(JTA) — Israel’s ambassador to Hungary called for a halt to a government campaign against Jewish-American billionaire George Soros, which Jewish leaders have said is provoking more anti-Semitism.
“It’s our moral responsibility to raise a voice and call on the relevant authorities to exert their power and put an end to this cycle,” Ambassador Yossi Amrani said in a statement on Saturday.
“I call on those involved in the current billboard campaign and those responsible for it to reconsider the consequences. At the moment, beyond political criticism of a certain person, the campaign not only evokes sad memories but also sows hatred and fear,” his statement said.
Billboards posted nationwide showing a grinning Soros, who was born in Hungary, and the words “Let’s not allow Soros to have the last laugh.” The government objects to Soros’ call for Hungary to allow migrants to enter the country. Many of the billboards have been defaced with anti-Semitic graffiti.
Hungary’s foreign ministry responded in a statement: “Just like Israel, Hungary too takes steps against anyone who represents a risk to the national security of the country and its citizens.”
Hungarian Jews have called on Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to cancel an official visit to Hungary scheduled for July 18, to protest remarks by Prime Minister Viktor Orban in praise of Hungary’s anti-Semitic leader during World War II, Miklós Horthy, as well as over the campaign against Soros.