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Joseph Eötvösz, a Hungarian nobleman, would say in the 1920's that "an anti-Semite is one who hates the Jews... more than necessary."

Funny spelling -- they translated the given name, but kept the umlauts in the surname, yet added a 'z' at the end for whatever reason... while the reference itself is totally wrong.

József Eötvös lived 1813-1871: long dead by the 1920s... He was a writer and reform politician, who became minister for religion and education in 1867, and was responsible to bring in the law that made Jewish citizens and religion equal by law. (He was also the father of the better known physicist Loránd Eötvös.)

The earliest record of the Hungarian version (for the record: Antiszemita az, aki a kelleténél jobban gyűlöli a zsidót and slight variations thereof) I found is in a 16 April 1920 record of Parliament (pdf, Hungarian), in which a liberal MP of Jewish origin is making fun of anti-semites. When he quotes it [actually in a slightly off form, shouters 'correct' him), he calls it a "Hungarian proverb".

Elsewhere on the web, it is ascribed to writer Kálmán Mikszáth (1847-1910). I first thought it was apocryphal, but then I found the original: with archaic wording, and of course a different context. It is in a newspaper article Mikszáth published on 25 October 1884, which is a sarcastic-cynical piece on Parliament's first session after elections. The quote is at the end, when he talks about the then four parties in Parliament:

...A napidíjak legalább bizonyos egyformaságot hoznak a pártok közé, mert egyebekben aztán roppant a különbség....The daily allowances [paid to MPs for appearing in Parliament] at least create a certain similarity between the parties, because in other matters, there is a huge difference.
A mamelukok jobban szeretik Tiszát, mint ahogy kellene.The 'Mameluks' [servile members of the governing Liberal Party] love [PM Kámán] Tisza more than one should.
A függetlenségiek úgy gyűlölik, mint ahogy nem kellene.The [anti-Monarchy opposition] Pro-Independents [and '48-ers] hate him in a way they shouldn't.
Az egyesült ellenzékiek önmagukat szeretik jobban, mint kellene.The [moderate] United Opposition love themselves more than they should.
Az antiszemiták pedig a zsidóra agyarkodnak erősebben, mint ahogy illik.And the [Nationwide] Antisemites are snarling at the Jew stronger than it is decent.
Ez a helyzet szignatúrája.This is the signature of the situation.
Mondjuk ennélfogva, hogy a hét története is.Hence we could say, also the hisstory of the [past] week.

IOW, a double-edged swipe at the then active Hungarian Nationwide Antisemite Party and antisemites in other parties. (For the record, having scanned through dozens of Mikszáth's previous articles, I find he spent a lot of time exposing the idiocy of lower-case and upper-case anti-semites, while at the same time, he held the stereotypes too. For example, on the sidelines of the Tiszaeszlár Affair, he contrasts a family of assimilated Jews distressed by the new hostility of neighbours following the anti-semitic campaign, and a money-grubbing Jewish pub owner who is happy about the many extra customers as journalists and antisemitic spectators flock to view the trial -- to conclude that anti-semitism hits the good Jews and misses its target...)

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Sat Mar 20th, 2010 at 05:40:14 PM EST
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Thanks for the research. You might want to look into the Wagnerian era for a perspective on Jews and antiSemiticism in Germany as well. It would be interesting. Likewise, as Mousalini's fascist government was know to be peppered with Jews, it would be interesting to know about the climate which led to tolerance in Italy, while the Nazis went in the opposite scapegoating direction.

by shergald on Sat Mar 20th, 2010 at 06:06:23 PM EST
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