Hungary’s PM slams anti-Semitism but disappoints world Jewish meet
Prime Minister Viktor Orban strongly denounced growing anti-Semitism in Hungary on Sunday but stopped short of censuring the far-right Jobbik party his audience of world Jewish leaders most wanted him to scold.
Orban told the World Jewish Congress (WJC), which is holding its four-yearly assembly in Hungary to highlight its concern about rising hostility to Jews here and elsewhere in Europe, that anti-Semitism was “unacceptable and intolerable”.
He recounted the steps his conservative government has taken to outlaw hate crimes and preserve the memory of the Holocaust, during which about half a million Hungarian Jews died.
But he did not respond to a call from WJC President Ronald Lauder, who in his opening remarks singled out Jobbik and told Orban “Hungarian Jews need you to take on these dark forces”.
After Orban’s speech, a WJC statement said: “The prime minister did not confront the true nature of the problem: the threat posed by the anti-Semites in general and by the extreme-right Jobbik party in particular.
“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.”