Hungarian Jews Feel 'Increasing Danger'

By JTA

Published June 21, 2012.
  • Print
  • Share Share

Hungarian Jews “feel increasing danger” in a country with a government that condones anti-Semitism, the president of Hungary’s Jewish community said.

Peter Feldmajer, president of the Federation of Hungarian Jewish Communities, made the remarks Tuesday at a conference on anti-Semitism in the European Parliament in Brussels.

Though Hungarian government officials say they want to combat anti-Semitism, “behind the curtain we face a dark image,” said Feldmajer, who described the government’s policy as “two-faced.”

The extreme-right Jobbik party constantly libels Jews while the state celebrates anti-Semites in school curriculums, he said. And he noted that several Hungarian municipalities have erected statues honoring Miklos Horthy, the Hungarian Quisling. Under his rule, 450,000 Hungarian Jews were sent to their death in the Holocaust.

“Streets and squares are named after Horthy, who stands as a hero for the people. The Hungarian Jewish people feel increasing danger,” Feldmajer said.

Panayote Dimitras of the Greek Helsinki Monitor, a watchdog on hate crimes, has quoted surveys showing that 80 percent of the Greek and Hungarian populations favored deporting foreigners.

“It’s no coincidence these are the only countries with neo-Nazi parties in parliament,” Dimitras said.

The conference in the Belgian capital was co-organized by B’nai B’rith Europe and CEJI-a Jewish Contribution to an Inclusive Europe, along with the Inter-Parliamentary Coalition for Combating Anti-Semitism. Some 40 people attended, including several lawmakers.

Reinold Simon, the honorary president of B’nai B’rith Europe, said constant contact with EU institutions was the key to fighting anti-Semitism. In 2005 he founded the Foreign Affairs Network, which is represented at the European Parliament in Brussels and Strasbourg, as well as at UNESCO headquarters in Paris, among other institutions.

Ron Rafaeli of SPCJ, the security service of France’s Jewish communities, recalled “a previous and similar meeting on anti-Semitism in 2002, when Mohammed Merah was a boy.” Merah, a French-Algerian radical Islamist, killed three children and a rabbi at a Jewish school in Toulouse in March.

“Only education will ensure no new Mohammed Merahs,” Rafaeli said.

John Mann, a British lawmaker and chair of the Inter-Parliamentary Coalition for Combating Anti-Semitism at the European Parliament, told JTA that part of his job was to “get the European Union to promote more programs that educate to tolerance, like that of CEJI and of Yad Vashem.”


The Jewish Daily Forward welcomes reader comments in order to promote thoughtful discussion on issues of importance to the Jewish community. In the interest of maintaining a civil forum, The Jewish Daily Forwardrequires that all commenters be appropriately respectful toward our writers, other commenters and the subjects of the articles. Vigorous debate and reasoned critique are welcome; name-calling and personal invective are not. While we generally do not seek to edit or actively moderate comments, our spam filter prevents most links and certain key words from being posted and The Jewish Daily Forward reserves the right to remove comments for any reason.





Find us on Facebook!
  • Move over Dr. Ruth — there’s a (not-so) new sassy Jewish sex-therapist in town. Her name is Shirley Zussman — and just turned 100 years old.
  • From kosher wine to Ecstasy, presenting some of our best bootlegs:
  • Sara Kramer is not the first New Yorker to feel the alluring pull of the West Coast — but she might be the first heading there with Turkish Urfa pepper and za’atar in her suitcase.
  • About 1 in 40 American Jews will get pancreatic cancer (Ruth Bader Ginsberg is one of the few survivors).
  • At which grade level should classroom discussions include topics like the death of civilians kidnapping of young Israelis and sirens warning of incoming rockets?
  • Wanted: Met Council CEO.
  • “Look, on the one hand, I understand him,” says Rivka Ben-Pazi, a niece of Elchanan Hameiri, the boy that Henk Zanoli saved. “He had a family tragedy.” But on the other hand, she said, “I think he was wrong.” What do you think?
  • How about a side of Hitler with your spaghetti?
  • Why "Be fruitful and multiply" isn't as simple as it seems:
  • William Schabas may be the least of Israel's problems.
  • You've heard of the #IceBucketChallenge, but Forward publisher Sam Norich has something better: a #SoupBucketChallenge (complete with matzo balls!) Jon Stewart, Sarah Silverman & David Remnick, you have 24 hours!
  • Did Hamas just take credit for kidnapping the three Israeli teens?
  • "We know what it means to be in the headlines. We know what it feels like when the world sits idly by and watches the news from the luxury of their living room couches. We know the pain of silence. We know the agony of inaction."
  • When YA romance becomes "Hasidsploitation":
  • "I am wrapping up the summer with a beach vacation with my non-Jewish in-laws. They’re good people and real leftists who try to live the values they preach. This was a quality I admired, until the latest war in Gaza. Now they are adamant that American Jews need to take more responsibility for the deaths in Gaza. They are educated people who understand the political complexity, but I don’t think they get the emotional complexity of being an American Jew who is capable of criticizing Israel but still feels a deep connection to it. How can I get this across to them?"
  • from-cache

Would you like to receive updates about new stories?




















We will not share your e-mail address or other personal information.

Already subscribed? Manage your subscription.