Hungarian Newspaper Publishes Anti-Semitic Rants, Takes the Heat

Earlier this year, the Hungarian daily Magyar Hirlap published an anti-Semitic tirade written by Zsolt Bayer and now the paper as well as the Hungarian government is taking the heat for it in media outlets all over Europe.

The newspaper and columnist in question reportedly have ties with the current Prime Minister, Viktor Orban and the right-wing Fidesz party.  According to Karl Pfeifer, an Austrian Jewish columnist and Holocaust survivor who was the subject of one of Bayer’s tirades, said Bayer has a history of attacking Jews and his ties to the current prime minister is why no action has been taken.   According to Pfeifer, he was referred to as a “gas chamber deserter” amongst other epithets over the last year.  However, the newpaper rejects those accusations.

Last month, commentators on Radio Free Europe accused Bayer of imitating Nazi Julius Streicher and his rants published in the Nazi newspaper “Der Stuermer”.  The news outlet also criticized the racist and discriminatory actions taken against liberal media outlets because they ridiculed the Hungarian president as well as the systematic persecution of the Roma and acquittal of Sandor Kepiro, a Hungarian who murdered Jew and Serbs during the Holocaust.  Bayer reportedly responded with a wish that the Jews had all been annihilated during the White Forest pogrom of 1920 that took place in Orgovany, Hungary.

Last week, the Austrian Press Club Concordia registered a formal complaint against the Hungarian press, stating that Hungarian media has been consistently racist and discriminatory.  The complaint urged the government to remove the “anti-Semitic and misanthropic” articles and comments on Magyar Hirlap’s website.

This week, the newspaper stated that they “reject the charge and do not understand it.”  They claim label is coming from left wing media outlets in Hungary.  The newspaper claimed Bayer’s words were taken out of context and were misunderstood.  The rest of Europe disagrees with them.

The government spokesperson countered those charges, saying that Hungary has in fact progressed since its years of communist rule, having established a framework for assimilating the Roma into Hungarian society.  Media outlets all over Europe, however, say the statement is meaningless so long as they do not address the anti-Semitism in the Hungarian media.