David Pressman is a man with a mission. And not in the sense that he is the chief of the US mission in Hungary. No, his mission seems to be rather personal, or rather, that of a Democrat activist: to libel the host country’s government—and indirectly, the majority of Hungarians who democratically elected that government—in every possible way he can think of.
After incessantly insinuating that the Orbán administration is in bed with Putin, he has recently claimed in remarks at a Jewish and Israeli film festival in Budapest that the government-financed billboard campaign featuring Alex Soros and Ursula von der Leyen is somehow antisemitic.
Naturally, the US Ambassador is not acting entirely as a loose cannon: he is obviously emboldened by at least some officials in the US State Department—we would hate to think that he is encouraged to act in this reprehensible way by his direct supervisor, the US President. Otherwise he would have been already recalled, or at least disciplined. And that is a very sorry state of affairs, considering that Hungary is a trustworthy NATO ally and a European Union member state.
But whatever the case may be,
the Ambassador’s obvious dislike of the Hungarian conservative government is no excuse for his unhinged behaviour.
His unwise speech has blown the fuse not only with the Hungarian government, but also with reputable representatives of the Jewish community in Hungary. The Action and Protection Foundation (TEV) has made it clear in a recent statement to Hungarian conservative website Mandiner that they do not consider the billboard campaign antisemitic, stressing that there is no reference whatsoever to the ethnic or religious background of the persons featured on the giant posters. The speaker for TEV also reiterated that Hungary is ‘one of the safest countries in the world’ for Jews, and added that while antisemitic rhetoric has intensified on the Internet in Hungary (as it has happened in most countries in the world after the conflict in Gaza), this can be linked to a few, well-definable groups. As far as anti-Semitic incidents are concerned, they are being reported in increasing numbers to TEV by Israeli students studying in Hungary as perpetrated against them by foreign Muslim students. György Szabó, the president of MAZSÖK, the Hungarian Jewish Heritage Public Foundation, has called the Pressman remarks ‘the most scandalous speech in recent years’; the head of the Vác Jewish religious community, Holocaust survivor János Turai described the Ambassador’s insinuations as ‘filthy lies’.
It is no consolation to us Hungarians, but the US radical left—which is unfortunately becoming synonymous with the Democratic Party, and to which Ambassador Pressman belongs—is not only at work in Hungary: they are bending over backwards to pretend that it is the political right that fuels racism and antisemitism in America. As Jonathan Brodsky and Josh Hammer said in a recent op-ed on The Federalist: ‘It’s also worth underscoring the partisan nature of the antisemitic protests that have been garnering so much media attention…far-right antisemitism exists on the edges of society and in pockets of the dark web. But the Jew-hatred that’s been pouring out into the open from coast to coast since the Hamas pogrom of Oct. 7 is all coming from the left.’ The authors went on to remind that ‘Antisemitic incidents in America have increased 400 percent since the start of October. Pro-Hamas rioters set off smoke bombs outside the Los Angeles home of the president of AIPAC. Elsewhere in California, a Jewish man was murdered for his religion. In South Florida, where we both live, one can hardly go to shul, dine at a kosher restaurant, or visit any other Jewish establishment without security present.’ Reading this harrowing account, we cannot but remember the English saying about those living in glass houses who shouldn’t be throwing stones…
David Pressman should also remember that it is not in Hungary that a Jewish person was recently killed by an extremist pro-Palestinian demonstrator, but in the United States of America. And it is not a Hungarian member of parliament who has failed to condemn Hamas after the abominable massacre of civilians on 7 October in Israel, but a US congresswoman. Her conduct is an utter disgrace, absolutely unbecoming of an elected representative of a country like the United States.
Of course, the Hungarian ambassador to the United States has refrained from commenting on rising antisemitism in his host nation
and how little the USG is doing to address it—he is aware of what a diplomat appointed to a country that is a friend and ally should and should not do.
It is high time the Ambassador (or rather, Embarassador) stopped hurling baseless accusations at the Orbán government, and instead, got down to doing what the real mission of an ambassador is: foster bilateral relations. Last time we checked, ruining the Hungarian-US relationship is not part of the job.