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Orbán vs. Putin: Time for liberal Jews to rethink their position?

“Top Story” with Jonathan Tobin and guest Ruthie Blum, Ep. 43

JNS editor-in-chief Jonathan Tobin believes American liberals and Jews may need to rethink their hostility to Hungarian Prime Minister Victor Orbán because “the nationalist philosophy he espouses since it seems to rest on ideas that are both good for the Jews of Hungary and cheered when they are espoused by Ukrainian nationalists.”

Orbán has been compared to Russian President Vladimir Putin, who is universally damned for his illegal and brutal invasion of Ukraine. But in discussing the re-election of the Hungarian leader, Tobin notes that his “illiberal” ideas, such as opposition to open borders immigration from the Middle East and North Africa, have made his country safer for its Jewish community. Moreover, the same people who are cheering expressions of Ukrainian nationalism, even when they are associated with that country’s anti-Semitic past, shouldn’t be damning Orbán for prioritizing the best interests of his nation.

Tobin also notes that Orbán’s government is supportive of Israel, and the claim that his opposition to leftist billionaire George Soros, who is an opponent of Israel, is anti-Semitic is absurd.

Tobin is then joined by JNS columnist Ruthie Blum to discuss the latest news from Israel. Blum said the question of whether the latest surge of terror attacks inside Israel can be construed as a “third intifada” doesn’t matter. According to Blum, what does matter is the widespread Western assumption that Palestinian terror “has something to do with the “lack of a two-state solution.”

“This is a total lie,” said Blum. “They don’t want a two-state solution. This has nothing to do with that. It has only to do with their desire to kill Jews.”

She went on to discuss how U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken “destroyed” the recent Israeli-Arab Negev Summit because “it was an expression and a reflection of the Abraham Accords” and regional opposition to American appeasement of Iran.

His insertion of the Palestinians into the discussion served, she said, as an encouragement to the “uptick in terrorism.” According to Blum, the new nuclear deal will be a “genuine existential crisis” for Israel and create its gravest security crisis since the Six-Day War.

Regarding the situation in Europe, Blum said sympathy for Ukraine was widespread in Israel. But she contrasted the “bad rap” that Orbán gets from Jews and liberals with the efforts of Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky to pressure Israel into getting directly involved in the war with Russia—something that could create grave problems for the security of the Jewish state.

“Victor Orbán has been extremely friendly to Israel,” said Blum. “Had Zelensky exhibited genuine gratitude or friendliness towards Israel” in his address to the Knesset, “I would not be criticizing him.”

“Top Story” also airs on JBS-TV.

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