Enemies of Freedom: Scapegoating Ideologies, Anti-Semitic Conspiracy Theories, and Counter-Narratives
In December 2013, the Political Capital Institute in Hungary organized a two-day conference called “Enemies of Freedom: Scapegoating Ideologies, Anti-Semitic Conspiracy Theories, and Counter-narratives,” which was hosted by the Embassy of the United Kingdom in Budapest.
The aim of the conference was to create and strengthen the commitment to fight the ideologies of hate and the players who articulate them in Europe in general and in Hungary in particular. The conference included various panels on issues of anti-Semitism and hatred, political and legal responses to hate crimes and extremism, the importance of education for tolerance, and the use of social media as a weapon to challenge conspiracy theories. The conference was attended by approximately 200 participants, including 40 high-level speakers, among them Jewish leaders, diplomats, politicians from both the left and right wings of the political spectrum, journalists, and cultural figures.
The event garnered much attention and had significant impact in Hungary. It was broadly covered by the local and international media and attended by correspondents from the leading Hungarian newspapers, Reuters, AP, The Jewish Chronicle, and IBA News. Following the conference, representatives of the Hungarian government made clear statements against extremism. Socialist MP Pál Steiner stated that Holocaust denial is a crude manifestation of anti-Semitism that “goes beyond all boundaries” and “deeply injures all sober-minded people.” Gergely Gulyás, Deputy Faction Leader (Fidesz) and Deputy Chairman of the Committee for Human Rights, Minorities, Civic and Religious Affairs of the Hungarian Parliament addressed the conference and declared that the relativization of any murderous dictatorial rule is unacceptable, both left- and right-wing dictatorships should be condemned, and “Hungary’s political elite should be united in saying that there is no room for hate speech in public life.”