Csanád Szegedi in 2009
|Member of the European Parliament|
14 July 2009 – 30 June 2014
September 22, 1982 |
|Political party||Jobbik (2003-2012)|
Katalin Molnár (Meisels)
|Alma mater||Károli Gáspár University of the Reformed Church in Hungary|
Csanád Szegedi (born 22 September 1982) is a Hungarian politician and former Member of the European Parliament. He was a member of the Hungarian radical nationalist Jobbik political party between 2003 and 2012, which has been accused of anti-Semitism. In 2012, Szegedi gained international attention after acknowledging that he had Jewish roots. He was also accused of previous bribery to try to keep that revelation a secret, and subsequently resigned from all Jobbik political posts. Szegedi has since become a religious Jew.
Szegedi was born in Miskolc. His father, Miklós Szegedi, is a famous wood carving sculptor, and his mother, Katalin Molnár (Meisels Jewish descent), is a software engineer. He has a brother, Márton Szegedi, who was Jobbik's mayoral candidate in Miskolc, but left the party in 2012.
He graduated from Károli Gáspár University of the Reformed Church in Hungary. Between 1999 and 2010 he organized trips to Transylvania, a historic region belonging to Hungary until 1920. In 2002 he published a book on old Hungarian personal names. Between 2006 and 2012 he also had a clothing line called Turul, named after the mythical bird of Hungarian legends.
Prior to the revelation of Szegedi's partial Jewish origin, Szegedi was notorious for his incendiary comments about Jews. In June 2012, Szegedi revealed that he had recently learned that his grandparents on his mother's side were Jewish: his maternal grandmother survived the Auschwitz concentration camp, and his maternal grandfather was a veteran of forced labor camps. Under Jewish religious ritual laws this makes Szegedi a Jew. Szegedi was raised Hungarian Reformed and did not initially practice the Jewish religion. Szegedi said he had defined himself as someone with "ancestry of Jewish origin — because I declare myself 100 percent Hungarian." He turned to Rabbi Slomó Köves, of the Lubavitch movement, for help. He adopted the name Dovid, wore a kippah, learnt Hebrew, visited Israel, and had himself circumcised. Szegedi now lives as a practicing Jew, observing the Sabbath and attending synagogue.
In August 2012 he apologized to Rabbi Köves for his anti-semitic remarks, and in 2013 he traveled to Israel where he and his wife visited the Western Wall and the Yad Vashem museum. Recently he has been interested in arts; his paintings are influenced by his newly found religion.
A documentary film is being produced about his journey from anti-semite to Orthodox Jew.
He became a member of Jobbik, the country's biggest far-right political force early in the party's history. In 2006 he became vice-president of the party. In 2007, he was a founding member of the Hungarian Guard, which was banned in 2009, at which time Szegedi joined the Jobbik party. Between 2005 and 2009 he was the leader of the party in Borsod-Abaúj-Zemplén county. Since 2009, he has served in the European Parliament in Brussels.
His political views have often been described as consisting of anti-EU, anti-Roma, and anti-Semitic characteristics by different press outlets. He outlined them in a book, "I Believe in Hungary’s Resurrection". As an active Member of the European Parliament he openly advocated leaving the European Union and establishing a "new Turanian alliance" with Central Asian states as a supporter of Hungarian Turanism. Szegedi paid from the European Parliament budget three men – Előd Novák, Balázs Molnár and Roland Kürk – who according to Tamás Polgár, better known as Tomcat, were members of the editorial board of the kuruc.info, a racist website associated with Jobbik. All three received their salaries as "local assistants" to the member of parliament. Szegedi has also propagated the use of the Old Hungarian script.
Following his profession of Judaism he obtained thousands of copies of his own book, and burned them. He now feels that Jobbik offers only the euphoria of hatred to people who are in despair.
Resignation from all posts in Jobbik
On 28 July 2012, Szegedi released a statement to the press, which was reproduced on his party's website that he had with immediate effect resigned from all the various positions still held in Jobbik. Szegedi expressed his wish to remain a Member of the European Parliament.
The Jobbik statement confirmed that the news of his mother's Jewish ancestry "did not pose any threat to his positions in the party."
The Jobbik statement went on to say that "Last week, in July, media reported that the MEP [Szegedi] had known about his origin for longer than he previously stated. Allegedly, in 2010, the MEP tried to stop news published about his origin by offering money [bribe], which the MEP categorically denies. This prompted Jobbik vice-president Elod Novak to call for Szegedi's full resignation, describing the MEP's actions as a 'spiral of lies'." Jobbik says its issue is the suspected bribery, not his Jewish roots.
- europarl.europa.eu: Szegedi Csanád
- Freeman, Colin (24 May 2009). "Feminine face of Hungary's far-Right Jobbik movement seeks MEP's seat". London: The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 2009-06-07.
- Eyder Peralta (14 August 2012). "Leader Of Anti-Semitic Party In Hungary Discovers He's Jewish". NPR. Retrieved 13 February 2013.
- What happened when an anti-Semite found he was Jewish?
- Szegedi Csanád az ellene zajlott karaktergyilkosságról
- "Az számít, hogy ki hogyan viszonyul a magyarság ügyéhez" - anyai ági zsidó származásáról nyilatkozik Szegedi Csanád, Kuruc.info
- Szegedi Márton is kilépett a Jobbikból
- Leader of anti-Semitic party in Hungary discovers he is Jewish thestar.com, August 14, 2012
- PABLO GORONDI (August 14, 2012). "Hungary far-right leader discovers Jewish roots". Associated Press. Retrieved August 14, 2012.
- Agence France-Presse (27 June 2012). "Hungarian far-right deputy admits Jewish roots". European Jewish Press. Retrieved 7 July 2012.
- The truth about neo-Nazis, by the Jew who was one. Peter Popham. The Independent. Thursday 12 June 2014. http://www.independent.co.uk/voices/comment/the-truth-about-neonazis-by-the-jew-who-was-one-9532478.html accessed 13 June 2014
- Ofer Aderet, 'Former anti-Semitic Hungarian leader now keeps Shabbat,' at Haaretz, Oct. 21, 2013.
- "Szegedi Csanád felkereste Köves Slomó rabbit - HVG online, 2012. augusztus 6." (in Hungarian). Retrieved 2012-08-10.
- "Hungarian far-Right leader admits Jewish origins". The Daily Telegraph (London). 2 July 2012.
- "Education in Tibet". BBC News. 25 November 2010.
- Official Page of Csanád Szegedi
- "MEP Szegedi resigns from -nearly- all positions in Jobbik". 27 July 2012.[dead link]
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