, 13 tweets, 3 min read Read on Twitter
This is an interesting article about Jewish-American "political consultants" who are allegedly behind Orbán's anti-Soros campaign. But it totally oversells their importance, similarly to media coverage of Bannon. Some quick thoughts #thread buzzfeednews.com/article/hnsgra…
1. I lived in Hungary in 1998-9, during first Orbán government, and (antisemitic) opposition to Soros was already widespread within Hungarian far right (including MIÉP).
2. While Fidesz was not radical right yet, it had a major problem with antisemitism within its party as well as an (enduring) problem with historical revisionism. Moreover, antisemitism is widespread within Hungary, including among better educated.
3. Orbán did not win 2010 election because of US political consultants or anti-Soros campaign (which I don't even recall being prominent at that time). He won because Socialists imploded over corruption scandals and political infighting.
4. Similarly, Orbán got re-elected in 2014 because of weak opposition, increasing control of media, and the most disproportional electoral system within the EU. Again, in 2014 nativism, including thinly veiled antisemitic anti-Soros campaigns, were not yet so central.
5. Anti-Soros campaign only exploded after so-called "refugee crisis", which Orbán used to become leading radical right voice in Europe and, at same time, marginalize Jobbik. In fact, it started only after this change, when numbers were already going down.
6. Nativist and anti-Soros campaigns were central to Orbán's 2018 campaign, but some studies show they weren't that important to his victory. Obviously, much more important were, yet again, divided opposition, unlevel playing field, highly disproportionate electoral system.
7. So, where does that leave us with Birnbaum and Finkelstein? At best, they played a marginal role in Orbán's ascent. Seriously, you don't need outsiders to turn Hungarian right-wingers to nationalism and thinly veiled antisemitism.
8. And much of Orbán's opposition to Soros has to do with Soros' critique of Orbán's authoritarian style as well as the CEU and OSF as symbols of independence and critical liberalism at the heart of Budapest and Hungary.
9. Anglo-Saxon media too often push a "Great Man" theory of world affairs, undoubtedly because it is easier and (thus) more powerful. But it has two very problematic aspects, which should lead to serious re-thinking:
10. First, it boosts the reputation and visibility of dubious political players, such as Birnbaum and Bannon, which will bring them more power and work.
11. Second, there is a very US-centric dimension to it, which has strong ethnocentric overtones, suggesting that only developed US operatives can bring European radical parties and politicians to power.
12. In the end, I very much appreciate the investigative journalism, and media scrutiny of Europe's far right actors, but would appreciate it even more if it would be less sensationalist and more aware of potential damage its framing (could) do to liberal democracy. #TheEnd
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