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Lawmaker Warn Hungary Leaders on Anti-Semitism

Fifty U.S. congressmen urged Hungarian leaders to “use their authority to speak out against anti-Semitism.”

Their call came in an open letter dated June 22 addressed to Hungarian Prime Minister Victor Orban. The letter focused on “anti-Semitic and homophobic positions espoused by members of the Jobbik Party. Jobbik, a nationalist extreme-right movement, is the country’s third largest political party.

Among other issues of concern, the letter mentioned statements by Jobbik’s presidential candidate, Krisztina Morvai, who called Israelis “lice-infested, dirty murderers.”

Such positions “have no place in civilized discourse and must not be allowed to go unchallenged,” the letter read. The initiative was led by Joseph Crowley, a Democrat and representative for New York’s 7th District.

Among the cosignatories were Reps. Gary Ackerman (D-NY), Fincher Lee (R-Tenn.), Howard Berman (D-Calif.), Alcee L. Hastings (D-Fla.), Eliot L. Engel (D-NY), Steve Cohen (D-Tenn.), Jim McDermott (D-Wash.).

The president of Hungary’s Jewish community said June 21 that Hungarian Jews “feel increasing danger” in a country with a government that condones anti-Semitism. Peter Feldmajer made the remark in a speech before members of the European Parliament committee on combating anti-Semitism.

Feldmajer said the government had a “two-faced feature” in its attitude to anti-Semitism. While officially condemning it, the government also condoned anti-Semitism, he said. He cited the inclusion of openly anti-Semitic writers in the national curriculum and commemorations of fascist Miklos Horthy, the Hungarian Quisling, in municipalities across the country.

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