WJC to hold meeting in Budapest in solidarity with local Jews


(JTA) — The World Jewish Congress will hold its annual assembly in Budapest to show solidarity with Hungary’s Jews, who are facing "exceptionally strong" anti-Semitism, organizers said.

"This will be the first time in a very long time that the WJC will hold its congress outside Jerusalem," said Peter Feldmajer, president of the Federation of Hungarian Jewish Communities, or Mazsihisz, one of Hungary’s leading Jewish groups.

During the 2013 General Assembly, representatives of WJC will express their solidarity with Hungary’s Jewish community, which recently has faced "exceptionally strong and aggressive anti-Semitic voices," he said.

The congress, to which some 500 delegates are expected, will take place in early May, although the exact dates have not yet been decided, a Mazsihisz spokesperson told the French news agency AFP.

In the last year, the government of Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban has had to answer criticism that it is not doing enough to counter anti-Semitism and the rise of far-right extremism in Hungary.

Last week, a state honors list included a prominent TV host and an archeologist both known for anti-Semitic views. Hungarian officials asked the TV host to return his award because of his anti-Semitic comments.

In November, a deputy of the far-right Jobbik party also caused an uproar by proposing in parliament that a list of people be drawn up "of Jewish origin (who) present a national security risk to Hungary."

In June, Nobel laureate and Holocaust survivor Elie Wiesel returned Hungary’s highest state honor because of what he called a "whitewashing" of history in the European Union member state.

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