Hungary rounds on far right

'Jews not welcome' MP faces threat of multiple lawsuits after JC interview

By Orlando Radice, February 9, 2012
Gyongyosi: "Israel runs a Nazi system"

Gyongyosi: "Israel runs a Nazi system"

The Hungarian government and the country's Jewish community have condemned the shocking statements made by a Jobbik representative in an interview with JC last week.

MP Marton Gyongyosi, the ultra-nationalist party's foreign affairs spokesman, refused to acknowledge the official figures for the number of Jews murdered in the Hungarian Holocaust, saying: "It has become a fantastic business to jiggle around with the numbers."

He also claimed that Jews were colonising the country and said it was therefore "a natural reaction for people to feel that Jews are not welcome here".

Mr Gyongyosi said that Israel operated a "Nazi system" and appeared to support Iran in its oft-stated aim to destroy Israel.

The Hungarian Foreign Ministry said in a statement on Tuesday: "We strongly condemn the position of Jobbik on the Holocaust, on the internal political situation in Israel and on the political relations of the Middle East."

In a further development, Hungarian Socialist Party leader Attila Mesterhazy said on Monday that the government and the Speaker of Parliament should investigate Mr Gyongyosi over a possible breach in the law. Denying the Holocaust is illegal in Hungary.

Another opposition party, the Christian Democrats, also dissociated itself from the comments made by Mr Gyongyosi.

The Unified Hungarian Jewish Congregation said on Wednesday it was investigating the possibility of taking legal action against Mr Gyongyosi.

The head of the congregation, Rabbi Shlomo Koves, said: "Our congregation felt that the comments made by Mr Gyongyosi were unacceptable. In a modern society we expect our representatives to encourage a bit more tolerance instead of promoting hate."

It has been argued that the nationalist policies of the current government, such as a recent move to offer dual citizenship to Hungarians living beyond the country's borders, create a fertile terrain for parties such as Jobbik. Zoltan Balog, Hungary's Minister of State for Social Inclusion, denied the claim: "Jobbik are my enemy. It is not in our interest to support their way of thinking - their message is only negative, at times like this we need positive messages."

Last updated: 12:47pm, February 9 2012