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Ear to the Ground

Hungarian Conservative Calls for Survey of Jews

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Posted on Nov 27, 2012
daniel.edwins (CC BY-SA 2.0)

Each leaf of a memorial in Budapest, Hungary’s capital city, names a victim of the Holocaust.

A Hungarian politician from the far-right Jobbik party evoked the specter of the Holocaust when he urged authorities to “tally up” the number of Jews in the country, especially those in government, who he said could pose a “national security risk” amid the recent fighting in Gaza.

“I know how many people with Hungarian ancestry live in Israel, and how many Israeli Jews live in Hungary,” The Guardian reports that Marton Gyongyosi told parliament. “I think such a conflict makes it timely to tally up people of Jewish ancestry who live here, especially in the Hungarian parliament and the Hungarian government, who, indeed, pose a national security risk to Hungary.”

The government came down hard on Gyongyosi’s remarks, saying Hungary “strictly rejects extremist, racist, antisemitic voices of any kind and does everything to suppress such voices.”

—Posted by Alexander Reed Kelly.

The Guardian:

Jewish groups reacted with horror and incredulity at the comments, which they said brought back echoes of a dark past. “I am a Holocaust survivor,” Gusztav Zoltai, executive director of the Hungarian Jewish Congregations’ Association, told Associated Press. “For people like me this generates raw fear, even though it is clear that this only serves political ends. This is the shame of Europe, the shame of the world.”

Jobbik, of which Gyongyosi is deputy parliamentary group leader, is the third-largest political movement in Hungary, holding more than 40 of 386 seats in parliament. Critics say its MPs have made a string of antisemitic, anti-Roma and homophobic remarks – but the party has never made a public appeal for a survey of Hungarian Jews.

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