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Support for Jobbik meanwhile has hovered around 10 percent this year, but around half of Hungarian voters are undecided.
GREECE AND GERMANY
Robin Shepherd, author of a study for the WJC on neo-Nazi parties in Europe, told the assembly Fidesz was not anti-Semitic but it competed with Jobbik for votes among nationalists frustrated by the economy crisis and resentful of foreign influence in Hungary.
“If Orban goes too hard against Jobbik, he’s worried he won’t be able to scoop up Jobbik’s voters,” he said.
The assembly also debated the rise of far-right parties such as Golden Dawn in Greece, which came from nowhere to win about seven percent in elections there last year amid a deep economic crisis.
Shepherd said support for Golden Dawn had risen in opinion polls since the election and the Athens government was so concerned about the country’s economic crisis that it did not immediately respond to the challenge it presented.
David Saltiel, leader of the Greek Jewish community, agreed and told the assembly: “Our country was caught by surprise.”
But Saltiel said the government, after lobbying by the WJC, had assured him it would soon pass a tough hate speech law that would outlaw incitement against people because of their race, religion, ethnicity or sexual orientation, and impose up to six years in prison on offenders.
Parliamentary deputies would not be excluded, he said, and parties that receive public funding would see it suspended if their leaders publicly deny the Holocaust - which Golden Dawn leaders have done in the past.
“We think with this law, (Golden Dawn) will be brought back to the small numbers it had before,” he said.
The resolution also urged Germany and other countries with neo-Nazi parties to consider banning them.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel has decided not to seek a ban on the far-right National Democratic Party (NPD) because it is not clear whether such a ban would be constitutional.
But the Bundesrat, the upper house of parliament that represents the 16 federal states, has begun its own effort to ban the party, he said.