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Hungary Won’t Charge Anti-Semitic Soccer Fans

Hungary’s government has condemned anti-Semitic chants by soccer fans at a recent match in Budapest, but signaled it would not prosecute them.

An announcement placed on Tuesday on the website of Hungarian Prime Minister Victor Orban said that the government “condemns in the strongest possible terms the insulting behavior of certain Hungarian football fans during the friendly match between Israel and Hungary on 15 August.”

At least a few dozen fans were filmed chanting “dirty Jews” and “Buchenwald” at various occasions during the game, including when Israel’s national anthem, Hatikva, was played. Various videos from the match that were placed on YouTube show them also calling out chants in praise of Palestinians.

Orban said in his statement that the government “takes action to eliminate all forms of discrimination” whenever possible, and “speaks out against provocative or insulting actions which are not in direct violation of the law, and therefore not subject to immediate intervention from the authorities.”

In April, a leading soccer club from The Hague banned, under orders from a Dutch court, eight soccer fans from entering the city’s soccer stadium for five to 10 years. They had been identified through research by the authorities after calling out anti-Semitic chants, including “Hamas, Jews to the gas.”

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