“A few weeks ago, the International Court of Justice in Hague contrasted the Israeli right to life with the Palestinian right to freedom of movement, ruling that the latter had precedence. This has several important consequences, the foremost being that owing to this decision, the United Nations has once and for all renounced the moral right to guide the world’s democracies. The time has come for the world’s democracies to bid farewell to the United Nations”, writes László Seres in this month’s editorial.
According to Jorge Diener, director of the Budapest office of the American Jewish Joint Distribution committel, only five percent of the budget of the social fund supporting needy Hungarian Jews (mostly Holocaust survivors) comes from Hungarian Jewish supporters. “One of the main problems of institutionalized Hungarian Jewry is that it lacks a co-ordinating body representing the entire community”, said Mr. Diener.
This month’s media review focuses on the ruling of International Court in The Hague and of the UN. according to which Israel must dismantle the security fence erected for preventing terrorist attacks. Népszabadság, the leading left-wing daily called the ruling “Arafat’s moral victory”, but did show some understanding for Israel’s security needs. An article in Magyar Nemzet, a daily hovering on the line between the mainstream right and the extreme right, is replete with aggressive claims, such as “Israel is essentially maintained from the US taxpayers’ money” and “Sharon’s cabinet disregards international law and the most basic rule of human co-existence, the acceptance of differences”, and the like.
In her article “The good Jew and the bad Israeli”, Silvia Peremiczky analyzes two press debates sparked off by articles criticizing Israel and “Jewish nationalism” written by two leading left-wing intellectuals, Gáspár Miklós Tamás and István Eörsi. Even though neither can be regarded as a militant anti-Zionist and their article was merely a reaction to writings which they regarded as highly biased, their argumentation was essentially constructed from left-wing anti-Zionist cliches.
One of our editors, Attila Novák has contributed a polemic article in response to Krisztián Ungváry, a young historian. In one of his writings, Ungváry condemned the Jewish leaders and the Jewish establishment legitimizing the Communist regime after 1945 with their anti-Fascist rhetoric, calling them the “kapos of remembrance”. In Novák’s view, “Ungváry would be fully justified in calling attention to the reception and the need for facing Communist crimes, a longtime debt of Hungarian historiography. However, it would appear that in this writing, he wants to diminish the importance of the Holocaust with the Communists’ crimes and to challenge the victim-nature of the Holocaust victims by noting that their ranks included individuals who played an active role during the decades of Socialism.”
In our section on Israel, Zsuzsa Shiri offers an overview of the Israeli army, in relation to issues such as women’s and homosexuals’ rights, conscientious objection in the occupied territories, the public debate over the army’s role and the statements made by soldiers concerning political issues – which in turn indicate that Israel’s legendary army is not a monolithic entity, but an institution sensitive to changes.
We publish in this issue the poems of Géza Röhrig and an interview with György Dalos Hungarian-Jewish writer who lives mostly in Germany.