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Semjén: Israel a ‘good example’ of diaspora politics for Hungary

Deputy Prime Minister and Minister Without Portfolio for National Politics Zsolt Semjén spoke approvingly of Israel’s diaspora politics on Sunday. Speaking in a panel discussion on national politics in Baile Tusnad Free University, he evaluated Hungary’s “new attitude” and strategy towards the Hungarian diaspora in the Carpathian Basin and beyond. Commenting on the overall strategy, Semjén remarked that “Hungary should take example from Israel in its national politics”.

He went on explaining that “Israel takes full responsibility for Jews, wherever they may live. Every single Jewish person can be sure that Israel is his homeland to which he can always return. And whatever happens, Israel moves heaven and earth for the sake of the Jewish diaspora.”

Semjén added that Hungary, similar to Israel, should also “move heaven and earth in the defence of Hungarian communities around the world, when they are threatened. And similarly, wherever they may live, Hungarians should always bear in mind that Hungary is their homeland, to which they can always return. We will stand behind them, protect them and help them.”

The  leader of the Christian Democratic People’s Party (KDNP) argued that this approach is of key importance, especially in the present situation when Hungarians in Ukraine are threatened, having found themselves “in a conflict situation against their will”.

In response to a question he said there are already a growing number of refugees in Western Ukraine from the Crimea and the Donetsk region, and the authorities keep filling up the army ranks with ethnic Hungarians instead of them. “We should do everything possible for the Ukrainians not to conscript ethnic Hungarians into the army, as they have nothing to do with this conflict. Besides, ethnic proportions in Subcarpathia need to be preserved. We should not allow the same thing that happened in Serbia [referring to the 1991-94 Balkan conflict] where refugees from the conflict zone transformed ethnic demographic proportions. We will provide assistance to the Subcarpathian Hungarians on every formal and informal channel available.”

Earlier in the weekend Semjén participated in an inauguration ceremony of a new “Szekler flag” in nearby Targu Secuiesc (Kézdivásárhely). Szekler flags, symbolizing the ethnic Hungarian movement for territorial autonomy in the Southeastern Carpathians, have previously been a target of the Romanian government on a national and regional level. Semjén’s presence signified a firm Hungarian official stand to defend the flags from being removed or banned by Romanian officials.

Originally a theologian, Semjén was made responsible for representing Prime Minister Viktor Orbán’s concept of “a Hungarian nation exceeding the borders” in 2010, and is charged with “representing the idea and principle of national unity”.

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