THE HAGUE (JTA) — 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 (D-N.Y.).
Among the cosigners were Reps. Gary Ackerman (D-N.Y.), Fincher Lee (R-Tenn.), Howard Berman (D-Calif.), Alcee Hastings (D-Fla.), Eliot Engel (D–N.Y.), Steve Cohen (D-Tenn.) and 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.