November 21, 2005

Forecast Calls for Scattered Snowfall, Jew-Baiting

If you happened to be outside in Pest around noon today - or looking out side - you might have noticed something different. Snow! That's right: Today is officially (okay, unofficially) the first day of winter in Budapest, and we couldn't be happier. For one thing, ever since the switch from coal to gas power in most of the city's buildings, Budapest actually looks all festive and white when it snows enough to stick, at least for a few minutes. Plus, all the cold nicely freezes up the dog turds! Meanwhile, a proposal by Hungary's liberal Alliance of Free-Democrats (SZDSZ) to cut off state funding for religious institutions has some leaders of Hungary's Christian churches in a tizzy, which is not great news, because the membership of the SZDSZ is heavily Jewish and, well, you do the math.

"The SZDSZ proposal is simply an anti-Christian and anti-Catholic provocation," said Bishop András Veres, the secretary of the Hungarian Catholic Conference, according to a story in today's Budapest Times. While apparently no one has yet publicly linked the SZDSZ proposal to the fact that many of its members are Jewish, you can bet your last warm sweater that lots of the law's opponents have in private, and are just beside themselves.

As for what happens next, there is likely to be a sharp cold snap, followed by storms, after which the whole thing will quickly blow over, while remaining chilly until sometime in the distant future. Which, by coincidence, is exactly what the weather is supposed to do.