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Tue Aug 14, 2012, 07:24 PM

Anti-Semitic Hungarian Politician Discovers He is Jewish

BUDAPEST, Hungary (AP) As a rising star in Hungary's far-right Jobbik Party, Csanad Szegedi was notorious for his incendiary comments on Jews: He accused them of "buying up" the country, railed about the "Jewishness" of the political elite and claimed Jews were desecrating national symbols.

Then came a revelation that knocked him off his perch as ultra-nationalist standard-bearer: Szegedi himself is a Jew.

Following weeks of Internet rumors, Szegedi acknowledged in June that his grandparents on his mother's side were Jews making him one too under Jewish law, even though he doesn't practice the faith. His grandmother was an Auschwitz survivor and his grandfather a veteran of forced labor camps.

Since then, the 30-year-old has become a pariah in Jobbik and his political career is on the brink of collapse. He declined to be interviewed for this story.

Complete article at: http://www.chron.com/news/article/Hungary-far-right-leader-discovers-Jewish-roots-3787234.php

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I think I remember reading a similar story about a member of the KKK or American Nazi Party. I wonder how many more anti-semites out there would be surprised to find they are actually Jewish.

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Reply Anti-Semitic Hungarian Politician Discovers He is Jewish (Original post)
MrBig Aug 2012 OP
Mosby Aug 2012 #1
MrBig Aug 2012 #2
Behind the Aegis Aug 2012 #4
Mosby Aug 2012 #7
Behind the Aegis Aug 2012 #3
MrBig Aug 2012 #5
Mosby Aug 2012 #8
Bad Thoughts Aug 2012 #9
meti57b Aug 2012 #6

Response to MrBig (Original post)

Wed Aug 15, 2012, 01:27 PM

1. This kind of story bothers me

I don't consider this guy Jewish just because his grandparents were. For me it cheapens the meaning of Judaism if we simply base it on blood relations, there needs to be some sort of commitment and a basic understanding of the religious tradition.

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Response to Mosby (Reply #1)

Wed Aug 15, 2012, 03:58 PM

2. I generally agree

I have difficulty accepting people as Jewish who don't have any association with the religion nor any desire to be a part of it other than in name only.

But what I've found interesting is when I went to Israel, I noticed many people there observe the Sabbath, keep Kosher, etc. and they consider themselves Jewish. Yet they are self-described athiests as well.

It goes to the heart of the religion/culture/ethnicity debate that's occurred numerous times.

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Response to MrBig (Reply #2)

Wed Aug 15, 2012, 04:06 PM

4. I can see your point.

I disagree slightly. The only time I have an issue with it is when it is used to justify or minimize anti-Semitism or is used as a "legitimate marker" to be anti-Israel. If history had been different, then it would be Jews are ones who practice the religion of Judaism, and Hebrews (or Israelites) would be the "ethnic" designation. As it is now, there is much confusion and often, IMO, is used for nefarious purposes, as I described in my second sentence.

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Response to MrBig (Reply #2)

Wed Aug 15, 2012, 05:15 PM

7. Some Jewish scholars think that athiesm and Judaism are compatable

M. Kaplan for example. In Israel Judaism is blended a little with nationalism so the secularism is atypical.

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Response to Mosby (Reply #1)

Wed Aug 15, 2012, 04:02 PM

3. I see yours and Mr. Big's points, but....

I believe that being Jewish can be blood originated. What I don't like is someone claiming to be a Jew, when their only tie is blood. I am 1/16th Cherokee. That's fact. However, I just recently discovered this and am in no way an expert or live my life as a Cherokee. I find that many claim Jewish heritage for other reasons, usually anti-Semitic or anti-Israel, or both. THAT I really do not like.

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Response to Behind the Aegis (Reply #3)

Wed Aug 15, 2012, 04:29 PM

5. Very well stated

The more I think about it, I may agree with your assessment more than my own.

I think the heart of my point comes from some issues some friends of mine have had with the Jewish blood dilemma, or rather, the inverse of it. Namely, I have one friend whose father is Jewish and whose mother is not. She was raised in a Jewish household, attended Hebrew school, etc. Yet she had conversations with some Rabbis who did not consider her Jewish. I understand why, from their perspective, but I strongly disagree with it.

I think those experiences have given me some skepticism about blood defining ones Jewishness, and yet, your argument makes a lot of sense to me.

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Response to Behind the Aegis (Reply #3)

Wed Aug 15, 2012, 05:53 PM

8. I pretty much agree with what you said

The fact is that Judaism has a matrilineal descent paradigm that is part of the law and I am not disputing that. But it's important to remember that anyone can convert to Judaism and in fact a child can be converted via a simple prayer. Like you I have noticed a lot of anti-Israel people claiming to be members of the tribe as a way to avoid accusations of anti-semitism and anti-Israel bias.

I usually don't talk about myself on DU but I think I would like to share with everyone that I am adopted. I don't have any "Jewish blood" in me and neither do my siblings. I think I might be part Welsh or Irish but I don't know because I don't have any rights as an adopted person regarding my genetic history etc. I have no idea who my birth parents are.

Being adopted has given me a deeper, more nuanced view of family and religion, honestly I don't know if I was "converted" as a child, it's not something I ever asked my parents about. I did grow up in a very observant home though and never felt like I was not really part of my family or the Jewish community. For me religion has always been about belief and practice, not who your parents are or were.

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Response to Mosby (Reply #1)

Sun Aug 26, 2012, 07:53 PM

9. I think this case demostrates the weakness of matrilineality

As much as the law gives the mother the ability to pass on Jewish identity, it doesn't give her the authority to shape the religious practices of the family should they not agree with the father. Indeed, there's a sad undercurrent to this story that isn't being addressed: this man hates something about his mother, perhaps picking up on aspects of an abusive relationship that she had with her husband.

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Response to MrBig (Original post)

Wed Aug 15, 2012, 04:48 PM

6. I think we are a "tribe", with the usual definitions of the word.

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