This article is part of the Media Monitoring Highlights of November, a monthly overview of the most significant results of our monitoring of traditional and new media in Belgium, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, and the United Kingdom.
Date of publication: 19 and 20 November 2019
Media outlets: 888.hu, pro-government news site, and M1, pro-government public broadcasting network
Headlines: “Perfect drawing shows the provocateur from Index” and “The party Mi Hazánk is suing Index.hu”
Description of the antisemitic content: After publishing an opinion piece regarding his visit to a national stadium opening on 15 November, Index journalist Gábor Miklósi has been targeted by the far-right and pro-government media. His opinion piece recounted that he did not stand up when “Without you”, an old pop song that is currently popular among the Hungarian right and the far-right, was played. Miklósi wrote that while everyone stood up, he was the only one to remain seated and that he only stands for the Hungarian national anthem. The far-right and pro-government media attacked him as a “monster” and “alien”, accusing him to hate Hungarians. The public national broadcasting network M1 Hirado devoted 8 minutes of their morning news interviewing the far-right party Mi Hazánk about their intentions to sue Index journalists for hate speech and his “anti-Hungarian behaviour.” Propaganda media 888.hu published an antisemitic caricature of the journalist sitting down, indifferent to Hungarian celebrations, while everyone else is standing with a flag. A week after the publication of the opinion piece, anonymous antisemitic posters popped up across the city of Budapest. These posters showed Gábor Miklósi and his journalist colleague András Dezső, who had done an online video on asylum seekers using the same song sung at a concert, with an Israeli flag in the background and beneath them the words: “We too, came from the other side of the border.”
Myth Debunked: A common antisemitic myth of the Hungarian far-right is that Index, one of the few remaining media outlets critical of the government, is inclined to hate Hungarians. Soon after the publication of the opinion piece by Miklósi, and the online video by Dezső, they were smeared and attacked on different platforms. Not only were the journalists accused of hating Hungarians (it is common for nationalists and the far-right to accuse their political opponents of not being patriotic enough), but this accusation was also framed using antisemitic tropes. The caricature of Miklósi featured a hooked-nose and dark curly hair, disinterested in the Hungarian celebrations, with posters of the Israeli flag in the background and the accusation of not belonging to Hungary. These all fall within a long history of antisemitic smears about Jewish dual loyalty, disloyalty to the nation, or even betrayal. Disloyalty myths were used in Nazi Germany to justify the persecution of the Jewish people, but they have their roots in medieval Europe, when the failure to convert from Judaism to Christianity was often interpreted as a link between Jews and the devil, as well as an innate disloyalty to Europe. Today, similar antisemitic beliefs are still held by a portion of society in Europe. A 2019 survey by ADL, for example, revealed that in Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, and Spain, more than 40 percent of the public believe that Jews are more loyal to the State of Israel than to their own country. Episodes like the one that involved journalists Miklósi and Dezső raise new concerns about antisemitism in Hungary as well as a constantly declining freedom of the press in the country. “These events” a statement by Reporter Without Borders says, “come against a backdrop of constant harassment of independent media ever since Viktor Orbán was returned to the position of prime minister in 2010.”
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