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U.S. Congressman Warns Hungary About Anti-semitic Politician

September 3, 1992
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A visiting American congressman has warned the Hungarian government against accepting the fascist, anti-Semitic ideas of a leading Hungarian parliamentarian.

Rep. Tom Lantos (D-Calif.), a Jew who immigrated to the United States from Hungary, said that American help would be cut off and tourist contacts would be endangered if Hungary were to accept the beliefs of Istvan Csurka, who is deputy head of the country’s ruling political party, the Hungarian Democratic Forum.

Lantos spoke at a news conference here Tuesday, held at the American Embassy. He said that Csurka and his remarks would be discussed before the U.S. Congress.

Lantos also called for Csurka’s dismissal from Hungarian political life.

Last week, in Magyar Forum, the newspaper of the Democratic Forum, Csurka openly criticized Jews throughout the world, blaming them for dominating Hungarian political life.

There was nothing new about Csurka’s tirade.

In January 1990, just as the country was emerging from strict Communist rule, Csurka made a radio speech calling on Hungarians to “wake up” to the dangers of a “dwarf minority” that he said threatened to take control of the country. He was referring to Jews.

Last month, he fired a particularly harsh volley at Israel and at the World Jewish Congress.

Csurka used his regularly scheduled Sunday radio program to hurl invectives at Israel and at Jews such as Edgar Bronfman, the Reichmann family and George Soros.

He also accused Israel and the WJC of controlling the Hungarian media.

Csurka accused the WJC, which he called the “World Federation of (WJC President) Bronfman,” of “collecting money for the running of the Jewish state and for the war costs,” and even of fueling anti-Semitism.

He charged that “the Hungarian liberal press” is linked to the WJC.

Csurka also lashed out at an affiliate group of the WJC, the Emanuel Foundation for Hungarian Culture, which was formed to restore synagogues, Jewish schools and cemeteries.

Csurka accused the foundation of having organized a showing of plays in New York by Hungarian President Arpad Goncz.

There is much animosity between Prime Minister Jozsef Antall and Goncz, a member of the opposition Free Democrats, a playwright and former dissident who served time in prison after the Hungarian uprising of 1956. Goncz came to New York last November to see the first American adaptation of his work.

The Emanuel Foundation was only one of several sponsors for the small Shakespeare Theater, which mounted one of his plays, said Leslie Keller, president of the foundation.

The foundation did so because Goncz “appreciates the Emanuel Foundation’s work,” Keller said in a telephone interview in New York.

Keller, a Hungarian Jewish Holocaust survivor who is also chairman of the WJC’s Eastern European commission and president of the World Federation of Hungarian Jewry, said Csurka “is never picking on any other people.”

Last month, Csurka lashed out at the Reichmann family of Toronto in light of their financial failures. He likewise criticized George Soros, a Hungarian Jewish millionaire who lives in the United States.

Csurka said Soros supports Hungary’s liberal press against the governing party and against “oppressed Hungarians in their own country.”

Csurka appears also to be angered by Goncz’s planned visit this month to Israel, the Jewish Telegraphic Agency has learned.

In May, when Antall visited Israel and wanted Csurka to accompany him, Hungarian Jews in Israel staged a protest there. Csurka canceled his intended visit. Antall, who was praised in the past for his pro-Jewish views, has irked Jews for not denouncing Csurka.

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