Hungarian civil and political activists call on Jobbik assemblyman to resign

February 24, 2015


Anti-fascists had planned to heckle a Jobbik press conference scheduled for Tuesday afternoon in Budapest’s District 13, but it was cancelled.

According to police sources, Jobbik first postponed the conference until 5 pm, and then cancelled it.  This slightly contradicts information provided by the district press office, according to which the press conference was originally scheduled for 5 pm, which Jobbik then cancelled.

Tolerance Group activists had planned to attend the Jobbik press conference in front of the District 13 town hall because they were outraged over the fact that the district’s one and only Jobbik assemblyman, László Benke (pictured), failed to stand up when the district council held a moment of silence in memory of recently deceased honorary district resident, professor József Schweitzer.

The activists understood the conference was to start at 3 pm.  Accordingly twenty of them showed up just before 3 pm.  The Jobbik press conference, however, was nowhere to be found.  In its place, a spontaneous flashmob cum press conference was held by the anti-fascist group of protesters.

Those present condemned Hungary’s radical right-wing party with strong anti-Nazi words.  Tolerance Group spiritual rector Andrea Zoltai, who caught the public’s eye last year as one of the protest leaders against the Szabadság square memorial, called for Benke’s resignation.

“The deepest barbarity happened” was how activist Eszter Garai-Édler characterized the local government incident.  She believes both Jobbik and Fidesz consider incitement to hatred to be the most suitable means of winning over the crowd.”  According to Garai-Édle the governing power nurtures and relativizes the Horthy period.

“Jobbik is a Neo-Nazi, Neo-Arrow Cross, racist party” said former SzDSZ district assemblyman, András Tarján.  He believes the governing party is partially fulfilling the Jobbik program.  He emphasized that Benke had showed Jobbik’s true face rather than the one it shows over the course of a so-called “cute campaign” presently underway to make party politicians more presentable to mainstream voters.  Tarján, too, called for Benke’s resignation.

The Budapest Beacon asked the spokesperson why the fact that Benke did not stand up was considered news if, in fact, Jobbik is a neo-Nazi party, and why this was grounds for demanding his resignation, pointing out that Benke “did precisely what was to be expected of Jobbik.” In response to this Zoltai said “it is precisely that against which we must protes.t”  Zoltai believes that based on the 1947 Paris peace agreement banning extremist parties,  Jobbik is “not legitimate”.  “Jobbik is a Nazi party” she said. “Under no circumstances should democratic parties have legitimized Jobbik by cooperating with it!”

To this Eszter Édler added that the cute campaign was acceptable to a significant part of Hungarian society, but that the real face of Jobbik was what Benke showed at the district council meeting when he failed to stand up.

At that point László Benke unexpectedly came out of the district town hall.  The Jobbik politician was not willing to give a statement to the Budapest Beacon and merely informed us that neither he nor other Jobbik politicians would hold a press conference at that time.  when Zoltai asked the Jobbik assemblyman why he hadn’t stood up for the commemoration of the memory of professor Schweitzer, he responded “no comment”, to which he added that he would respond to questions raised at the press conference.  Despite our repeatedly asking when and where the press conference was to be held, he was not willing to say.  However, he made it clear that he has no intention of resigning.