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UK has more antisemitism than Hungary, claims leading politician

'The Hungarian government has acted to protect its communities. Comparing that to Great Britain - the numbers are rising,' said Dr Csaba Latorcai

    Dr Csaba Latorcai
    Dr Csaba Latorcai

    One of Hungary's most senior politicians has claimed there is now more antisemitism in the UK than in his homeland.

    Dr Csaba Latorcai, the Deputy State Secretary for Social Affairs, told a conference in Budapest on Wednesday: "The Hungarian government has acted to protect its communities.

    "Comparing that to Great Britain - the numbers are rising. There are now many more attacks in Great Britain than there are in Hungary."

    Dr Latorcai - who has been a senior figure in Hungarian Prime Minister Viktorn Orbán's office since 2010 - referred to official statistics on reported cases of antisemitism in both countries.

    He confirmed to the JC that official records on incidents of antisemitism in Hungary showed there had been 18 incidents in the first six months of 2017. Last year for the same period there were 23 incidents - while in 2015 there were 52.

    "There are many times more antisemitic attacks in the UK compared to Hungary," he said.

    Quoting official Community Security Trust figures on recorded incidents in the UK, Dr Latorcai claimed there were "40 times" as many reported attacks here than in Hungary.

    He added: "With the rise of antisemitism there has been a rise in terrorist attacks.The terrorist attacks should encourage governments to take steps to protect their communities.

    "In Hungary no-one should be afraid of antisemitic attacks or attacks against their human rights."

    Under Viktorn Orbán, Hungary’s prime minister since 2010, and his right-wing nationalist party, Fidesz, the country has taken what domestic and international critics see as increasing authoritarian turn and adopted tougher anti-refugee policies.

    But more of a threat is posed by extremist far-right Jobbik party who have polled over 20 per cent ahead of next year's general election.

    Rabbi Shlomo Koves, founder of the Unified Hungarian Jewish Congregation, warned the conference that rise of the Jobbik party remained a "serious threat" to the country's Jewish population.

    Addressing the audience at Andrassy University in Budapest Rabbi Koves said:"“Jobbik has not changed, they are a wolf in sheep’s clothing and represent a serious threat to Hungary’s Jewish community.

    "In recent times Jobbik has been making has been drawing closer and closer to left-wing, opposition parties. In their latest step, Jobbik has even revealed its intentions to form a coalition with liberal, left-wing parties.

    "But they have not changed their policy, these are artificial changes to get power and to detract from the embedded racism and anti-semitism that remains within the Party."

    Asked why there was such a difference between statistics in the UK and Hungary, Rabbi Koves said it was important to note that the 100,000 Hungarian Jewish population was considerably smaller than that in the UK.

    He also said victims may be more confident to report incidents than they were in Hungary.

    Dr Istvan Mikola, the Hungarian Minister of State for Security Policy, said Jewish influences had made the national culture "stronger and richer."

    He insisted Hungary had a "zero tolerance" approach towards antisemitism but warned there was a clear connection between terrorism and mass immigration into Europe.

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