Hungarian official calls actor a ‘filthy Jew’

Rabbi Zoltan Radnoti takes part in a "Music Against Racism" concert at Chanukah, 2009.  (Ruth Ellen Gruber)

Rabbi Zoltan Radnoti takes part in a “Music Against Racism” concert at Chanukah, 2009. (Ruth Ellen Gruber)

(JTA) – Israel’s ambassador to Hungary canceled a planned visit to the northern town of Eger to protest reported anti-Semitic comments directed at Jewish actor Jozsef Szekhelyi.

The envoy, Ilan Mor, expressed support for Szekhelyi, a veteran actor who has appeared in dozens of Hungarian films, according to Hungarian news reports.

In an audio recording of an Eger Tourism and Culture Commission meeting that took place last September and came to light earlier this month, a local council member from the right-wing Fidesz party is heard saying that even though Szekhelyi is a “filthy Jew” sympathetic to leftist-liberal politics, he is still a good actor.

Earlier this week Mazsihisz, the Jewish umbrella organization, filed a complaint with police and asked the local prosecutor to investigate the incident.

Meanwhile, Eger’s mayor sent a statement to the Hungarian media distancing himself from accusations of anti-Semitism.

“We are aware that Eger would not be what it is today without Jews,” he said. “I would like Ambassador Mor to get to know us and see that there is no discrimination in Eger.”

According to the news source Hungary around the Clock, the Budapest Jewish community has planned a solidarity event for Szekhelyi on Sunday.

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