The Hungarian government has recently launched a billboard campaign in promotion of its National Consultation, which depicts EU Commission President Urusula von der Leyen and American financier and political activist Alex Soros, son of George Soros, along with the writing ‘Let’s not dance to their tune’. Evidently, this has drawn some criticism from the Western media—however, their dull cry of ‘antisemitism’ is landing even softer than when they originally dished it out, back in 2019.
The British left-leaning The Guardian was among the ones leading the charge, with the publishing of an article titled ‘Hungarian government campaign renews antisemitism concerns’ on Saturday, 18 November. In it, they recall how the original 2019 billboard campaign, which featured former EU Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker and George Soros, allegedly perpetuated harmful tropes about Jewish people secretly controlling world affairs from the shadows.
The Guardian believes that these newly unveiled billboards featuring von der Leyen and Alex Soros are also a manifestation of the Orbán administration’s supposed hatred for Jewish people. However, this comes with the reinvigorated Israeli–Palestinian conflict in the backdrop, during which
Viktor Orbán’s Hungary has proven to be one of Israel’s staunchest defenders and allies.
In fact, Hungary was among the only 14 countries voting against a call for an immediate ceasefire between Israel and Hamas in the UN General Assembly, along with Israel, since Hungarian delegates felt the resolution proposed did not stipulate the immediate and unconditional release of civilian Israeli hostages clearly enough.
In addition, it was Viktor Orbán who was among the first international leaders to publicly show support for Israel after the series of attacks by the terror group Hamas in early October, and President Katalin Novák went on a solidarity visit to Israel in November, where she met with her Israeli counterpart Isaac Herzog.
What’s more, while also in the wake of the Israeli war, antisemitism is actually on the rise in Europe—it is not in Hungary. Viktor Orbán has categorically denounced the ‘pro-terrorism’ protests and marches in support of Hamas and Palestine, which have been common in Western Europe and North America recently. In these events, chants insinuating that the state of Israel should not even exist are common; and one of the protests even resulted in the death of an elderly Jewish man in California, in a scuffle between pro-Israel and pro-Palestine supporters. Here in Hungary, however, no such demonstrations have ever been permitted.
Apart from The Guardian, another British news outlet, the Financial Times—which is notable for being the first the publish the news about the unfreezing of some of the EU funds due to Hungary, information they got even before the Hungarian government—also covered the allegedly antisemitic billboard campaign. They did so much more briefly than their colleagues at The Guardian, only mentioning the odd allegations in a couple of paragraphs within a piece titled ‘Viktor Orbán launches public consultation against more aid to Ukraine’.
In the piece, they describe George Soros as a ‘holocaust survivor,’ which is true—however, what they fail to mention is that the teenage Soros survived the Holocaust in Hungary by helping the Nazis confiscate the property of Jews, as he admitted to journalist Steve Kroft in a 1998 interview on the American news magazine 60 Minutes. In the interview, he also claims he had ‘no feeling of guilt’ about his actions.