Friday

29th Jul 2016

Orban fails to impress Jewish leaders on anti-Semitism

  • Viktor Orban condemned anti-Semitism - but critics say his words were not enough (Photo: European Parliament)

Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban’s speech against anti-Semitism at the World Jewish Congress (WJC) in Budapest on Sunday (5 May) failed to impress organisers, as the far-right Jobbik party staged a rally against Jews in the Hungarian capital.

Orban condemned the rise in anti-Semitism in Hungary and in Europe more widely. He called it a danger that “threatens even us Christians” and voiced determination to stamp it out.

Dear EUobserver reader

Subscribe now for unrestricted access to EUobserver.

Sign up for 30 days' free trial, no obligation. Full subscription only 15 € / month or 150 € / year.

  1. Unlimited access on desktop and mobile
  2. All premium articles, analysis, commentary and investigations
  3. EUobserver archives

EUobserver is the only independent news media covering EU affairs in Brussels and all 28 member states.

♡ We value your support.

If you already have an account click here to login.

Congress organisers said Orban did not confront the true nature of the problem, however

“We regret that Mr Orban did not address any recent anti-Semitic or racist incidents in the country, nor did he provide sufficient reassurance that a clear line has been drawn between his government and the far-right fringe,” the WJC, which represents Jewish communities around the world, said in a statement.

WJC head Ronald S. Lauder told press that several recent events in Hungary have caused him alarm.

He said that anti-Semitism and incitement against the Roma minority are becoming commonplace and “even acceptable” in Hungary.

He noted that Zsolt Bayer, a journalist and one of the founding members of the ruling Fidesz party, called the Roma “cowardly, repulsive, noxious animals” who are “unfit to live among people."

“Let us never forget the Roma were also victims of the Nazi Holocaust. Today, Jews are again wondering whether they will have to leave the country, for similar reasons,” Lauder said.

He added: "We were shocked to learn that an anti-Semitic TV presenter was awarded a prize,” referring to TV broadcaster Ferenc Szaniszlo, who won the Tancsics Prize for journalism in March. The prize was later withdrawn amid heavy protest.

He questioned why Hungarian officials are erecting statues to honour anti-Semites like Miklos Horthy.

Horthy was a Hungarian naval officer in World War I who later led the country into an uneasy alliance with Nazi Germany up until Hitler’s invasion.

Lauder also pointed out that several Hungarian MPs had wanted to draw up a menacing "list of Jews."

Marton Gyongyosi, the deputy leader of Hungary's far-right Jobbik party proposed the list last year saying that Jews who hold public office are “a national security risk."

Jobbik is Hungary’s third largest political party with 47 seats in the 386-seat parliament.

It says it wants to protect Hungarian values and heritage.

It has been linked to vigilante attacks on minorities.

On Saturday, several hundred Jobbik supporters staged a demonstration in central Budapest “in memory of [the] victims of Bolshevism and Zionism,” despite attempts by Orban’s government to block the event.

A number of individuals wore the black uniform of Jobbik’s banned paramilitary group, the Hungarian Guard, which has previously staged torch-bearing demonstrations in Roma villages.

We would like to thank our readers for quickly pointing out an error concerning the original image posted with the story. The image showed Hungarians in Romania and not Saturday's demonstration in Budapest. We apologise for the mistake.

Warning over Europe's sugar-guzzling habits

Europeans get through a huge amount of sugary drinks, causing serious risks to their health, a study backed by anti-obesity campaigners suggests. But southern Europe has seen a marked decline in consumption.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Dialogue Platform
  2. GoogleHelping Emergency Services Find You When You Need It Most
  3. Counter BalanceWhat's New in the Investment Plan for Europe: Business as Usual or True Innovation ?
  4. Belgrade Security ForumMigration, Security and Solidarity within Global Disorder: Academic Event 2016
  5. GoogleHow Google Fights Piracy: Creating Value While Fighting Piracy
  6. EJC"My Visit to Israel" - Opinion by MEP Lopez Aguilar, Chair of the EP Working Group on Antisemitism
  7. World VisionChildren Migrating, Out of School and at Work as Hunger Deepens in Southern Africa
  8. European Healthy Lifestyle AllianceStand-Up (and Exercise) to Prevent Chronic Diseases
  9. Centre Maurits CoppietersLaunches a Real-time News Hub Specialised in EU Stakeholders
  10. GoogleEU-US Privacy Shield: Restoring Faith in Data Flows and Transatlantic Relations
  11. World VisionWorld Leaders & Youth Advocates Launch Partnership to End Violence Vs. Children
  12. Counter BalanceReport: Institutionalised Corruption in Romania's Third Largest Company