(JTA) — A Hungarian journalist who made anti-Semitic statements has agreed to return a state honor.
Ferenc Szaniszlo, who on Echo TV has offered conspiracy theories on Israel and Jews, told the Hungarian news website Index.hu on Wednesday that he will comply with a request by Hungarian Human Resources Minister Zoltan Balog to return the Tancsics Award for journalists he was presented by the minister last week.
Balog had asked Szaniszlo, who has referred to Roma as “apes” and suggested that he regarded Jews as “garbage,” to return the honor a day earlier following an outcry in Hungary and beyond, including from Israel’s ambassador to Hungary, Ilan Mor.
“The minister handed out [the award] with a friendly smile, and then a few hours later he took it back,” the website quoted Szaniszlo as saying.
Szaniszlo denied he was a racist and said he was “a victim of machinations by Israel and the United States, which are for some reason so afraid.”
He added, “I stand up for Palestine, just like Obama” and ”I exposed the truth about Sept. 11, about the Kennedy murder, about Diana’s murder, and that pains them.”