Minister Overseeing the Office of the Prime Minister János Lázár made an interesting statement Thursday during the government’s weekly marathon press conference.
When asked about the Fidesz-authored NGO bill, which would require those organizations that receive foreign funding to label themselves as “foreign-funded”, Lázár said it wouldn’t necessarily be a bad thing if a statement released by one of these organizations used “a little star” to indicate whether it is supported by the Open Society Foundation’s George Soros.
“Let’s say the Hungarian Helsinki Committee or the Hungarian Civil Liberties Union takes a position on a given issue regarding what is humane or inhumane, what kind of treatment is human or inhumane, then it’s not a bad thing if there is a little star or comment which explains whether this organization is supported by George Soros or not — someone who does in fact have an opinion on the issue,” Lázár said.
Before we start pointing fingers and accusing Lázár of pandering to those with a penchant for anti-Semitism, we should point out that he almost immediately apologized for the reference. The apology only came after a 444 journalist cut him off and asked, “There would be a star to indicate whether George Soros is a supporter [of the organization]? This is new.”
“Just a comment. My use of the word ‘star’ may be misinterpreted, I apologize for that,” Lázár continued. “It wasn’t my intention for that to be misinterpreted.”
To be fair, there is no Hungarian word that would differentiate between “star” and “asterisk”, but given the intense anti-Soros propaganda in Hungary (which many consider to be a form of veiled anti-Semitism), even Lázár realized that the use of the word was unfortunate.
Lázár, like Prime Minister Viktor Orbán, has used these weekly media appearances to rant endlessly about Soros as an incredibly dangerous financial speculator who wants to upset Hungary’s (and Europe’s) Christian heritage by importing Muslims into the EU.