Hungary’s continuing campaign against billionaire investor George Soros is not motivated by antisemitism, an official spokesman has claimed.
Speaking to the JC from his office in Budapest, the governing Fidesz party’s Zoltan Kovacs insisted the high profile attacks on Mr Soros were “nothing to do with his origins”.
He defended Hungary’s record on protecting its Jewish community, saying any accusation of antisemitism against Fidesz was “a political weapon”.
Mr Kovacs said: “Under this government Hungary has stood up for Jewish rights. We acknowledge that antisemitism exists around the globe but in no way does Hungary stand out.
“Under this government we have taken actual concrete steps to reflect the concerns of the community.
“We have backed commemoration of the Holocaust, established museums … and on antisemitic attacks, we have taken action.”
The Orban administration launched an anti-Soros campaign in the spring to try to halt the Hungarian-born investor’s operations in the country.
Posters and billboards of the Hungarian-born billionaire appeared across Budapest with the caption “Don’t let Soros get the last laugh!”
The campaign – which is set to continue into next year – claims Mr Soros wants to allow a million refugees into Europe each year.
“We criticised what Mr Soros was doing but it has nothing to do with his origins,” Mr Kovacs said.
“Let’s talk about what he is doing. Yes, maybe he is a Jew, but we are criticising what he is doing and what he is representing.
“Mr Soros has announced in his own words, in his own language, on questions of illegal migration, how it should be handled in Europe.”
“We are going against that vision,” he added.
Mr Kovacs blamed migrants from the Middle East and far-right parties in Europe for rising antisemitism in his country.
“We strongly believe – and we have experience of those arriving – that they are coming from conflict zones were antisemitism is endemic,” he said.
“It should be a concern for the whole of Europe - the attacks in the West are partly down to the new arrivals. You have to be frank.
“It's a very strong culture and we know assimilation is not going to happen. Islam is not integrating.”
Mr Kovacs also warned that far-right party Jobbik was attempting an “impossible” repositioning to the political centre-ground ahead of the 2018 election by hiding their antisemitic past.
He said: “The most astonishing thing is that their attempt at repositioning is being supported by leftist parties, and is even being supported by some Jews.”