Hungary Journalist Returns Prize, Lashes at Israel

Ferenc Szaniszlo Accused of Spreading Jewish Conspiracy Lies

By JTA

Published March 21, 2013.
  • Print
  • Share Share

A Hungarian television journalist said he would return an award he was given last week after he was accused of anti-Semitism and the government said it gave him the award by mistake.

Ferenc Szaniszlo
getty images
Ferenc Szaniszlo

In a clip of one of his programmes from 2010, posted on YouTube, Ferenc Szaniszlo said on a programme on private Echo TV that Israel had been created by the West as a bastion against Arab-Muslim countries, but that it would lose its importance once the region’s oil and gas ran out.

Israel’s Ambassador Ilan Mor accused Szaniszlo of “spreading anti-Semitic conspiracy theories against Israel”. U.S. Ambassador Eleni Tsakopoulos Kounalakis said rewarding Szaniszlo, “an individual who has publicly engaged in hate speech, is deeply disappointing”.

Hungary’s minister for human resources, Zoltan Balog, asked the journalist to return the award in a letter on Tuesday, saying he had been unaware of Szaniszlo’s remarks which went against the values of the government.

Echo TV aired a programme on Wednesday night that featured a 20-minute speech by Szaniszlo, who criticised hat he said was an international conspiracy before saying he would return the award to relieve pressure on Hungary.

“It is true that I stand beside Palestine, as does President Obama,” Szaniszlo told viewers in a sombre voice. “It’s true I criticise the current Israeli government, as do many Israelis.”

However, he rejected accusations of anti-Semitism and said the powers that had criticised him - including the United States, Israel, Germany and France - did not respect his right to free speech.

“Why is this so important to them? Do they want to discuss my prize in front of the United Nations perhaps? Isn’t this ridiculous? No. This is tragicomic. It is the decaying world order stripping itself naked. Laughable.”

It is not the first anti-Semitism row Hungary has had to deal with over the past months.

Late last year, Prime Minister Viktor Orban condemned a call by a far-right Jobbik lawmaker to draw up lists of Jews as “unworthy” of his country, promising he would protect all citizens from any kind of discrimination.

Marton Gyongyosi’s remarks caused international outrage and he later apologised.


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!
  • Can you relate?
  • The Forverts' "Bintel Brief" advice column ran for more than 65 years. Now it's getting a second life — as a cartoon.
  • Half of this Hillel's members believe Jesus was the Messiah.
  • Vinyl isn't just for hipsters and hippies. Israeli photographer Eilan Paz documents the most astonishing record collections from around the world:http://jd.fo/g3IyM
  • Could Spider-Man be Jewish? Andrew Garfield thinks so.
  • Most tasteless video ever? A new video shows Jesus Christ dying at Auschwitz.
  • "It’s the smell that hits me first — musty, almost sweet, emanating from the green felt that cradles each piece of silver cutlery in its own place." Only one week left to submit! Tell us the story of your family's Jewish heirloom.
  • Mazel tov to Chelsea Clinton and Marc Mezvinsky!
  • If it's true, it's pretty terrifying news.
  • “My mom went to cook at the White House and all I got was this tiny piece of leftover raspberry ganache."
  • Planning on catching "Fading Gigolo" this weekend? Read our review.
  • A new initiative will spend $300 million a year towards strengthening Israel's relationship with the Diaspora. http://jd.fo/q3Iaj Is this money spent wisely?
  • Lusia Horowitz left pre-state Israel to fight fascism in Spain — and wound up being captured by the Nazis and sent to die at Auschwitz. Share her remarkable story — told in her letters.
  • Vered Guttman doesn't usually get nervous about cooking for 20 people, even for Passover. But last night was a bit different. She was cooking for the Obamas at the White House Seder.
  • 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.