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The Left-Wing Press Blames Israel For Spyware Scandal

It is an old topos in Hungarian domestic politics that Israel is interfering in our democracy, writes László Bernát Veszprémy, historian and MIMC Organization founding member for the right-wing news portal Mandiner

„Israel interferes in Hungarian democracy” is an old topos in Hungarian domestic politics, which obviously points to the historical frustrations of a small Central European country.

It is interesting to observe how this topos has been used in Hungarian domestic politics over the past 10 years by the far right and the left.

“Where were you when Shimon Peres delivered his conquest speech, when an Israeli spy plane entered our airspace, when the chaotic affairs of Israeli investors came to light? What’s going on here, gentlemen?” – Gábor Vona, the then party chairman of Jobbik, asked in parliament on December 3, 2012.

Let’s not forget Jobbik politician Márton Gyöngyösi’s infamous “list” speech [ed. Note: Márton Gyöngyösi sought to have all those of Jewish origin in the Hungarian parliament put on a list], which according to his original, assumed intention,

was looking for some kind of Israeli influence in Hungarian politics.

But following Jobbik’s “rebirth,” these voices have subsided, with left-wing media filling the gap.

Three years ago, in July 2018, Lili Bayer  — a sometimes independent journalist and a sometimes openly „young opposition” activist on the side of Momentum president András Fekete-Győr and left-wing activist Márton Gulyás — told Politico that an Israeli spy company, Black Cube, was monitoring a Hungarian left-wing NGO.

It’s worth re-reading the article: the only basis for the whole story is that “the people who met and recorded the NGO officials used European and Arab cover names, but at least two of them spoke with discernible Israeli accents — according to people at the organizations who met with them.” 

The above story is not very far from the story run by that Israeli soldiers were sent ahead of the 2006 clashes „to conduct routine counterterrorism exercises.”

But there’s more.

Now Direkt36 has published an article about the Forbidden Stories project, which claims that opposition journalists were intercepted using software from an Israeli private company, such as Szabolcs Panyi (who wrote on Twitter that Péter Jakab “taught history to Roma children&has Jewish ancestry”; it’s interesting to compare this with Jakab’s previous racist comments on Roma children).

The article itself emphasizes that the data in the possession of the international fact-finding team does not make it clear who exactly deployed the spyware. The fact that some phones were hacked at all was confirmed by Citizen Lab, an organization funded by George Soros’ Open Society Foundations, and Forbidden Stories, which pops up throughout the whole story, also gets its money in part from the same place.

Reviewing international headlines, there are hardly any newspapers

that emphasize the Israeli connection, perhaps the only exception is the Times of Israel, which is understandably excited about it.

But this is not the case with left-wing, which publishes its article directly with the opening image of Benjamin Netanyahu, as does the left-wing weekly Magyar Narancs. They obviously felt the need to address far-right voters. We understand the message, this is an old topos, it has been pushed by the far-right since 2010, and more recently by the left: Evil Jews are destroying Hungarian democracy.

The opposition must really be nervous if it thinks such messages are needed for a 2022 victory. With the failure of László Bíró in Borsod [ed. note: he lost in a by-election there], it has already been revealed that the Hungarian people will not vote against the government just because the left starts assuming an anti-Jewish stance. This whole tactic stems from the Left’s contemptuous and hostile image of the Hungarian people:

They think Hungarians really demand such a stance because Hungarians are really Nazis. But if the model has already failed in the by-election, then why do they think it will work this time?

Translated by Neokohn.