Ladies and Gentlemen, my Friends!
The March of the Living, the painful remembrance of the victims of the Holocaust, comes alarmingly timely this year. Many of us thought that whilst mankind had not learned its lesson from the great tragedies of history preceding the 20th century, the lesson must have been learned from the mass murders and genocide of the Nazis and the collaborating Hungarian Arrow Cross Movement. We were wrong. Fanatic members of the Jobbik Party (Hungarian far-right party that won 17% at this year’s political elections) – which has evoked the ill traditions and evil atmosphere of Nazi Hungary – will now be representing this accursed and nation-threatening legacy within the walls of our Houses of Parliament. The blood of nearly six-hundred thousand Hungarian Jews, thousands of Roma people and victims of other ethnic groups cry out against this legacy to our generation and – according to my personal faith –, to God.
For if a fanatic individual is given uncontrollable power, and is demonized by hatred, he will oppress his fellow men. He will tread upon the rights and the dignities of his fellow men, and deprive them of their most precious posession – their life, in the most humiliating way possible. History testifies to this truth. History also tells us that following such times of war and anguish, humanity is unable to compensate the victims. A destroyed life, a stolen future can never be replaced.
All we are left with is remembering. It is our duty to remember every single individual who became a tragical victim of the ethnic and religious cleansing activity of political madmen. Memory is unable to resurrect and once more call into being the victims – young and old –, who were thrust into the depths of destruction under the false ideologies of Nazism and the Hungarian Arrow Cross Movement, with a evilness surpassing that of beasts. But survivors must know that they are in debt to the martirs. It is our duty – engraved in stone – to pay tribute to their memory, to the historical reality of their tragedy. We are moral human beings only if we view history not through the self-justifying lens of prevailing political regimes, but from the perspective of the true tragedy of the victims, the defenceless, the humiliated.
This is why we are here. To uphold the memory – from generation to generation – of concentration camps and death camps, of mass graves and death-processions in our history. We declare that the perpetrators of these, the Nazis, the Hungarian Arrow Cross Movement, the Anti-semites and their successors have forever earned the condemnation of the civilized world, and the judgement of God.
Every year, the March of the Living provides an orientation-point for Hungarian society. It shows the difference between the right and the wrong path for humanity. There may exist ethnical, religious, political, economic, and lifestyle differences, conflicts of interests and even heated disagreements between us. But in dealing with one another, hatred and violence can never, in no way play a part. To uphold peace in our society, conflicts must be handled through dialogue based on mutual respect, or through reaching a modus vivendi formed through a series of compromises.
Ladies and Gentlemen! There is an area, however, where we must be willing to confront. It should be said that it is no longer sufficient to condemn the atrocities and the murderers of the Nazis and Hungarian Arrow Cross Movement, to remember the victims. Jobbik has succeeded to enter the Hungarian parliament, achieving a 17% popularity, through an explicitly Anti-Semite and Anti-Roma rhetoric. To a parliament, which still bears the stains of passing Racist and Anti-Jewish bills before the 2nd World War. This movement – which exploits the weaknesses of democracy but denies its essence and values – poises a deep moral and spiritual challenge to every decent Hungarian. Escaping from this moral responsibility and being indifferent is extremely harmful and shameful at this time.
Our remembering will only be justified if we take up this noble cause day-to-day, in our private lives. We must make it clear in our immediate and greater surroundings: we will not tolerate the hate-speech of agressive nationalists who have chosen Nazi role models, who are poisoning the heart and soul of our nation. The message of Jesus of Nazareth to the hypocritical Pharisees who were repairing the tombs of the prophets is clear. We will only escape the trap of hypocrisy if on one side we will condemn the mass killings and the murderers of history, but at the same time we prevent the potential murderers of our day from being successful, and we silence the voice of those igniting others to hatred.
For murder starts by hatred. Hatred of a person, hatred of an ethnic group. The Apostle John declared that whoever hates his brother is a murderer. Nazism and the Hungarian Arrow Cross Movement teach us that we must take seriously the organizations which desire to achieve political power by basing their rhetoric on hatred against an ethnic or a religious group. The significance of this phenomena must not be downplayed and disregarded, as a Biblical principle warns us: „…Know ye not that a little leaven leavens the whole lump?” In other words, Hungary will only be able to gain momentum and steer out of the economic depression if it does away with the leaven of Anti-Semitism, racism and nationalism. The responsibility lies with us, Hungarians, to do this. Our conscience and the whole civilized world demand this. No one else will take our place.
This task is not an easy one. Jobbik and its Gárda (paramilitary organization, the Hungarian Guard) can generate deep conflicts between Hungarian individuals. It can poison the relationship between Hungary and its neighbours, and it can take Hungary into an international political and economic isolation, the negative consequences of which will far outweigh our current troubles. The vaccine needed for overcoming the sickness of Hungarian society must be delivered by those of us who consistently and clearly stand in opposition to the fascist endeavors. We desire to live in a Hungary where every law-abiding citizen is respected – regardless of their religious or ethnical background.
We greatly value the one-thousand year old effort of Hungarian Jewry towards the subsistance, renewal and development of our nation. Hungarian Jews have blessed our nation and the whole world with special and significant personalities, who we all proudly remember.
Ladies and Gentlemen! I would also like to draw your attention to a new form of Anti-Semitism, which is on the rise: Anti-Israelism. The existance of Israel has an enormous significance. We believe it is important for Israel to remain a strong state, able to guarantee the security of Jews, living within its borders and in the diaspora – who have been subject to an almonst continual existential threath throughout history –, a state that is able to protect Jews from the destructive wishes of their enemies. As Christians, we believe it is our duty to protect and stand up for the values of our Judeo-Christian civilization. Israel is playing an increasingly fundamental role in this effort. The Jewish State is protecting and professionally restoring the actual sites of Biblical events, guaranteeing freedom to all peoples to explore and study the historical accuracy of the Judeo-Christian divine revelation in its original locations.
Hungarian Anti-Semites have become more and more hostile towards the political, cultural and economic cooperation between Hungary and Israel. They continually voice stereotypical accusations originating from Islamist groups among whom the bestselling literature is Adolf Hitler’s Mein Kampf and the Protocols of the Elders of Zion. The nuclear ambitions of Iran pose a grave threat to the whole world, but especially to Israel. Iran’s president, Mahmoud Ahmedinejad is the greatest enemy of Israel today. Jobbik and its Gárda are organizations that are both Anti-Semite and Anit-Israeli. One of their main international allies is the president of Iran and his regime, which ruthlessly oppresses even its own opposition. The politicians who turn a blind eye towards the danger Iran and its support of the Hungarian far-right groups poses are making a huge mistake. They have a similar responsibility as the leading European politicians in the 1930s who were unwilling to face the dangers Hitler and Nazism.
We, Hungarians, desire to live at peace with Israel, as with many Arabic countries as well. However, despite our dependance on oil, we must not disregard the fact that while the leaders of the world are talking about peace and demilitarization, Iran comes closer and closer to developing a nuclear weapon. The religious and political leaders of the Persian State uniformly express that Israel must be erased from the map. One of the main motivations I had for participating this year at the March of the Living is because of this. If we are unable to change history, then let us do everything we can not to repeat it. Let us do everything in our power that our fellow countrymen, Jews, the Roma people and other minorities will be able to live without fear, freely and happily in our country. And may Israel not become yet another death camp and mass grave for the Jewish People, but in accordance with the ancient and continual promise, a „land flowing with milk and honey”, a free and a safe homeland.