The Hungarian Jewish community is to initiate legal proceedings against a far-right politician who asked the country’s government to compile a list of Jews who “pose a national security risk”.
The Unified Hungarian Jewish Congregation has announced it will take action against Marton Gyongyosi, the leader of right-wing party Jobbik’s foreign policy cabinet, American Jewish website the Algemeiner reported.
Mr Gyongyosi told Parliament: “I know how many people with Hungarian ancestry live in Israel, and how many Israeli Jews live in Hungary," according to a video posted on the Jobbik party website on Monday.
He referred to the conflict in Gaza, saying: "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 executive rabbi of the Unified Hungarian Jewish Congregration, Dr Slomó Köves, told the Algemeiner that legal action was the only way forward.
“In a normal country there is some type of moral borderline where you don’t have to go to court because of something that is said in Parliament,” he said. “All the members of the other parties should stand up and say ‘this is unacceptable, this guy should just leave.’ And it seems like in Hungary there isn’t that healthy moral stance. So that leaves us the only possibility to go to court, and if we don’t succeed in the Hungarian court then we will maybe go to the EU.”
The Hungarian government released a statement which said it strictly rejected “extremist, racist, antisemitic voices of any kind and does everything to suppress such voices”.
Hundreds of protestors demonstrated against the comments outside the Hungarian Parliament on Tuesday, wearing yellow stars. One protestor held a sign declaring "I am a Jew. Please, include my name on the Jobbik-list".
Mr Gyongosi has issued a statement in apology on the Jobbik website. He said: “I apologise to my Jewish compatriots for my declarations that could be misunderstood.” His party added: “"Hungary need not fear Jobbik but rather Zionist Israel and its servants in Hungary."