Shimon Peres and the true Hungarians

Utolsó frissítés:



The Hungarian press spent days discussing Shimon Peres's clumsy remark about "buying up Hungary". Anti-semitic fundamentalists demonstrated in front of the Israeli embassy, while Lakitelek veterans wrote Peres a letter. Israel's new ambassador appeared on television to offer explanations. It was just an excuse for an anti-semitic party.

Shimon Peres, the Israeli president, recently told a chamber of commerce that: "Nowadays you can build empires without establishing colonies and sending in the army. Israeli businessmen are investing all around the world, enjoying unparalleled success, earning economic independence. We're buying up Manhattan, Poland, Hungary and Romania."

It caused a stir in certain circles. More than it would have if the Austrian, Canadian or Finnish heads of states had said something similar. There's no doubt that the old man of Middle Eastern politics could have chosen his words more carefully. Politicians should take care to ensure their words don't boomerang back at them. What the aftermath of his speech proves is that people who bear serious prejudices against the Jews will always find their outlet.

Sooner or later, you'll find somebody whose supposed statements prove that Israel aims to rule the world. A letter by seven founders of the Hungarian Democratic Forum, including Istvan Csurka, Lajos Fur, Sandor Lezsak, Sandor Csoori and Gyula Fekete, is a good example. Of course, officially, the letter's authors just ask faux naïve questions. They ask whether "buying up" may extend beyond the economic sphere into "culture, the media, public education, sciences and healthcare?" Could it include the country's institutional and administrative structure, politics, the parties, parliament and local authorities? "Is this just business? Establishing a military base? A popular movement, immigration" It's clear that there are assertions somehow embedded in these questions.

Shimon Peres, like any serving politician, was boasting of the Israeli economy's strong performance, and he was using those vast investment flows as evidence. He probably got a bit carried away. But to conclude that Israel is planning to buy up our politic system is a bit more than raising legitimate questions. To conclude anything more from his remarks is just dishonest.

The other remark that had the retired politicians flapping was Peres's claim that neither colonies nor an army were needed to build an empire. This means, of course, that nowadays there is no need to invade or subdue a country to become rich. It's enough to help the businessmen. Of course, this kind of 'conquest' benefits both the conqueror and the conquered, bringing innovation, new jobs, tax revenues. If Jewish (or foreign) capital were so terrible, then why are the poorest parts of the world (sub-Saharan Africa, Burma, North Korea) those that the 'colonialists' avoid?

Next year, Israel will celebrate its 60th anniversary as a stable, multi-party democracy. So why does the Right in this country still worry about the "Jewish danger", while paying almost no attention to the economic conquests of a neo-Bolshevik Russia? It's for the reader to decide.

László Tamás Papp