A few weeks ago there was a call in the Hungarian parliament for Jews to be screened to assess whether they are a national security risk. This past weekend, a member of the Hungarian government burned an Israeli flag during an anti-Israel protest outside the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
That lawmaker, Lenhardt Balazs, is currently unaffiliated with any party, but he used to be member of the far-right Jobbik (Movement for a Better Hungary) party. Jobbik opposes any relationship between the Hungarian government and the State of Israel. The Jobbik party holds 47 seats in the Hungarian Parliament.
In October, members of the Jobbik party torched an Israeli flag in front of a major synagogue in Budapest. That same month a leader of the Hungarian Jewish community was attacked, and in June, a Hungarian rabbi was accosted on a street in Budapest by a man who told him he “hates all Jews.”
Balazs, 37, left the Jobbik party in November, disgusted because it had become less radical over the two years he had been a member. After his arrest and questioning following the Israeli flag burning and anti-Israel demonstration on Friday, Balazs was released.
The demonstration had been called to protest Israeli “atrocities” against the Arab Palestinians. According to several reports, anti-Semitic slogans, such as “filthy Jews,” and “to Auschwitz with all of you!” were shouted during the demonstration. Approximately 100 people attended the event.
Balazs posted several pictures of himself burning the Israeli flag on his Facebook page, where he wrote that “It is important to destroy the symbols of the enemy.”
About the Author: Lori Lowenthal Marcus is the US correspondent for The Jewish Press. She is a recovered lawyer who previously practiced First Amendment law and taught in Philadelphia-area graduate and law schools.
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