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State Dept. envoy: Hungarian gov’t must do more to condemn anti-Semitism

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Jobbik

Hungarian Jobbik Party supporters rallying in Budapest, October 2012. (Facebook)

WASHINGTON (JTA) — Hungary’s government must do more to condemn political anti-Semitism, the State Department’s anti-Semitism envoy said in a letter to Jewish groups.

“Prime Minister Viktor Orban strongly denounced anti-Semitism in his address to the World Jewish Congress in Budapest last month,” said the June 25 letter from Ira Forman. A number of American Jewish groups wrote to Secretary of State John Kerry in mid-May about the phenomenon.

“While we were encouraged by his statements, we believe the government must do more to condemn publicly the incendiary rhetoric of the opposition Jobbik Party,” Forman said.

Forman added that State Department officials “regularly” raise the matter of anti-Semitism with their Hungarian counterparts, and that “we will continue pressing for action.”

The May 14 letter from the Jewish groups had asked Kerry to raise this issue personally in any dealings he has with Hungarian officials. It also noted instances in which Jobbik figures had called for the creation of a list of Jewish public officials and labeled Jews a national security risk.

Signatories included Agudath Israel of America, American Jewish Committee, the Anti-Defamation League, B’nai B’rith International, Hadassah, HIAS, the Jewish Council for Public Affairs, Jewish Federations of North America, NCSJ, the Rabbinical Assembly, Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism, Simon Wiesenthal Center, World Jewish Congress and World Jewish Restitution Organization.

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