Jobbik is the largest and most successful fascist party in Europe. It has three out of 22 Hungarian seats in the European parliament and it has 47 seats in the Hungarian parliament. It is virulently antisemitic, anti-Roma and homophobic. It is in alliance with the British National party, Front National and Golden Dawn.
Jobbik believes in ‘Hungary for Hungarians’ and in a Greater Hungary. In 1920 the Treaty of Trianon defined the borders for 100 years and left significant Hungarian ethnic populations in half of Slovakia, northern Serbia and in parts of Romania. Jobbik wants to renegotiate the borders of Hungary and renegotiate its membership of the European Union.
It is bad enough to realise that this unpleasant party is active anywhere in the world and has support, but now it has decided that activity inside Hungary is not enough.
This Sunday, its leader, Vona Gabor, is organising a gathering of Hungarian supporters of Jobbik living in Britain in the centre of London.
The Hungarian government quotes statistics that suggest as many as 100,000 Hungarian citizens could currently be living in the UK. However, the Hungarian community is very diverse and most Hungarians are embarrassed and upset that this group exists in Hungary let alone appears elsewhere. However, as in 1932 when many did not think Adolf Hitler was more than an unpleasant joke, we all have to take the threat very seriously. It is a threat to the social cohesion of the Hungarian community, a threat to ethnic communities here and a threat to communal cohesion.
The Jewish community, Camden councillors, Andrew Dismore AM and others have picked this up and called for Gabor’s exclusion and that may yet happen. The police are taking the threat very seriously. If he is not excluded expect calls to rally and I hope you will be there.
Why is Jobbik trying to campaign here? It is is seeking votes in the Hungarian general election which takes place in April and in the European elections.
We should be concerned that French, Polish and Lithuanian fascists might also choose to campaign here in the UK, but today we need to keep a vigil on the activities of Jobbik.
The lesson for us all must be that racist and fascist groups as they grow must never be considered a joke or an irrelevance and they must be opposed. We need to set an example and make it clear that this party and its activists are not welcome here. We should also hope that this sets an example to those in Hungary to stand up against them too.
Fidesz, the supposedly centre-right party in Hungary, works hard to ensure its powerbase and marginalises but it does not curtail Jobbik, and many believe that significant numbers of Fidesz supporters hide behind Jobbik while sympathising with their racism.
Andrew Gilbert is a trustee of the London Jewish Forum and member of Progress. He tweets @AndrewGilbert1
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