Hungarian lawmaker detained after burning Israeli flag


(JTA) — A Hungarian lawmaker with links to the ultranationalist Jobbik Party reportedly was detained after burning an Israeli flag in Budapest.

Balazs Lenhardt, who left Jobbik last month, burned the flag at a demonstration by far-rightists on Dec. 14. He was released shortly after questioning when he declined to waive his parliamentary immunity, the Hungarian news agency Magyar Tavirati Iroda reported.

According to the report, Lenhardt, who is serving in parliament as an independent, was taken into custody on suspicion of vandalism.

Some 100 demonstrators attended the flag burning in front of the Foreign Ministry and shouted slogans such as “Filthy Jews” and “To Auschwitz with all of you,” Magyar Tavirati Iroda reported. The event was organized by two ultranationalist groups, the Guardians of Carpathian Homeland Movement and the Guard Federation.

Poland’s Foreign Ministry condemned the acts, calling them “shameful, inflammatory incidents insulting a minority.” The ministry said it also condemns the burning of the national flag of another country as an act that “incites hate.”

The Anti-Defamation League has called Jobbik “openly anti-Semitic.” Last month, Jobbik lawmaker Marton Gyongyosi suggested the government should list all Jews in Hungary who posed a "national security threat."

His comments were condemned by Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban, who promised to protect Hungary’s Jewish population.

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