The presidents of Mazsihisz and Jobbik held Seder together

U.S. Ambassador David Pressman celebrated the first night of Passover with Márton Gyöngyösi and András Heisler.

We had a fascinating Passover Seder bringing together Hungarians from different perspectives, disciplines, and backgrounds to reflect on the meaning of freedom. Happy Passover,” David Pressman wrote on the U.S. Embassy Twitter page. The dinner was attended by representatives of Mazsihisz, including President András Heisler, and Jobbik President Márton Gyöngyösi.

The fact that the representatives of Mazsihisz and Márton Gyöngyösi celebrated sitting at the same table is also surprising because a few years ago the former held a demonstration called “Mass Protest against Nazism” together with the MSZP and the Faith Church because of the right-wing politician’s antisemitic statements, Mandiner wrote in connection with the incident.

Gyöngyösi caused a huge outcry with his speech in parliament in 2012:

„It is time to take stock of how many people of Jewish origin living here, especially in the Hungarian parliament and government, pose a certain national security risk to Hungary. I believe that they owe Hungary such a survey.”

Despite all this, the American ambassador in Budapest, David Pressman, invited the right-wing politician to his festive dinner on the first night of Passover, and András Heisler, the president of the Mazsihisz, willingly sat at the same table with Gyöngyösi. Pressman shared pictures of the event on Facebook:

The Jobbik president himself reported on the event on his Facebook page:

„I recently received an invitation from American Ambassador David Pressman to attend a private Seder dinner held in the ambassador’s faith, which I was delighted to accept.

“There is no more moving and intimate experience for a conservative European than when members of a religious community in the Judeo-Christian cultural sphere share their living relationship with God, professing their faith before their God and their community.

“I am happy to have been able to participate in the dinner, the celebration and the exchange of ideas about freedom that took place there.

“I am glad that more and more people recognize the center-right political line that I have defined and consistently represented as the chairman of Jobbik-Conservatives and see that the path we have set out leads to a normal, European, civil Hungary.”

Gyöngyösi Márton antiszemita parlamenti felszólalása 2012.11.26

Gyöngyösi az izraeli-palesztin konfliktusról kérdezte Németh Zsolt külügyi államtitkárt. Azt kérte számon rajta, hogy a külügy nem szolidáris a palesztinokkal, pedig szerinte izraeli katonai terror történik a közel-keleti országban. Németh a válaszában azt mondta, hogy Magyarország a két nép közös érdekeit képviseli, és hozzátette azt is, hogy sok magyar ajkú ember él Izraelben, és sok zsidó Magyarországon.

As expected, there was no shortage of reactions on the matter.

In a statement to Magyar Nemzet, Fidesz MEP Tamás Deutsch said that David Pressman legitimized antisemitic statements by inviting Márton Gyöngyösi, the president of Jobbik – Conservatives, to a seder at the U.S. Embassy.

„The most outrageous antisemitic statement in the more than 30 years since the regime change is linked to Márton Gyöngyösi,” said Tamás Deutsch.

„A more genuine antisemitic statement than the one made by Márton Gyöngyösi — listing people of Jewish origin, analyzing national security risks — can only be found in the darkest eras of the 20th century.

It is a provocation to all well-meaning Hungarians, and to the Jewish community in Hungary, to invite such a man to the American ambassador’s dinner on the occasion of the greatest Jewish holiday.”

– said the pro-government politician.

Shea Bradley-Farrell, director of the Counterpoint Institute, a Washington-based policy think tank and a visiting fellow at the Center for Fundamental Rights, wrote in a Twitter post to David Pressman:

Ambassador I’m truly confused. Márton Gyöngyösi is a well-known anti-semite & Holocaust denier.”

She then quoted the Jobbik-Conservative MEP who had earlier said that „Our country has become subjugated to Zionism while we, the indigenous people, play only the role of extras.” 

Bradley-Farrell concluded by saying,

Fidesz opposes racism. Why don’t you?”

Tamás Róna, president of the Hungarian Jewish Prayer Association, Zsima, told Mandiner that the fact that the president of the Mazsihisz and Gyöngyösi attended such an event together „fundamentally upsets the real, believing Jewish community in Hungary”.

The Neolog Chief Rabbi put it bluntly:

“It is opening wounds that should not be opened, and it is deeply painful for those who lived through the tragedy of the Holocaust,

family members, all Hungarian Jews and our good-hearted fellow countrymen who condemn antisemitism. This is happening on the very night of the Seder, Passover, the holiday of going from bondage to freedom, and we should be leaving Egypt, not going back. It is not an exaggeration to say that sitting at the table as a Jewish leader with a politician who has evoked the worst days of WWII, and has since not apologized to the Jewish people,  is a sin, the worst of all.”

Israeli foreign minister to visit Budapest soon

„At the request of my friend Eli Cohen, my Israeli foreign minister colleague, we had a telephone conversation today to review the security situation in the Middle East”