Board urges UK government to ban Jobbik leader

By Simon Rocker, January 21, 2014

Jewish leaders have called on Home Secretary Theresa May to ban representatives of the far-right Hungarian Jobbik party from addressing a meeting in London on Sunday.

In a letter emailed on Sunday night, they wrote that the presence of Jobbik leader Gabor Vona and MP Sandor Porzse would be an “affront to the values we hold dear and is disturbing to the British Jewish community, as well as other minorities”.

Jobbik had “a history of committing violent acts against minorities such as the Roma community and frequently espouses virulent antisemitism”, they said.

It was the Board’s hope that Mrs May took “every effort to prevent these Jobbik representatives from propagating their despicable views and hatred in the UK”.

The letter was signed by Board of Deputies vice-president Alex Brummer, Community Security Trust chief executive David Delew, London Jewish Forum trustee Andrew Gilbert and Jewish Leadership Council chief executive Simon Johnson.

Mrs May, who was guest of honour at the Board’s dinner in November, pledged her determination to combat antisemitism and the spread of hate.

A spokesman for the Board said: ““We have written to the Home Office urging them to prevent Vona Gabor from speaking in the UK.

"The Jobbik party are a dangerous far right group who regularly espouse racist views, including anti-Semitism and demonisation of the Roma community.

"Just last summer, at the World Jewish Congress convention in Budapest, the Jobbik party organised a rally outside the main hotel where delegates were staying, in opposition to the fact that Hungary was hosting the convention.

"We call on the Home Office to block its leader from speaking in the UK as his presence here has the potential to damage community relations in the UK and import conflict.”

Andrew Dismore,the London Assembly member for Barnet and Camden, went further and called on Mrs May to ban the Jobbik leader from entering the UK at all.

"While I advocate the right to free speech in our society, this must also be balanced against other human rights," Mr Dismore wrote. "In this instance it must be balanced against the right of the people of Camden and London as a whole to a peaceful existence free from thehate message promulgated by Gábor Vona, whose aim is to create hostility and incite division within our communities."

Mr Dismore said that it was "particularly important to note that his event is being held on the eve of Holocaust Memorial Day when the offence of his meeting will be all the more damaging."

Last updated: 2:48pm, January 21 2014