Jobbik

Introduction

Jobbik is a neo-fascist Hungarian political party that combines militant ethno-nationalism with anti-Semitism and anti-Roma racism. A Hungarian court ruled in January 2014 that Jobbik may be referred to as “neo-Nazi” in Hungary.* Jobbik describes itself as a “principled, conservative and radically patriotic Christian party” whose “fundamental purpose” is the protection of “Hungarian values and interests.”* Jobbik rejects “the dead-end Western European multiculturalism” and has pledged to “defend our cultural identity developed over our history.”* Since 2016, Jobbik has sought to dispel its far-right image while disavowing its antisemitic past.*

A group of nationalist Catholic and Protestant university students established the precursor to Jobbik, the Right-Wing Youth Association, as an alternative to the nationalist, far-right Hungarian Justice and Life Party (MEIP) after MEIP failed to win any seats in the 2002 election.* Jobbik was officially founded in October 2003 as a political party.* In Hungary's April 2018 parliamentary elections, Jobbik came in a distant second to the ruling Fidesz party, earning 19 percent of the vote to receive 26 seats. This marked a 1 percent decrease in votes for Jobbik from the 2014 election but an increase of three additional seats.* Jobbik remains in the opposition in the Hungarian government.*

Jobbik seeks the “reunification” of the Hungarian nation and a revision of the 1920 Treaty of Trianon, the post-World War I peace treaty between the Allied states and the Kingdom of Hungary that determined the borders of present-day Hungary.* In addition to a purported Jewish threat, Jobbik believes that the “Gypsies” are Hungary's largest problem because of “their extremely disproportionate crime rate and indolence.”*

Since 2016, Jobbik has attempted to soften its antisemitic and racist image. Then-former chairman Gabor Vona sought to shift the party to the mainstream rightwing and shed Jobbik’s far-right image.* In December 2016, Jobbik released Chanukah greetings to Hungary’s Jewish population, which he called an effort to reconcile Hungary’s Jews and Christians. Nonetheless, representatives of Hungary’s Jewish community rejected the outreach and called on Jobbik to instead make gestures like these at the political forums where Jobbik has spread its antisemitic rhetoric. A Jobbik chapter in the Budapest suburb of Vecses also rejected the outreach in a Facebook post claiming the organization would not support anybody who made such moves.* The outreach was part of a strategy under Vona to move Jobbik closer to the mainstream and present a viable challenge in the 2018 elections. Vona called Jobbik’s ideological rebranding a shift to “modern conservatism” that would reach out “both to former leftist and former rightist voters.”* Vona compared Jobbik’s former antisemitic and racist language to a rebellious teenage who matures and realizes the world is not as black and white as once thought.*

Jobbik received 20 percent of the vote in Hungary’s 2018 parliamentary elections. Despite Vona’s overtures, some party members continued to rally around the party’s traditional racist ideology. After the elections, former Jobbik vice-president László Toroczkai accused Jobbik of betraying the national cause. He and some other members broke away to form a new far-right party called Mi Hazánk Mozgalom (“Our Homeland Movement”). In 2019, Our Homeland formed a uniformed “self-defense” group called National Legion, which leaders said was modeled on the Hungarian Guard.*

In January 2020, Jobbik elected Péter Jakab as its new president. Jakab has openly spoken of his family’s Jewish roots and how his great-grandfather died in the Auschwitz concentration camp. Under Jakab’s leadership, Jobbik claims to no longer be a far-right party and that ideological shift is irreversible.* Some far-right members of Jobbik have since resigned, calling Jakab’s policies “morally unacceptable and fatal.”*

Leadership

Gabor Vona resigned as party chair in April 2018 after Jobbik's defeat in Hungary's parliamentary elections that month.* Tamás Sneider served as Jobbik's president, and Márton Gyöngyösi as its executive vice president and parliamentary faction leader.* In January 2020, Jobbik revised its leadership structure. Parliamentary faction leader Péter Jakab assumed the presidency of Jobbik, while Gyöngyösi continued to serve as executive vice president and a member of the European Parliament.*

Tamás Sneider

Márton Gyöngyösi

Péter Jakab

Base of Operations

Hungary

Website

https://www.jobbik.com/, https://www.jobbik.hu/

Membership Size and Relevance

In Hungary's April 2018 parliamentary elections, Jobbik came in a distant second to the ruling Fidesz party, earning 19 percent of the vote to receive 26 seats. This marked a 1 percent decrease in votes for Jobbik from the 2014 election but an increase of three additional seats.* In 2014, Jobbik received 14.7 percent of the votes in European Parliament elections, which gave it three seats.*

Recruitment and Propaganda

Jobbik claims to represent the Hungarian people and seeks to restore a sense of nationalism that the party believes had been destroyed under Hungary's former communist regime.*

A Hungarian court ruled in January 2014 that Jobbik may be referred to as “neo-Nazi” in Hungary because of its rhetoric.* In 2008, Jobbik Chairman Gabor Vona claimed in an interview with a German neo-Nazi journal that “organized Jewry” would try to interfere in the internal affairs of Hungary. He cited “statements of the Jews in Hungary and of international Jewry that the [Hungarian] guard stands in their way and that they want to buy whole Hungary.” Jobbik's blatant use of the Nazi “Arrow Cross” suggests Jobbik's pride in Hungary's Nazi past.*

Jobbik maintains a social media presence. As of June 29, 2020, the group’s Twitter account had 8,050 followers, a decrease from the 8,787 followers it had on July 3, 2018.* Jobbik's Facebook account had 5,310 followers as of July 3, 2018.* Jobbik’s Facebook account has since been shut down.

Violent Activities

In August 2007, Jobbik created the paramilitary organization Magyar Garda (“Hungarian Guard”) to “carry out the real change of regime and to rescue Hungarians,” according to Vona.* According to the U.S. Department of State, the guards wore the uniforms of Hungary's World War II fascist government and pledged to defend the country from “bloodsuckers.”* Hungary's Metropolitan Court of Appeal disbanded the Hungarian Guard in 2009 for intimidation of Hungary's Roma community.* However, the group has since formed several successor organizations, including the New Hungarian Guard.*

  • In April 2009, a member of Magyar Garda stabbed his girlfriend to death and then carved a swastika into her back. He then draped her body in a Nazi flag. He was sentenced to life in prison in 2011.*
  • Between 2008 and 2009, four neo-Nazis murdered six Roma in Greece. Two of the attackers were members of Jobbik's Hungarian Guard who sought to provoke Romani people into violent reactions. In August 2013, three of the attackers received life sentences while the fourth was sentenced to 13 years in prison.*

Rhetoric

  • Jobbik party chairman Gábor Vona during Jobbik protests against a meeting of the World Jewish Congress in Budapest, May 2013: “The Israeli conquerors, these investors, should look for another country in the world for themselves because Hungary is not for sale.”*
  • Jobbik MP Márton Gyöngyösi during Jobbik protests against a meeting of the World Jewish Congress in Budapest, May 2013: Hungary had “become subjugated to Zionism, it has become a target of colonisation while we, the indigenous people, can play only the role of extras.”*
  • Jobbik statement on its website regarding Hungarian Nazi collaborator Miklós Horty, 2011: “The Horthy-era released positive élan for the nation… Under Horthy Hungary had a strong and impressing elite, which pursued the goal of the appeal of the unfair Trianon peace diktat… But since then, we have no national elite any more. During the fifty years of communism we had an internationalist elite and today we have a globalist elite. Neither of them was able and willing to represent national interests.”*

Daily Dose

Extremists: Their Words. Their Actions.

Fact:

On July 23, 2016, two suicide bombers targeted members of Afghanistan’s Hazara ethnic minority who were demonstrating in Kabul. ISIS claimed responsibility for the attack, which killed at least 97 people and injured 260 others. 

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