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.Hungarian historian Laszló Karsai was brought before the court because he had called Jobbik a neo-Nazi party. But a Hungarian appeals court dismissed the charge, justifying Karsai’s statement as an exercise of freedom of speech. “Gerichtsurteil in Ungarn: Jobbik darf als Neonazipartei bezeichnet werden,” Spiegel Online, January 28, 2014, http://www.spiegel.de/politik/ausland/urteil-in-ungarn-jobbik-darf-als-neonazi-partei-bezeichnet-werden-a-945998.html. Jobbik describes itself as a “principled, conservative and radically patriotic Christian party” whose “fundamental purpose” is the protection of “Hungarian values and interests.”“Jobbik - The Movement for a Better Hungary,” Facebook, accessed September 11, 2014, https://www.facebook.com/JobbikEnglish?sk=info.
In 2002, 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.András Kovács, “The Post-Communist Extreme Right: The Jobbik Party in Hungary,” Right-Wing Populism in Europe: Politics and Discourse, eds. Ruth Wodak, Brigitte Mral, Majid KhosraviNik (New York: Bloomsbury, 2013), 224, https://books.google.com/books?id=Wrw8gC8vCnUC&printsec=frontcover&source=gbs_atb#v=onepage&q&f=false. Jobbik was officially founded in October 2003 as a political party.Zselyke Csaky, “Hungary: Jobbik and the ‘Enemy Within’,” Freedom House, October 9, 2012, https://freedomhouse.org/blog/hungary-jobbik-and-%E2%80%98enemy-within%E2%80%99.
Jobbik received 14.7 percent of the votes in the 2014 European Parliament elections, giving it three seats.“Hungary’s right-wing dominates EU polls,” EUbusiness, May 25, 2014, http://www.eubusiness.com/news-eu/vote-hungary.w8q. In April 2014, Jobbik received 1 million votes (20.54 percent, an increase of 3.8 percent from the previous election) in the Hungarian parliamentary elections, making it Hungary’s third largest party in the National Assembly.Cas Mudde, “The 2014 Hungarian parliamentary elections, or how to craft a constitutional majority,” Washington Post, April 14, 2014, https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/monkey-cage/wp/2014/04/14/the-2014-hungarian-parliamentary-elections-or-how-to-craft-a-constitutional-majority/. Jobbik began moderating its image shortly before these electoral victories. In 2013, Jobbik leader Gábor Vona announced that his party would begin moving toward the political center. In the spring of 2016, Vona removed several of his party’s more radical members.“The Far-Right Hungarian Party Jobbik Is Moderating. Is That a Good Thing?,” Freedom House, October 4, 2016, https://freedomhouse.org/blog/far-right-hungarian-party-jobbik-moderating-good-thing. While many extremists continue to hold positions of power within the organization, Jobbik’s most radical supporters have balked at the party’s new platforms.“The Far-Right Hungarian Party Jobbik Is Moderating. Is That a Good Thing?,” Freedom House, October 4, 2016, https://freedomhouse.org/blog/far-right-hungarian-party-jobbik-moderating-good-thing. In a sign of weakening support, Jobbik received only 2 percent of votes during 2016 by-elections.“The Far-Right Hungarian Party Jobbik Is Moderating. Is That a Good Thing?,” Freedom House, October 4, 2016, https://freedomhouse.org/blog/far-right-hungarian-party-jobbik-moderating-good-thing. 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."Tájékoztató adatok a választáson megjelentek számáról és arányáról," National Election Office, April 8, 2018, http://valasztas.hu/dyn/pv18/szavossz/hu/napind.html.
According to Jobbik’s website, the organization’s 2018 foreign policy platform is pro-European Union but opposes NATO’s expansion in Eastern Europe. Jobbik believes that Hungarian diaspora communities face discrimination in their host countries. The party calls for Hungarian communities in neighboring states to receive territorial autonomy if they form a local majority. Jobbik further believes all other Hungarian diaspora communities should receive “cultural autonomy,” which Jobbik believes would allow them to fully express their cultural heritage without persecution.“POLICIES,” Jobbik, accessed February 27, 2018, https://jobbik.com/policies. Domestically, Jobbik’s 2018 platform called for stricter policing of “the Gypsy community,” including by “volunteer organizations,” ending all development funds directed at Romani communities, and ending ethnic-based affirmative action.“POLICIES,” Jobbik, accessed February 27, 2018, https://jobbik.com/policies.
Jobbik describes itself as a “principled, conservative and radically patriotic Christian party” whose “fundamental purpose” is the protection of “Hungarian values and interests.”“Jobbik - The Movement for a Better Hungary,” Facebook, accessed September 11, 2014, https://www.facebook.com/JobbikEnglish?sk=info. Its ideology is neo-fascist, combining 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.Hungarian historian Laszló Karsai was brought before the court because he had called Jobbik a neo-Nazi party. But a Hungarian appeals court dismissed the charge, justifying Karsai’s statement as an exercise of freedom of speech. See “Gerichtsurteil in Ungarn: Jobbik darf als Neonazipartei bezeichnet werden,” Spiegel Online, January 28, 2014, http://www.spiegel.de/politik/ausland/urteil-in-ungarn-jobbik-darf-als-neonazi-partei-bezeichnet-werden-a-945998.html.
The party also advocates a militant revanchism and 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. The treaty determined the borders of present-day Hungary, granting the new country only 36 percent of the kingdom’s pre-war population. Jobbik's Greater Hungarian irredentist claims are also reflected in pleas for cross-border ethnic self-determination. For example, the party demands “territorial autonomy“ for parts of Romania with large Hungarian populations, and desires to make Transcarpathian Ukraine an independent Hungarian district. Since a quarter of ethnic Hungarians live outside the country, Jobbik dedicates itself to supporting the cause of significant Hungarian minority populations abroad. In effect, Jobbik stirs up ethnic hatred in neighboring countries. In March 2014, in response to a Hungarian nationalist demonstration in the Romanian town of Târgu Mureș/Marosvásárhely, Romanian President Traian Băsescu publicly asked for an entry ban on Jobbik members to Romania.Concurrently, Moldova’s government accuses Romania of destabilizing the country. See “Băsescu spielt die Nationalismus-Karte,” EuroTopics.net, March 13, 2014, http://mobile.eurotopics.net/m-de/ps/top/detail/ARTICLE139989; Alla Skvartova, Centrum für angewandte Politikforschung an der LMU München, Country Report: Moldova, accessed August 14, 2014, 11-13, http://www.cap.uni-muenchen.de/download/2003/2003_Skvartova.pdf.
Jobbik adores Hungarian fascist and Nazi collaborator Miklós Horty. In 2011, Jobbik stated on its website’s homepage:
“Just after the tragedy of Trianon Hungary succeeded in a very fast consolidation. 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. This had the worst consequences to the mindset of the Hungarian People.” “Eine Tragödie für Europa als Ganzes,” Zurzeit.at, May 16, 2011, http://archive.today/RbEHD#selection-425.0-425.37.
While Hungary’s ruling party, the conservative Fidesz–Hungarian Civic Union, shares Jobbik’s willingness to defend Horthy, Jobbik’s blatant use of the Nazi “Arrow Cross” symbolizes Jobbik’s pride in Hungary’s Nazi past. 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.”See “Ungarn schützen, das ist unser Ziel: Bededikt Frings für die DS im Gespräch mit Gábor Vona, dem Chef der Ungarischen Garde,” in Deutsche Stimme (May 2008): 9.
According to Jobbik, besides the purported Jewish threat, the Hungarian people’s largest problem is the “Gypsies” because of “their extremely disproportionate crime rate and indolence.”See “Ungarn schützen, das ist unser Ziel: Bededikt Frings für die DS im Gespräch mit Gábor Vona, dem Chef der Ungarischen Garde,” in Deutsche Stimme (May 2008): 9. And due to the primacy of anti-Semitism in Jobbik’s ideology, the Jews are also behind purported Hungarian conflicts with the Romani: “A crumbling of a civil war–inflicted country is the easiest prey for the rich Jews. And besides, you can easily adopt emergency legislation in a war situation. This is the reason for the expected civil war between Hungarian and Romani people, to which the Jews incite in the background, their hands rubbing.”Gregor Mayer and Bernhard Odehnal, Aufmarsch: Die rechte Gefahr aus Osteuropa (St. Pölten/Salzburg: Residenz, 2012), 69. Scholars have warned that Jobbik’s violent anti-“Gypsy” rhetoric “constitutes a ticking time bomb in relations between the Roma and non-Roma in Hungary.”András Bíró Nagy, Tamás Boros, and Zoltán Vasali, “More Radical than the Radicals: The Jobbik Party in International Comparison,” in Right-Wing Extremism In Europe, ed. Ralf Melzer and Sebastian Serafin (Berlin: Friedrich Ebert Stiftung, 2013), 234, http://library.fes.de/pdf-files/dialog/10031.pdf.
Following Jobbik’s success in the European Parliament election of 2014, the party began receiving funds from official EU sources.“Hungary’s right-wing dominates EU polls,” EUbusiness, May 25, 2014, http://www.eubusiness.com/news-eu/vote-hungary.w8q. The party also receives private donations. Some reports claim that Jobbik is also financed by the Russian and Iranian regimes.“Hungary’s Far-Right Backed by ‘Rolling Moscow Roubles,’” Herald (Scotland), June 13, 2010, http://www.heraldscotland.com/news/world-news/hungary-s-far-right-backed-by-rolling-moscow-roubles-1.1034539.
- August 2013: Three neo-Nazis are sentenced to life imprisonment and another to 13 years in prison for the murder of six Roma in 2008 and 2009. Two of them were members of Jobbik’s Hungarian Guard who sought to provoke Romani people into violent reactions.Anton Maegerle, “Braunes Killerkommando,” Blick nach Rechts, August 7, 2013, http://www.bnr.de/artikel/hintergrund/braunes-killerkommando.
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Ahead of Hungary’s 2010 parliamentary elections, Jobbik party leader Gábor Vona asked then-Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad to send members of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) as election observers to Hungary. Jobbik-dominated east Hungarian city Tiszavasvári entered into a sister-city arrangement with the Iranian city Ardabil. Finally, Jobbik MP Márton Gyöngyösi has taken a number of steps to establish what he calls a “strategic partnership” with Iran, such as chairing the Parliamentary Committee for Hungarian-Iranian Friendship.” According to Gyöngyösi, Iran is “a very peaceful country that has never started a war, in contrast to Israel, which has declared war for any reasons at any neighboring state.”Antje Lehmann, “Vorbild Iran: Rechtsextreme in Ungarn suchen Heil im Nahen Osten,” Pester Lloyd, February 7, 2012, http://www.pesterlloyd.net/2012_06/06gyongyosi/06gyongyosi.html).