinhead subculture of the 1980s and ever since its inception, Jobbik was characterized by a radical and extremist thematization of the public discourse and political messaging. Originally, the primary objective of the politicians in the party was “to remove the post-Communist party from power along with the extremist liberals that attached themselves to it,” declares the founding charter of the organization. After 2006, the anti-Left sentiment of the party was supplemented with another ideological pillar: the utter rejection of the failed former prime minister, (and now their political ally) Ferenc Gyurcsány. Jobbik was also against globalization and the European Union, and campaigned against Hungary’s accession to the EU in 2003. In 2012, they burned an EU flag and raised the idea of Hungary leaving the community. The darkest side to Jobbik is the party’s virulent anti-Semitic and anti-Gypsy rhetoric. In 2012, Márton Gyöngyösi, who today serves as MEP and vice-chairman of Jobbik, spoke in the Hungarian National Assembly about the need to create lists of the members of parliament based on their ethnicity. Péter Jakab, who is the leader of the party today, wrote in a newspaper article, “(…) all we see in the media is how Jewish media personalities try to sell the Holocaust for cash.”  

After a series of electoral losses, Jobbik’s strategy transformed. This suddenly changed the party’s attitude to the Left, “We designate our goals based on our principles and in order to achieve them, we are ready for pragmatic cooperation with anyone. We’d cooperate with the devil’s grandmother, never mind Gyurcsány,” said Márton Gyöngyösi, who previously wanted to compile lists of Jewish people. Jobbik rigidly distanced itself from its own expressions of anti-Semitism and anti-Gypsy vitriol of the past and tried to purge its ranks of all those politicians who dared to express dissent. This change, that occurred after their defeat at the 2014 general election, brought the formerly radical party ever closer to the very same Hungarian Left which it originally wanted to expel from public life, and which in turn attempted to depict Jobbik as a subsidiary of Fidesz, both in Hungary and abroad.

Jobbik’s defeat in 2018 provided the final impulse for the change of course. As so many times before in history, the far-Left and the far-Right joined forces. The Hungarian Left, once champions of the fight against anti-Semitism, entered into a formal electoral alliance with Jobbik, a party they themselves called anti-Semitic, Fascist and Nazi.

For this reason, the Center for Fundamental Rights has decided to raise public awareness of the attempts by the party itself, and its allies on the Left, to whitewash Jobbik, and erase its record of radicalism, extremism, anti-Semitism and the vicious campaign of hate directed against the Gypsy community.