Hungarian official booed off Jewish festival stage for defending disinvited singer


BUDAPEST (JTA) — A government official in Hungary was booed off the stage at the nation’s Jewish culture festival after he defended an allegedly anti-Semitic singer.

At the opening event of the Budapest festival on Sunday, audience members loudly heckled Csaba Latorcai, deputy state secretary of the Prime Minister’s Office, preventing him from finishing his speech. The heckling was in response to Latorcai’s defense of Maria Petras, who had been scheduled to appear at the festival but was disinvited amid allegations of anti-Semitism.

Latorcai said the charges against Petras were “unfounded” and “based on lies.”

Festival organizers canceled Petras’ appearance after some Jewish activists reported that she had performed at nationalistic and ultrarightist events, along with a memorial service for the late anti-Semitic Hungarian writer Albert Wass.

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