Community leaders have demanded that Home Secretary Theresa May ban a scheduled address by the leader of the neo-Nazi Hungarian party, Jobbik, in London on the eve of Holocaust Memorial Day.
A joint letter sent to Mrs May by the Board of Deputies, Community Security Trust, London Jewish Forum and Jewish Leadership Council said that Jobbik has a “history of committing violent acts against minorities such as the Roma community and frequently espouses virulent antisemitism”.
In their letter, the Jewish leaders cite a demonstration organised by Jobbik outside a World Jewish Congress meeting in Budapest last May.
“A number of Jobbik Party members were dressed in paramilitary uniforms,” they write, “and leader Gabor Vona’s remarks to the crowds included the following antisemitic slur: ‘The Israeli conquerors, these investors, should look for another country in the world for themselves because Hungary is not for sale’.”
Anti-racist campaigners Hope Not Hate have organised a petition with 11,000 signatures demanding the exclusion from Britain of Mr Vona and his parliamentary colleague, Sandor Porzse.
That call has been backed by Holborn MP Frank Dobson, London Assembly member Andrew Dismore and Camden Council leader Sarah Hayward in separate letters to Mrs May.
A Home Office spokesman said that it would “not comment on individual cases or if someone is under under consideration for exclusion”.
On its website, Jobbik said the purpose of the meeting was to hold a “forum for Hungarian citizens who emigrated to Britain”.
Jobbik is by far the most influential far-right grouping in any EU country, holding 12 per cent of parliamentary seats in Hungary. The London meeting is part of its campaign for the expatriate vote ahead of Hungary’s national election in April, a month before the Euro elections.
In 2012 the party’s foreign affairs spokesman Marton Gyongyosi called for a list to be compiled of all Hungarian citizens of Jewish origin.
In an interview with the JC, he also questioned the number of Hungarian Jews killed in the Holocaust and referred to Israel’s “Nazi system”.
Hungarian Jewish students in Britain raised the alarm after spotting a Facebook poster in Hungarian advertising the appearance of the Jobbik leaders at the London meeting on Sunday.
Gabor Szekely, a first-year student at Sussex University who alerted communal groups, said he feared that banning the meeting could be counter-productive. “They should be allowed to organise the event but there should be a huge demonstration against them,” he said.
Karen Pollock, the chief executive of the Holocaust Educational Trust, described the visit of Mr Vona as “deplorable.”
Two months ago Mrs May, guest of honour at the Board of Deputies dinner, said that the government would “not tolerate antisemitism in any form”.