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Lauder to Hungarian PM: Stop Antisemitism or Jews Might Leave

"Today, Jews are again wondering whether they will have to leave the country."
Hungarian Prime Minister Orbán (left) and WJC President Ronald S. Lauder

Hungarian Prime Minister Orbán (left) and WJC President Ronald S. Lauder
Photo Credit: Doron Ritter / WJC

The World Jewish Congress (WJC) on Sunday night stated that Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán “did not confront the true nature of the problem: the threat posed by the anti-Semites in general and by the extreme-right Jobbik party in particular.”

That’s a bit embarrassing, considering the PM was a keynote speaker, the most distinguished keynote speaker, really, at the WJC 14th Plenary Assembly in Budapest.

The Prime Minister said: “Antisemitism today in Hungary is unacceptable and we will show zero tolerance in regards to it.”

His remarks came against a background of the rising popularity of neo-Nazi political parties in several European countries, most notably Hungary and Greece.

“We don’t want Hungary to become a country of hate and antisemitism and we ask for your help and experience in helping us solve the problem,” Orbán told the assembled Jewish dignitaries. He continued: “History taught us that we should act fast and strongly against antisemitism whenever it arises. We will do whatever it takes to stop it.”

But the WJC wanted more, and said as much, as soon as the lights went out on their event—first one in a while to be held outside Jerusalem, where, we hear, antisemitism is under control.

“We regret that Mr. Orbán did not address any recent antisemitic or racist incidents in the country, nor did he provide sufficient reassurance that a clear line has been drawn between his government and the far-right fringe. As the Jewish people have learned throughout history: action speaks louder than words, no matter how well intended they (the words) are. The WJC will continue to urge all democratic forces in Hungary and elsewhere to combat with great determination rising extremism, antisemitism and hatred. We will continue to evaluate the situation in this regard.”

On Saturday, some 500 Hungarians gathered in downtown Budapest for an anti-Zionist protest organized by the openly antisemitic Jobbik party. Some wore the uniform of the banned paramilitary Hungarian Guard. The event was aimed at “paying tribute to the victims of Zionism and Bolshevism.”

Jobbik leader Gabor Vona told protesters that money paid as compensation to Holocaust survivors could have been better used, ATV reported.

Vona also said Jews should ask for forgiveness for the crimes committed under the Communist regime by leaders like Bela Kun or Matyas Rakosi, who were Jewish.

Jobbik won 17 percent of the vote in 2010 general elections.

WJC President Ronald S. Lauder urged the Hungarian Prime Minister to take strong action against the Jobbik Party. He recalled the history of antisemitism in Hungary, warned about the alarming rise in antisemitism in, mentioned a lot of terrible things that are being said against Jews in Hungary, and then, at last, he threatened:

“Today, Jews are again wondering whether they will have to leave the country, for similar reasons.”

Wondering? Are you kidding me? They shouldn’t be “wondering,” they should be crowding the department stores in search of reasonably priced luggage. They should be getting their passports stamped, they should be rushing to the airport, valises in hand, because if they get out now, today, this week, they’ll get to live and take their money with them.

Is the WJC honestly expecting to reform Hungary? Then they’re madder than those folks in their scary neo-Nazi uniforms. Get out, Jewish people, get out of the place that already ate up your grandparents – get the heck out! That’s what Esthe’s heir should have said.

But he didn’t. He only mentioned it as a really terrible thing that might happen, God forbid, should the wolves of Budapest not go back to being more sheepish at once.

The countdown continues. Somebody tell the OU to take Budapest off the list of recommended communities for newlywed Orthodox couples looking to get out of NY City…

About the Author: Yori Yanover has been a working journalist since age 17, before he enlisted and worked for Ba'Machane Nachal. Since then he has worked for Israel Shelanu, the US supplement of Yedioth, JCN18.com, USAJewish.com, Lubavitch News Service, Arutz 7 (as DJ on the high seas), and the Grand Street News. He has published Dancing and Crying, a colorful and intimate portrait of the last two years in the life of the late Lubavitch Rebbe, (in Hebrew), and two fun books in English: The Cabalist's Daughter: A Novel of Practical Messianic Redemption, and How Would God REALLY Vote.


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One Response to “Lauder to Hungarian PM: Stop Antisemitism or Jews Might Leave”

  1. ELLEN AMSTER says:

    Stating an ultimatum like that actually hurts your cause if you are not prepared to carry it out, and Hungarian Jews clearly are not prepared to carry it out.Jews cannot control what Hungarians feel and are prepared to do.I wonder what Jews are doing in Hungary or in all of Europe to begin with.

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