AHF Remains Concerned over US / Hungarian Diplomatic Relations
1/20/2015 - Politics.hu publishes Op-Ed by AHF President, Frank Koszorus, Jr., entitled "What is the endgame for U.S.-Hungarian relations?"
In a Tweet on January 12, 2015, US Embassy Charge d’Affaires Andre Goodfriend quoted Stephen I, the first king of Hungary (975–1038), who urged his son Emeric to welcome foreigners. The Tweet... clearly made in response to the Hungarian Prime Minister's recent policy statement... that Hungary and Europe should, with the exception of political asylum, curb economic immigration. Without addressing the merits of the policy itself, public commentary by a U.S. official regarding Hungary’s immigration policy could undermine American interests in the region and is ironic because immigrationis adivisive issue in theUnited States that involves an ongoing raging, intense debate. The Op-Ed is available on politics.hu or in full below:
What is the endgame for U.S.-Hungarian relations?
During my trip to Hungary over the 2014 Thanksgiving holidays, as President of the American Hungarian Federation (AHF), I participated in The Budapest FORUM to improve US-Hungary relations which was co-sponsored by AHF and its sister foundation in Hungary, the Amerikaiak a Magyarokért Alapítvány, or AMKA). In addition to me, the participants included U.S. Charge d’ Affaires André Goodfriend and Gyula (Jules) Balogh, President of AMKA. The Forum was the first in a series to be held to address the hoped-for restoration of the excellent relations that the United States has had with Hungary for many years, but which has been deteriorating recently. This first of a kind forum brought together parties holding differing views on the political landscape of Hungary and the bilateral relations between the two natural allies. The purpose of the FORUM was to candidly exchange ideas and better understand these various perspectives.
During the constructive, spirited and polite discussion of the concerns Hungarians and American Hungarians had with the U.S. government’s approach to Hungary and issues the United States had with Hungary, I read a moving letter from an apolitical professor in Hungary who is a strong friend of the United States but who nevertheless reiterated the widely-held perception that the U.S. was demeaning and humiliating the Hungarian people with its overwhelming and incessant barrage of public comments and criticisms, much of which, many feel, are overstated, unwarranted and bereft of evenhandedness. The criticism often and inexplicably singles out Hungary and even extends to topics that are generally in the purview of matters left to internal discourse of sovereign states, e.g., historical events and figures.
This type of public involvement in Hungary’s internal affairs repeated itself on January 12, 2015 when Charge d’Affaires Goodfriend in a Tweet quoted Stephen I, the first king of Hungary (975–1038) and its patron saint, urging his son Emeric to welcome foreigners. The Tweet was highly publicized and clearly made in response to Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban’s policy statement after the rally in Paris held on January 11 in response to the terrorist attack that Hungary and Europe should, with the exception of political asylum, curb economic immigration.
Without addressing the merits of the proposed policy itself, public commentary by a U.S. official regarding Hungary’s immigration policy is ironic and could undermine American interests in the region. It is especially ironic in this case because immigration is a divisive issue in the United States that involves an ongoing raging and intense debate. Indeed, immigration reform, including tougher border enforcement legislation, is a hotly debated issue that promises to be part of the American political landscape for some time to come.
Americans, officials and the man-on-the-street, would undoubtedly bristle if the French, German, British, Hungarian or any other ambassador to Washington were to ignore diplomatic etiquette and publicly pontificate about American immigration policies and legislation. It, therefore, shouldn’t come as a surprise if critical public statement about Hungary’s immigration views humiliate and alienate many Hungarians who support NATO and its now ever more critical mission. This, in turn, could have the unintended and detrimental consequence of undermining U.S. strategic interests in the region. Indeed, good bilateral relations between the United States and Hungary and a strong and united NATO are in the interest of both countries and necessary to meet the formidable challenges posed by Russia and terrorism.
Winning Hungarian public opinion, instead of alienating it with gratuitous remarks about internal matters such as immigration, is critical to advance these key American goals. Given her passion, perseverance and experience, we have every reason to hope that The Honorable Colleen Bell, the new U.S. ambassador to Budapest, will be sensitive to these issues and thereby diplomatically promote U.S. strategic goals in the region.
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1/20/2015 - Politics.hu publishes Op-Ed by AHF President, Frank Koszorus, Jr., entitled "What is the endgame for U.S.-Hungarian relations?" [Read and comment on on politics.hu]
1/15/2015 - Federation leaders meet with new US Ambassador to Hungary Colleen Bell and Hungarian Desk Officer Ivan Weinstein. American Hungarian Federation leaders, including president Frank Koszorus, Jr., Esq. and International Committee members Paul Kamenar, Esq., Drs. Imre Nemeth and Louis Segesvary, met with Ambassador Colleen Bell and Hungarian Desk Officer Ivan Weinstein. [read more]
12/08/14 - AHF submits letter to Sen. John McCain over his "neo-fascist, dictator" comments: "We agree that Hungary is an important country given the recent, alarming and unacceptable developments in Ukraine and otherwise. We fear that your critical characterization of Hungary last week was unjustified and unbalanced and your labeling its prime minister a neo-fascist dictator was just plain wrong. These gratuitous statements further confused, alienated and angered the Hungarian people. Unless appropriately and timely addressed, this, in turn, will undermine support for the security matters noted above to the detriment of American strategic goals." [read more]
12/2/2014 - AHF sponsors Forum on on US - Hungarian Relations hosted by sister foundation in Hungary the Amerikaiak a Magyarokért Alapítvány (AMKA or Americans for Hungarians Foundation): Panel participants included André Goodfriend, the Charge d' Affaires of the US embassy; Frank Koszorus Jr. the President of American Hungarian Federation, Dr. Lomnici Zoltán the spokesperson of the Civil Összefogás Fórum (CÖF); Hejj Tibor, the President of P-M-C Consulting who has sponsored many charity projects; and Gyula (Jules) Balogh, President of the Amerikaiak a Magyarokért Alapítvány. [read more]
10/22/14 - AHF submits letter to US Asst. Secretary of State Victoria Nuland: "The appearance of selective enforcement and the use of anti-corruption measuresas a “big gun” for political purposes that are unrelated to corruption, coupled with the other issues noted in this letter merely befuddle and alienate the Hungarian people and undermine U.S. goals...Corruption cannot, must not be tolerated. It needs to be eradicated wherever found. If not halted, it will undermine democracy and the free market system. We, therefore, support U.S. anti-corruption initiatives. However, in order to be effective, selective prosecution should be meticulously avoided." [read more]
11/14/14 - AHF meets with National Security Council and State Department Officials - On Friday, November 14, 2014, Frank Koszorus, Jr., President of the American Hungarian Federation, and Paul Kamenar and Imre Nemeth, members of the Federation's International Relations Committee, met with Nathaniel Dean, Director for Central and North European Affairs at the National Security Council, Thomas O. Melia, Deputy Assistant Secretary of State, and Ivan Weinstein, Desk Officer for Hungary at the Department of State.
12/17/14 - AHF Meets with Kathy Kavalec, Director, U.S. Department of State, Office of Russian Affairs: On December 17, AHF met with Kathy Kavalec, Director, U.S. Department of State, Office of Russian Affairs, to discuss Russia's policies and activities in Central Europe, including Hungary, and U.S. response thereto. "Our Federation believes that good bilateral relations between the United States and Hungary and a strong and united NATO are in the interest of both countries and necessary to meet the formidable challenges posed by Russia in the region," said the Federation's president Frank Koszorus, Jr. "Winning instead of alienating public opinion is critical to advance these goals," he added.
10/10/14 - AHF submits letter to President Obama: "...although we believe that vigilance is necessary to preclude backsliding when it comes to democracy, we are justifiably puzzled and deeply concerned that you lumped Hungary in with Egypt and some of the worst dictatorships of the world in assessing the state of civil society freedoms. We... respectfully call upon you to retract that part of your statement that unjustifiably places Hungary in the same category with Egypt and other such repressive countries. Doing so would help alleviate the concern, confusion and disbelief found in our community about the United States views of Hungary, a democratic ally. It would also serve to advance the goals of the United States in the region."
5/11/2012 - Budapest’s Central European University hosted a one-day conference to mark the 90th anniversary of diplomatic relations between Hungary and the United States on May 9th. The conference, co-organized by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the US Embassy in Budapest, was opened by Hungarian Foreign Minister Janos Martonyi and US Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for European Affairs Bay Fang [read more].
3/29/2014 - Amerikában tiltakoznak a budapesti nagykövet kinevezése ellen A diplomáciai poszthoz szükséges minimális tudással sem rendelkeznek - fogalmaz a diplomatákat tömörítő szövetség. "Az Amerikai Magyar Szövetség - az AFSA nyilatkozatától függetlenül - bízik abban, hogy Colleen Bell konkrét intézkedéseket hoz annak érdekében, hogy a pártosság és a kettős mérce megszűnjön Magyarországgal szemben. [tovább]
01/17/2014 - „Problémás” mandátumra számít Budapesten az amerikai nagykövetjelölt [tovabb]
Pártatlanságot kérnek az amerikai magyarok Colleen Bell nagykövettől. „Magyarország elkötelezett szövetségese a NATO-nak és az Egyesült Államoknak, ez a külpolitika a magyar lakosság egyetértésével valósul meg. A magyar közvélemény kiállása sokat jelentett az Egyesült Államok közép-kelet európai politikájában mind a hidegháborúban, mind az azt követő években. Sajnálatosan ez a támogatás vészesen csökken a következő okok miatt" [tovább]
1/17/2014 - Amerikai magyar szervezetek Colleen Bell jelöléséről... Maximilian Teleki, az Amerikai Magyar Koalíció és Koszorús Ferenc, az Amerikai Magyar Szövetség elnöke is üdvözölte csütörtökön Colleen Bell budapesti amerikai nagyköveti jelölését. [tovább]
1/11/2013 - AHF again responds to Senator Ben Cardin, Co-Chair of the US Helsinki Commission. In his December 20, 2012 statement, the Senator was unfairly critical of Hungary. "...we are concerned that (1) your assertions concerning Hungary omit relevant facts; and (2) your statement fails to raise the discrimination and intolerant policies toward ethnic Hungarians in some of the countries bordering Hungary. The statement therefore leaves the impression... of bias, which could result in cynicism toward the Helsinki Commission and its valuable and necessary work."
Amerikai Magyar Szövetség: részrehajlás nélküli megítélést! - MTI [Szeged Ma]
American Hungarian Federation slams “unmerited criticism directed at Hungary” [more]
Magyarország amerikai mikroszkóp alatt: valós aggodalmak vagy elfogult politikai támadás? Az Egyesült Államok legnagyobb magyar emigráns szervezete, az Amerikai Magyar Szövetség közleményt bocsátott ki a Magyarországot ért politikailag motivált, érdemtelen amerikai kritikákra reagálva. Az írás különösen aktuális, hiszen februárban tényfeltáró amerikai kongresszusi delegáció utazik hazánkba. [tovább]
3/5/2012 - AHF has Follow-Up Capitol Hill Meeting on Recent Congressional Trip to Hungary and Slovakia. Prior to the delegation’s trip the Federation submitted background information on Hungary and Slovakia to the CODEL. “At a time when there is considerable misinformation being disseminated about Hungary and so little known about the discrimination against the Hungarian minority in Slovakia, we believe such fact-finding missions are most useful, welcome and greatly appreciated,” said Mr. Koszorus. [read more]
2/17/2012 - AHF briefs top professional staff advisor to Chairman of the House Subcommittee on Europe and Eurasia on the eve of congressional delegation (CODEL) trip to Hungary and Slovakia. The Federation submitted a letter to the Chairman and Ranking Member along with significant background materials on Hungary andSlovakia and called their attention to recent harsh and often politically motivated and unfair criticism of Hungary and the anti-Hungarian attitudes, policies and practices in Slovakia [read more] and join the discussion on Politics.hu!
1/11/2011 - AHF Issues its First Statement on Hungarian Media Law: "A Rush to Judgment: The Reaction to the Hungarian Media Law." It is our "unassailable and firm conviction that freedom of the press is a cornerstone of democracy and liberty." But the unprecedented rush to judgment and vitriolic media coverage of the Hungarian media law seems to have been based on a partial understanding of the law itself and, in some cases, appears to be motivated by bias or political considerations. [Read more]
7/12/2011 -- AHF Reacts to Senator Benjamin L. Cardin (D-MD), Co-Chairman of the U.S. Helsinki Commission, who questioned democracy in Hungary and criticized expressions of concern for Hungarian minorities. AHF's letter expressed its steadfast conviction that judgments be "objective, fair, balanced and based on facts and not generalizations and speculation." It also urged the Helsinki Commission not to ignore the Hungarian minorities but to publicly and privately encourage Slovakia and Romania "to build tolerant societies by respecting the rights of their Hungarian and other minorities and the rule of law." [read more]
Levelet írt az egyik szenátornak az Amerikai Magyar Szövetség
Miért támadja Magyarországot az amerikai szenátor?
American-Hungarian federation strike back at US senator over critical comments, by MTI