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Hungarian Right-Wing Extremist Discovers He's-- Gasp-- a Jew

Updated on February 25, 2013
UnnamedHarald profile image

I try to make history readable and interesting, warts and all. We must look to the past to understand the present and confront the future.

Csanád Szegedi, Hungarian politicians, MEP, former member of the Jobbik Party. 2009.
Csanád Szegedi, Hungarian politicians, MEP, former member of the Jobbik Party. 2009. | Source

Szegedi and the Jobbik Party

Csanad Szegedi was minding his own business, which meant advocating against the European Union, the Roma (gypsies), the Slovaks and the Jews, as a leading member of Hungary's radical right-wing Christian nationalist Jobbik Party, when he unfortunately learned that his grandmother on his mother's side was Jewish. According to Jewish law, that makes him a Jew.

Szegedi was a founding member of the Hungarian Guard (Magyar Garda), which was created in 2007 by the Jobbik Party in an attempt to have some “muscle” in Hungarian politics. Guard members dressed in black uniforms and carried flags reminiscent of the “good old days” when fascism was fashionable. Hungarian courts banned the Guard in 2009, but Szegedi had already joined the Jobbik Party where he became a rising star in the party that describes itself as “a principled, conservative and radically patriotic Christian party” and which others describe as fascist, anti-Semitic, anti-Roma and homophobic.

Jobbik, formed in 2003, didn't gain traction until the global economy plunged Hungary into economic hard times. As an example of their meteoric rise, in 2006, the Jobbik Party received 231 2nd round votes; in 2009, they received 141,323 2nd round votes, making them the third largest political party in Hungary and giving them 47 seats in Hungary's Parliament. They also landed three seats in the European Parliament. Csanad Szegedi was one of those three MEPs (Member of European Parliament).

The Magyar Gárda (Hungarian Guard) in Békéscsaba on June 4 2009, Trianon-day
The Magyar Gárda (Hungarian Guard) in Békéscsaba on June 4 2009, Trianon-day | Source
Krisztina Morvai, who successfully headed the party's 2009 EP candidate list; and Gábor Vona the Jobbik party chairman; during their nationwide tour.
Krisztina Morvai, who successfully headed the party's 2009 EP candidate list; and Gábor Vona the Jobbik party chairman; during their nationwide tour. | Source

Ambushed With The Truth

In 2010, Szegedi met with Zoltan Ambrus who said he had important information Szegedi needed to know about. Unbeknownst to Szegedi, Ambrus was working on behalf of unspecified party members who were trying to oust Szegedi from a local leadership post in an inter-party struggle and the conversation was secretly recorded. Ambrus informed Szegedi that he had documented proof that Szegedi's mother's parents were Jews. Since Judaism traces from mother to child, that made him a Jew. Szegedi was genuinely shocked and offered Ambrus money and a party position to keep his secret. Ambrus declined.

Szegedi later talked with his grandmother and discovered that her family were Orthodox Jews who had been deported to Auschwitz and then Dachau. She was the only member of the family to survive. His grandfather had been sent to forced labor camps during the war.

Being an MEP Can Be Lucrative

MEPs (Member of European Parliament) are paid an average £83,000 per year ($130,000). They also receive a daily "subsistence allowance" of £265 ($400), they can be refunded up to £3,600 ($5,500) per year for other travel outside their own country, and be reimbursed for up to 24 return journeys within their own country. Members also receive up to £242,000 ($375,000) annually in staff salaries and office expenses and benefit from a generous health care and pension system.

Still a Member

Although kicked out of the Jobbik Party, as of February 2013, Csanad is still a Member of the European Parliament (MEP) representing Jobbik. Since becoming an MEP on July 14, 2009, his loyalty to Jobbik in the European Parliament stands at 94.53% (1833 out of 1939 votes).

Expulsion

Still later, in 2012, when the leadership of Jobbik saw the recording, they demanded his resignation-- not for being Jewish, of course, but for attempting to bribe Ambrus and participating in a cover-up. One can only imagine their sighs of relief when viewing Szegedi offering money to hush the whole thing up.

On July 28, 2012, Szegedi relinquished all party posts and resigned from Jobbik, but clings to his post as a European Union (EU) lawmaker. Apparently, he thinks the best way to fight the European Union is from the inside-- but check out the sidebar regarding MEP remunerations. Jobbik Party President Gabor Vona has regretfully said “We have no alternative but to ask him to return his EU mandate”.

Csanad Szegedi now defines himself as 100 percent Hungarian with ancestry of Jewish origin who never practiced the Jewish religion. There has been no indication from the Jewish community about how they feel about the situation, though Rabbi Koves, who Szegedi has talked with, described a conversation he had with Szegedi as “difficult and spiritually stressful,” but is hopeful for a successful outcome.

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    • UnnamedHarald profile imageAUTHOR

      David Hunt 

      4 years ago from Cedar Rapids, Iowa

      Gordon, thanks for the comment. I agree it's a very serious situation that doesn't get much attention in the U.S. I've since heard that Csanad Szegedi is now a practicing Jew and attends synagogue.

    • Gordan Zunar profile image

      Gordan Zunar 

      4 years ago from New York

      Great hub! The rise of Jobbik and other clerical fascist parties throughout Europe is actually a very serious matter.

    • UnnamedHarald profile imageAUTHOR

      David Hunt 

      5 years ago from Cedar Rapids, Iowa

      Great comment, Elias. I believe MEPs have a pretty nice deal. And speaking of opportunists, old Adolph was very adept at taking advantage of the misery that swept Germany after WW1.

    • Elias Zanetti profile image

      Elias Zanetti 

      5 years ago from Athens, Greece

      I'm pretty sure Szegedi will lay low in his MEP position with his - probably - huge salary. In my opinion. there is nothing wrong with political views, in that case being against E.U. The problem is when you mix politics with fascist - racist ideology. Unfortunately, the last decade we have witnessed a big rise of extreme right wing parties in Europe. Personally, I consider them just opportunists, taking advantage of the recent economic turmoil. As we have seen in the past, such periods of uncertainty pave the way for such phenomena. That, of course, doesn't diminish people's responsibility for electing such parties. Afterall, all one has to do is be taught by history's lessons of the - not so distant - past.

      Very nice article. That was a case that made me smile. Like they say, I really wish I could see that guy's face when he first heard the news :)

    • UnnamedHarald profile imageAUTHOR

      David Hunt 

      6 years ago from Cedar Rapids, Iowa

      Nice to hear from you, KrisL. Yes indeed-- but in recent news, the Jobbik party is picking up steam and that's not good news! I haven't heard anymore news regarding Mr. Szegedi.

    • KrisL profile image

      KrisL 

      6 years ago from S. Florida

      What a fine comeuppance for a bigot!

      Thanks for this hub.

      Voted "interesting" and shared with my followers.

    • UnnamedHarald profile imageAUTHOR

      David Hunt 

      6 years ago from Cedar Rapids, Iowa

      RonJohn63, thanks for commenting. If only. But at least Mr. Szegedi is getting a different viewpoint. Maybe he'll grow. Or not.

    • RonJohn63 profile image

      RonJohn63 

      6 years ago

      "CAN WE ALL ... just get along?"

      Sadly, no.

    • UnnamedHarald profile imageAUTHOR

      David Hunt 

      6 years ago from Cedar Rapids, Iowa

      Thanks for commenting, fpherj48. It's one of those "what goes around comes around". Hopefully he learns from it. It's kind of like those religious bigots getting caught-- literally-- with their pants down.

    • fpherj48 profile image

      Paula 

      6 years ago from Beautiful Upstate New York

      OH....there's certainly a huge moral here.......as in, CAN WE ALL STOP WITH THE RACISM AND BIGOTRY NOW.....and just get along? Surprise, surprise.......serves you right..............UP+++

    • UnnamedHarald profile imageAUTHOR

      David Hunt 

      6 years ago from Cedar Rapids, Iowa

      Hi NateB11. Thanks for your great comment. Yes, I thought this episode had its bumbling, humoresque side, but then I remembered that many thought the Nazi party was also just a bunch of fools. I will be watching the players in this game. It would be nice if the Jobbik Party were idiots, but I fear that's not the case.

    • NateB11 profile image

      Nathan Bernardo 

      6 years ago from California, United States of America

      Fascinating and, of course kind of funny. Hitler had a similar problem: Though never proven to be Jewish (as far as I know), there was speculation that he had Jewish ancestry; and he was nervous about it getting out. But that's the problem with rigid views generally and the fallacious racist doctrine too; they too easily fall apart. Politics, hate doctrines, and these scandals (if that's the right word) are always interesting to me. I remember Hitler being embarrassed about a nephew and a brother's ex-wife (don't remember all the details) that he wanted hushed up; I think the nephew came to the US and talked much with the press. Sounds like Szegedi has plenty of reasons to want to stay in European Parliament; very interesting.

    • UnnamedHarald profile imageAUTHOR

      David Hunt 

      6 years ago from Cedar Rapids, Iowa

      Natashalh-- the ink isn't even dry on this hub and I get a comment. Isn't it great when Karma comes around? Wish it visited more often-- to more people. Thanks a bunch for the comment.

    • Natashalh profile image

      Natasha 

      6 years ago from Hawaii

      Hahahaha. Karma bites.

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