FaithWorld

Far-right Jobbik party baits Jews in Hungarian election campaign

By Reuters Staff
March 31, 2014

(Members of the media crowd outside a former synagogue, where far-right Jobbik party gathers for a town hall meeting, in Esztergom February 14, 2014.  REUTERS/Bernadett Szabo)

To launch its campaign for Hungary’s parliamentary election, the far-right Jobbik party, accused by critics of anti-Semitism, chose as its venue a former synagogue with a plaque on the wall commemorating 500 local Jews killed in the Holocaust.

The reaction was unsurprising: opponents turned up outside the synagogue in the city of Esztergom to protest at Jobbik’s presence, they heckled party leader Gabor Vona as he arrived, and the confrontation was broadcast on the evening news.

It was seen as another publicity coup for Jobbik on its path to entrenching itself on Europe’s political landscape, and for not much more than the $50 hourly cost of renting the former synagogue, now a municipal community centre.

When Jobbik shocked Europe four years ago by coming third in Hungary’s parliamentary election, many of its opponents predicted the party would soon implode.

It hasn’t. It is preparing to run in Hungary’s parliamentary election on April 6, and polls show it rivaling the leftist opposition for second place. The latest poll this month gave Jobbik 15 percent, not far from the 15.8 percent it won four years ago.

Read the full story by Marton Dunai here.

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