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Hungarian Spectrum’s Éva S. Balogh Whitewashes Anti-Semitic, Anti-Roma Jobbik Leader

Hungarian Spectrum’s editor-in-chief, Éva S. Balogh has published an article about the recent scandals of Jobbik president Péter Jakab.(1)

Balogh wrote:

“Although the Hungarian far right had a heyday over his partially Jewish heritage and journalists of one of the Fidesz rags kept calling him Jakob instead Jakab, he seems to have a healthy attitude toward own selfhood, which, by the way, doesn’t seem to include Jewish identity or consciousness. Jakab spent his childhood and practically his entire adult life in Miskolc, where, after finishing university, he taught history in Kalyi Jag Roma Minority Secondary and Vocational School in town.”

Balogh ignored the fact that in spite of his Jewish ancestry, Jakab has written and said a number of anti-Semitic things in the past.

In early 2020 JTA summarised(2) this as follows:

“Jakab, a practicing Catholic, has been accused of anti-Semitism in Hungarian media after he blamed Jews for generating anti-Semitism for financial gain. He has also denied that he or Jobbik were anti-Semitic. (…) Jakab has cited this background to qualify his statements about Jews and Israel, which prompted the popular Origo news site to report in 2018 that anti-Semitism “is the one constant element in Peter Jakab’s career.” In 2014, Jakab appeared to blame Jews for anti-Semitism and abusing the memory of the Holocaust for financial gain. “We hear nothing in the media about how Jewish clergy want to cash in on the Holocaust. Let’s face it, they have a huge responsibility in the fact that today, a significant part of Hungarian society feels that we don’t need to remember the Holocaust,” Jakab said. “It is these Jewish leaders who generate the prejudices that they can use to collect millions for more programs fighting anti-Semitism,” he added. Jakab wrote that Israel “violates Hungarian interests” and that, “It is finally time for Hungarian Jewry, and especially its leading class, to be absorbed” into Hungarian society.”

Balogh also leaves out the fact while Jakab in fact worked for a Roma school in Miskolc, in 2009 he was fired for being a candidate for the neo-Nazi Jobbik party.

He spoke about the school and his Roma ex-students as follows in a 2011 interview(3):

“They strengthen Roma identity in them (the kids) with every method, and this is often paired with antagonism against Hungarians. For the high levels of unemployment in their circles (the Romas) they blame only racism, and see no problem with their efficiency or work culture.”

“Since knowledge brings no respect among the students, the example to follow was set by those who either had personal experience with prisoners or one of his relatives took a high position on the ladder of the hierarchy of the crime world (börtönvilág). In my class the first one was a pimp. He went to prison during the middle of the year. In this case a teacher’s biggest challenge is earning respect. There was only one way for this: showing strength to the students. The most possible determination and not a sign of fear. If someone is not capable of this, he will be eaten alive in a few hours.”

Jakab explained that a Roma child “at home sees that his mother, father do not work and the postman brings the money (social benefits)”.

He also said that while working out with the children, they shared with him “what crimes they committed (last night)”.

This is not the first time that Hungarian Spectrum’s Éva S. Balogh has whitewashed far-right Jobbik politicians.

In a January 2020 article, Balogh has written about then Jobbik candidate, now Jobbik MP Gergely Kálló, without mentioning the fact that Kálló had previously written of his “tremendous respect” for a white supremacist and anti-Semitic group.(4)

(3) Sinkovics Szilvia: Cigányiskola, ahol a strici a menő (Gypsy school where the pimp is popular). Barikád, 24th March 2011. pp13-15. (interview with Péter Jakab). See online: