BUDAPEST, May 9 (JTA) — Hungary’s justice minister has rejected a request from the Jewish community for a law that would make Holocaust denial illegal.
“Such a law would be unconstitutional” in Hungary, Ibolya David told a legislative committee last week. She said she based her decision on “numerous professional opinions,” mainly from officials within the Justice Ministry.
The Federation of Hungarian Jewish Communities submitted a request in November 1999 asking the government to begin drafting such a law.
The request came after numerous books appeared dismissing the Holocaust as a Jewish fabrication.
Jewish leaders say the number of stores selling anti-Semitic literature and videotapes has increased significantly since they first requested the law.
They cite the example of Aron Monus, who is living in southern Hungary without ever facing questioning for his widely publicized book, “The World Jewish conspiracy.”
Peter Tordai, the president of the federation, told JTA that despite the justice minister’s statement last week, the Jewish community still plans to press ahead with its request for a law similar to the ones already on the books in Germany, France and Austria.
But Jewish leaders may seek a broader law that would also criminalize other forms of hate speech.
The community plans to make its request before the Hungarian Parliament takes up amendments to the penal code in October.