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When It Comes to Antisemitism, Silence is Complicity

Only a few days ago our very own László Bernát Veszprémy was harassed by antisemites online and had to endure death threats directed against him and his family.

The entire story started with Veszprémy uncovering on the pages of the Times of Israel the ties of antisemites, skinheads and neo-Nazis to current opposition PM candidate Péter Márki-Zay. He has documented well how many times Márki-Zay has stood by antisemites throughout his political activity. Veszprémy drew the logical conclusion that if a politician seeks the company and friendship of antisemites, defends said extremists against charges of antisemitism and himself makes dubious comments about Jews spying on Hungarians, then he is probably an antisemite himself.

Then some people – probably supporters of Márki-Zay – reported his article to the Times of Israel (TOI) as a piece containing false charges. What exactly were false about these charges is not known – all of Veszprémy’s references and quotes were correct. In fact, Veszprémy only used information that has previously appeared in the Hungarian media. His article was deleted by the confused editors of TOI and the Hungarian left-wing media gleefully reported: a Jewish journalist spread false charges about Márki-Zay and his ex-skinhead political allies, such as Tamás Sneider.

Then came the flood of attacks: Veszprémy was threatened, bullied, cursed and called a “dirty Jew”.

One might ask the question: where was the Jewish press at this time? Veszprémy, after all, is a Holocaust scholar of Jewish ancestry, an ex-journalist of Szombat, the Jewish monthly, and the ex-editor-in-chief of Neokohn, the Jewish news portal.

So far, there were almost no signs of solidarity for Veszprémy. Szombat, his one-time workplace wrote an article, its tone directed against Veszprémy, omitting the fact that Veszprémy was ever their journalist.

Kibic, the left-wing Jewish magazine wrote a similar article, apparently taking the side of Veszprémy’s critics.

The left-wing, post-Zionist Izraelinfo news portal wrote an entire essay against Veszprémy by their deputy editor-in-chief, Krisztina Politzer Maymon. The article called Veszprémy “manipulative”, but omitted the fact that Tamás Sneider was an ex-skinhead.

We have come to the point where a journalist of Jewish ancestry exposing skinheads cannot expect any solidarity from the Jewish press, instead must expect attacks from so-called “Jewish news portals”.

One has to ask the question: are these even Jewish newspapers anymore? What exactly is Jewish about a newspaper that fails to note the skinhead past of a far-right politician and attacks journalists fighting antisemitism?

The only Jewish public personality who had the courage to stand by Veszprémy was neolog chief rabbi Péter Kardos. The Holocaust-surviving rabbi, editor-in-chief of Új Élet, a Jewish magazine, posted on the Facebook page a similar condemnation of Márki-Zay, connecting it with Veszprémy’s previous work. He has also called the show of György Bolgár on the online Klub Rádió, and spoke up against Márki-Zay’s antisemitism.

At the same time, let us note the names of the editors-in-chief who – so far – have failed to stand by Veszprémy: Gábor Szántó T. of Szombat, Judit Hidas of Kibic and Péter Frank of Izraelinfo.

A top spot on the shame list goes to György Gábor, a Jewish philosopher who attacked Veszprémy in his blog – even though he himself has previously spoken up against Márki-Zay’s antisemitism! This was of course before the party officially supported by Gábor – DK, the Democratic Coalition – decided to support Márki-Zay in the elections. Apparently, politics come before morals.

Pictured is the Berlin Holocaust memorial. Source: Unsplash