From Palestine Chronicle
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban
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Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban visited Israel on 19 July where he met Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and other officials. Orban's visit would have not required much pause except that the Hungarian leader has been repeatedly branded for his often racist, anti-Semitic remarks.
So why is Orban wining and dining with the leaders of the so-called "Jewish State"?
The answer does not pertain only to Orban and Hungary, but to Israel's attitude towards the rapidly growing far-right movements in Europe as a whole. Netanyahu and Zionist leaders everywhere are not just aware of this massive political shift in European politics but are, in fact, working diligently to utilize it in Israel's favor.
On his visit to Israel, Orban asserted that Hungarian Jewish citizens should feel safe in his country, an odd statement considering that it was Orban and his party that deprived many Jews and other members of minority groups of any feeling of safety.
Still, Netanyahu has welcomed Orban as a "true friend of Israel" and Orban called on his European counterparts to show more support for Israel. Mission accomplished.
Netanyahu visited Budapest in July 2017 but that supposedly historic visit did nothing to change Hungary's official discourse, which is dotted with racism and anti-Semitism. In fact, in March 2018, Orban derided Jews, focusing his criticism mostly on Jewish financiers such as George Soros.
At an election rally campaign, Orban said, "We are fighting an enemy that is different from us. Not open but hiding; not straightforward but crafty; not honest but base; not national but international; does not believe in working but speculates with money; does not have its own homeland but feels it owns the whole world."
It is well-known that Israel and Zionist leaders are quite selective in manipulating the definition of "anti-Semitism" to serve their political agendas, but Israel's attitude towards the racist far-right movements in Europe takes this truth to a whole new level.
Indeed, the "special relationship" between Netanyahu and Orban is only the tip of the iceberg. For years, Netanyahu's Israel has been "flirting" with radical right movements in Europe.
The unmistakable Israeli strategy, of course, has its own logic. Israeli leaders feel that Europe's move to the far-right is irrevocable and are keen to benefit from the anti-Muslim sentiment that accompanies this shift as much as possible.
Moreover, the EU's resolve to label illegal settlement products and refusal to heed calls for moving their embassies from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem is pushing Netanyahu to explore these new routes.
During his previous visit to Hungary Netanyahu met with leaders from the so-called Visegrad-4, which includes Hungary, Poland, the Czech Republic and Slovakia.
On that visit, Netanyahu hoped to find new channels of support within the EU, through exerting pressure by using his new allies in these countries. In an audio recording obtained by Reuters, Netanyahu chastised Europe for daring to criticize Israel's dismal human rights record, illegal settlement policies, and military occupation.
"I think Europe has to decide whether it wants to live and thrive or it wants to shrivel and disappear," he said.