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Andras Kovacs on His Study on Anti-Semitic Prejudices

"I find it worrying that even at such a high level of the state apparatus, educated people have serious difficulties in interpreting texts. The only thing more worrying would be if they had not even read the text they were commenting on,” our Research Affiliate Andras Kovacs said to, reflecting to the words of a Hungarian Deputy State Secretary, who labelled the research as “unreliable” and “tendentious.”

The article covers the attacks by the Hungarian government against an international research project on anti-Semitic prejudices, which was led by Andras Kovacs. (Learn more about the results here.) The project initiated by the Action and Protection League and carried out by the polling companies Ipsos and Inspira – and was partly financed by the Hungarian government.

Andras Kovacs emphasized that the study analyzing the results of the research had discussed in detail why there was no correlation between the existence of anti-Jewish prejudice and the frequency of anti-Jewish violence, adding that “prejudice does not in itself lead to aggression against members of a group that is otherwise prejudiced. Frightening anti-Jewish violence can also upset the peace of societies in which there are relatively few anti-Semites, but in which a determined and organized anti-Semitic minority – be they Islamists, far-right extremists or far-left terrorists – chooses violence as a means of political action. And it is also possible that in a society widely infected with anti-Jewish prejudice, the number of anti-Jewish atrocities is negligible.”

“I am surprised that the current results have caused such a surprise in government circles, as the measurement has hardly changed in the past decade and Hungary has been ranked in the same place on the prejudice scale of countries according to the results of several international comparative studies as the current research,” he continued. “Of course, they might think that all these were also carried out by the Soros-led world conspiracy,” he said, referring to a comment about CEU by the Deputy State Secretary, whose views, according to Andras Kovacs, “are a valuable resource for a researcher on the history of our era, even if he clearly does not understand what he is talking about. They tell us how the people of the Hungarian state in 2022 thought about what good social science worthy of state support was. Mostly one that readily justifies the picture of the world that they have in their heads.”

Read the full article (in Hungarian) here.