- - Monday, July 13, 2015

Hungary’s Viktor Orban antagonizes European Union with border fence, Russia embrace” (Web, July 2) unfortunately presents a narrative of Hungary that is as compact and simple as it is false. Everyone has a right to his or her own opinion, however misinformed, but the article contains a very grave statement from Princeton Prof. Kim Lane Scheppele, who is quoted as saying, “Orban is always in danger of losing support to the Nazi Party, so he is out-Nazi-ing the Nazis.”

The Washington Times has a deeply respected history of high journalistic standards and a wide international reputation for it. The word Nazi should not be thrown around lightly, nor should it be used to label an opponent — even in the fiercest political infighting.

For Hungarians, “Nazi” evokes the horrors of a unique and unprecedented genocide, an unacceptable major historic crime against humanity on a horrendous scale. To this day one can speak to Hungarians who lost loved ones in labor camps or saw family members dragged away. It is our firm conviction that no one should take this word lightly or allow such an accusation to appear casually. Doing so inadvertently makes the word morally relative, and this should not be acceptable in any media platform — least of all in a serious and reputable one like yours.

The government I am representing has always been open to criticism and welcoming to dialogue. Anyone may agree or disagree with the choices this government makes; indeed, we have our challenges. But the fact remains that the Orban government is committed to fighting right-wing extremism out of a strong sense of moral obligation, and it has declared zero tolerance for anti-Semitism, let alone Nazism. Unfortunately this may well be against the will of those, such as Prof. Scheppele, who seem to want to use such labels as a political tool.


Ambassador of Hungary to the United States


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