“Trollslayer of the Month” is a feature where we highlight those who react in a fast and effective manner to anti-religious hate.
Following the appearance of antisemitic posters across the city of Budapest, the newly elected mayor Gergely Karácsony requested their immediate removal, giving an encouraging sign of hope in a country where Fidesz party’s xenophobic narratives seem to prevail.
The posters, which popped up on the streets of Budapest between the 23rd and the 24th of November, targeted Gábor Miklósi and András Dezső, two journalists from the independent media outlet Index, who are portrayed in the poster with an Israeli flag in the background and beneath them the words: “We, too, came from the other side of the border.”
These posters, which were anonymous, came after a week of smears made against the two journalists.
Gábor Miklósi had published an opinion piece stating that, contrary to everyone else, he did not stand when “Without you” (an old pop song that is currently popular among the Hungarian right and the far-right), was played at a national stadium opening on 15th November. Because of this, Miklósi was accused by far-right parties and pro-government media of hating Hungarians. Interviewed by the public broadcasting network M1 Hirado, the far-right party Mi Hazánk stated that they will file criminal charges for expressing hate speech against Hungarians.
András Dezső had posted a video on his private Twitter account where, mocking the same song “Without you” mentioned by Miklósi in his opinion piece, where he edited footage of asylum seekers with video recordings from a concert where the song was being played. András Dezső is one of the most prominent investigative journalists in the country. In the past, he has been a target of Hungarian authorities, who filed criminal charges in retaliation for his reporting.
Echoing age-old antisemitic tropes of Jewish disloyalty, the two journalists are accused of not belonging to Hungary and not being patriotic.
The progressive mayor of Budapest promptly reacted to the antisemitic posters and had them removed. He wrote on Facebook: “Our Budapest simply does not accept this!!! We won’t give way to hate! I ask you to write here in a comment or message where you saw it and tomorrow I will remove all such horrors!”
The election of Gergely Karácsony as the mayor of Budapest in October represented the first main electoral defeat for Victor Orbán’s Fidesz party in a decade. When elected, Karácsony vowed to prove to the rest of Europe that there is more to Hungary than the politics of its far-right prime minister.