July 13th, 2011

Gov’t, speaker say planning strict sanctions on MPs following debate over ethnic slurs in Parliament

Parliamentary Speaker László Kövér said he plan to introduce strict sanctions against lawmakers who use expressions during sessions which harm the dignity of Jewish or Roma people. He made the decision after a lengthy argument between Fidesz and Jobbik following a comment by Jobbik MP Előd Novák’s during the final debate of the bill on churches in Parliament on July 11.

Novák caused a stir by exclaiming “what else could be expected” from National Development State Secretary János Fónagy than to propose acknowledging the Sim Shalom Progressive Jewish Congregation as an established church.

Fidesz caucus leader János Lázár asked Novák to apologize, which he declined to do.

Fónagy then said he did not expect Novák to apologize, as the Jobbik politician only said the same thing his “spiritual role models” had said. The state secretary added the reason there were few people in the Dohány utca synagogue was that there were 600,000 people missing from the country, as Novák’s “spiritual role models created this situation there.” Fónagy asked the Jobbik MP not to blame the Jewish community for being small.

Jobbik caucus leader Gábor Vona said Novák’s comments were “excusable” in the heat of the debate, as was Fónagy’s comment when he called the 850,000 voters of Jobbik “descendants of murderers.” He then said that Lázár’s request for an apology was “Pharisee behavior.”

Lázár responded by saying the government would create legal means to “once and for all” stop Jobbik MPs using the words “Jewish” and “Gypsy” in a derogatory sense in Parliament.

Reacting to the news about the planned sanctions, Jobbik spokesman Ádám Mirkóczky said Novák would not apologize, and the party was ready to pay any fines in the future. [nepszava.hu, hirtv.hu, hetivalasz.hu]

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  • Andy

    Jobbik would poll at 0% if politicians weren’t whores to special interests.

  • Szabad Ember

    You might have a point, there

  • djoci

    Well, FIDESZ managed to tolerate Jobbik’s style much longer than it should have done. They even sort of joined to the “hazaáruló” speech of Jobbik, supported its revisionist policies (remember Orbán with the pre-Trianon Hungary bumper sticker on his car), and didn’t have a word against Jobbik’s (successful) attempt at presenting Roma people as a bunch of criminals.

    Is it really necessary to personally attack a FIDESZ politician to make the party do something? If the answer is yes, it’s pretty sad.

  • Elle

    It comes as no surprise that Hungary News offers ghastly mistranslations that manage, at the same time, to grossly misrepresent. Lázar did not say anything about ‘using the words “Jewish” and “Gypsy” in a derogatory sense’. Lázar used the Hungarian expressions ‘zsidózni’ and ‘cigányonzni’, which, admittedly, has no easy English equivalent. Something like this approximates its meaning: ‘jew-ing/gipsy-ing around’. It is used to characterise gratuitous references to Jews/Gipsies.

    In this instance, Novák Elôd (Jobbik) made no insulting references to Jews or Gipsies. He is not even accused by Lázár (Fidesz) of having done so. In the context of the very heated parliamentary debate (it stretched into the small hours of the morning) about the religions that are to be officially recongised as religions, Novák noted that there are now three recognised Jewish religions, yet the huge Dohány utca synagogue is always empty. Fônagy János (Fidesz; like Lázár, Jewish) picked an argument on this ‘empty’ point. Novák responded. Lázar decided that this was ‘zsidózás’ on Novák’s part, and vowed to bring into being parliamentary rules to sanction it. (Just today, MSZP has congratulated Lázár on his stand.)

    It is strange that in the context of this debate, of which recognition of religions was the theme, reference to the number of parliament-recognised Jewish religions is considered ‘zsidózás’ when that reference comes from a Jobbik MP. So what now: the word ‘Jew’ may never ring out in parliament again, unless Jewish MPs use it?

    • If these things are “admittedly” hard to translate, why do you reckon we offered “ghastly mistranslations”? But we’ll be sure to keep “jew-ing/gipsy-ing around” in mind next time. 🙂

      • Elle

        Erik, the mode of dealing with a singular language-specific expression (when you are translating it) is to (i) offer its close-as-you-can-get literal meaning, then (ii) explain its usage. In this case, ‘jew-ing/gipsy-ing around’ does not achieve a sound translation by itself, for it fails to capture the sense that Lázár made. It needs the second step (explanation of its usage): ‘used to characterise gratuitous references to Jews/Gipsies’. So, please keep both (i) and (ii) in mind in future! 🙂

        • Országh Laci et al

          Zsidózik – abuse Jews

          Cigányozik – 1. amuse oneself to the accompaniment of Gypsy music. 2. abuse Gypsies, use abusive language about Gyspies

          • Elle

            You are lying, imposter: ‘zsidózik’ does not appear in Országh at all. And the only entry for ‘cigányozik’ is ‘amuse oneself to the accompaniment of Gypsy music’. I suppose your ‘et al.’ (although you forgot the stop) signifies that you have taken it on yourself to amend Országh?

  • Sophist


    I suggest you buy a new dictionary. The one you are using is a little out of date.

    • Elle

      Actually, I’m quite happy with my 1971 edn. I doubt that the Hungarian language has changed since then. But are you saying that you are ‘Országh Laci et al’, and that you quoted from … which edition?

      If indeed someone has tampered with Országh’s original work and amended it to contain the two definitions you quote, that is unfortunate: It ruins Országh’s intelligent lexicography. Your further point?

      • jimbo

        You doubt that the Hungarian language has changed since then? There are hundreds of new words in Hungarian every year (and about 4000 in English every year). But this ignores the underlying problem: Országh is a mediocre dictionary at best, and one that people in the field tend to avoid.

      • jimbo

        But it should also be noted that “zsidozni” can mean something as subtle as “make veiled references to someone’s imputed Jewish origins” or “converse about the imputed negative influence of the Jews” as well as its harsher meanings. This is why it is so hard to translate.

  • jimbo

    Agree w/Sophist. Országh is a terrible dictionary, and outdated.

    • djoci

      A possible solution: “X.Y. used racial/ethnic/religious slurs against [insert the name of offended/insulted group].”

      • Elle

        OK. But what if XY uses no ‘racial/ethnic/religious slurs’? Say, XY says ‘what else could one expect from him’? Is there then ‘zsidózás’ or cigányozás’, or is there not, given that ‘him’ refers to a Jewish person who is present?

        The background of this exchange is the context to which the leader to this thread refers. The ‘him’ reference is to the Jewish MP who had proposed the inclusion as a religion of a new Jewish religious community. If you understand Hungarian, you could watch the context hear: http://kuruc.info/r/6/81932/ .

        • djoci

          Well, it’s just that the dissing of Fónagy was based on his religion. (I still don’t know if Fónagy is in fact Jewish or not… If he admitted to be one, then he probably is. But if I, as an MP, come up with the idea of including a Muslin church based in Hungary, will I be accused of being a Muslim and thus depicted as an inferior citizen? I guess you see what my problem is here.) I admit I often say “what else could be expected from XY?” but I expect an MP to be more competent at arguing and voicing his/her concerns over an issue.

          If Novák has some problems with the inclusion of that given church, he should explain those problems in a civilised way. You know, arguing why he thinks he’s right and then responding to the answers he gets. But the majority of the MPs (I venture to say more than 2/3 of them) are incapable of logical argumentation and resort to personal insults as a final remedy. And Novák’s remark was the latest (sadly, not the only one) example of this.

          • Szabad Ember

            “But the majority of the MPs (I venture to say more than 2/3 of them) are incapable of logical argumentation and resort to personal insults as a final remedy.”

            Sounds like most of the right-wing commenters on this site!

        • djoci

          * I meant Muslim church, not muslin 🙂

          • becool

            djoci, what you really meant is: Mosque!
            You’re welcome

  • Sophist

    Országh László, Futász Dezső, Kövecses Zoltán (1998) Magyar Angol Nagyszótár, Akadémiai Kiadó, Budapest.

  • lamparoni

    “descendants of murderers” BINGO !!!

  • Prof.Teachem2think

    This is so typical of the so-called liberal-progressive- marxist-fascist left: they take offense at some slight and then repeat ad nauseam the usual slurs about “right-wing murderers.” Since National Socialists are much less adept at murder (and winning wars, for that matter) than International Socialists, I think it would behoove the left to just admit that no one comes close to the millions butchered in the name of “communism” than what they have accomplished since the turn of the last century.

    Besides, everyone who is not a propagandist knows that National Socialists and Fascists are as much a part of the left as any filthy Stalinist ever was.

    • djoci

      Yeah, Hitler was a staunch leftist, as we know.

      Anyway, do you really think just because Communists may have killed more people, the crimes of nazis and their collaborationists should be forgiven and forgotten? Someone should teach you think.

      • becool

        Your brain has been wired not to ever forget about the second world war, the nazis, hitler and especially the holocaust. That’s the result of 40 years of fierce propaganda. The problem here is that the communist attrocities are not just “forgotten” they were never widely known AT ALL!! Which may even be worse than the crimes itself. There is no special memorial for communist victims like my own family who had also suffered and died in gulags in siberia. Why doesn’t anybody gives a damn about that? Why are there hardly any movies of the communist crimes, which took place mainly AFTER WW2. Why must we still be remembered everyday of what the Nazis did, while the communist crimes are far worse in numbers and a much more recent crime? Ow yeah I forgot, God’s special people were not the victim of communisme so why remember a bunch of goys? Why must the suffering of one particular people dominate all suffering that took place in the recent 100 years?

        • djoci

          Why should we forget WW2? Just because other things happened afterwards? I think all genocides should be remembered and duly (and legally) punished, if possible (I’m sure in the Middle Ages there were many similar events, but that happened too long ago).

          “communist crimes are far worse in numbers”

          Well, I think 1 victim is one too many, so the number of victims shouldn’t be a criterion of importance.

          “Why must the suffering of one particular people dominate all suffering that took place in the recent 100 years?”

          In this post of yours now you’ve implied that the suffering of a different group of people is somehow much more important than another similar event during WW2.

          As for the remembrance about Communist crimes, I’m sure there are several groups and organisations for this very purpose that could initiate the making of a monument or something. As for the movies, my guess is that serious filmmakers won’t do any serious movies on this topic until the average “history-conscious” Hungarian every(wo)man thinks about Holocaust and Communist crimes in an either-or way.

  • judas

    Dear Elle,

    Thanks for your clarification on the use of hungarian
    language when it comes to jews and gypies. I remember
    too that around 1900 the codeword for jews was “new financial aristocracy”or similar.(sometimes used today
    without “new”). We all understand who is being referred to)
    Actually,dear elle, your verbal refinements do not blind
    a person of healthy “common sense”,a trait sadly missing
    in a number of your comments.Hungarian logic?

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