TORONTO (JTA) — A one-time anti-Semitic extremist in Hungary will speak in Montreal despite attempts to have the invitation rescinded.
Csanad Szegedi, 31, a leading figure in the ultranationalist Jobbik party for a decade, was invited to speak on Dec. 9 by a local branch of Chabad, according to the Canadian Jewish News.
Known for his rabid anti-Semitism, Szegedi will speak on “My Journey From Hater to Fighter of Hatred.”
Last month, a Hungarian-Jewish Holocaust survivor, Paul Herczeg, and countryman Peter Sipos spent 90 minutes meeting with Chabad of Westmount leader Rabbi Yossi Shanowitz in an attempt to disinvite Szedegi, the newspaper reported.
Szegedi discovered in 2011 that he has a maternal Jewish grandmother who was an Auschwitz survivor. He was ousted by Jobbik and made contact with Chabad representatives in Hungary.
Szegedi’s detractors charge that his denunciation of Jobbik is insincere and that he only embraced his Jewish identity after he failed to suppress the news through bribery.
Sipos told the newspaper that Szegedi would be far more credible if he publicly condemned his one-time fascism in the European Parliament, where he sits as a member.
Chabad said Szegedi has proved himself by undergoing ritual circumcision and following Jewish practices.
“Today, despite many attempts to discredit him, Mr. Szegedi, a member of the European Parliament, has dedicated himself to speak out against fascism and anti-Semitism in Hungary and Eastern Europe,” Chabad of Westmount’s website said.