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April 23, 2014 / 23 Nisan, 5774
At a Glance

Posts Tagged ‘Budapest’

Survey: Up to 49 Percent of Hungarians Harbor Anti-Semitic Views

Monday, March 24th, 2014

A new survey of anti-Semitic attitudes in Hungary showed up to 40 percent of respondents accepted some anti-Semitic attitudes.

Conducted in December and commissioned by the Action and Protection Foundation, a watchdog on anti-Semitism of the Jewish community, the survey revealed that among those who accepted some anti-Semitic stereotypes, the proportion of people who displayed open antipathy toward Jewish individuals

The poll’s results were presented Monday at a news conference organized by the foundation at its Budapest headquarters.

“We can draw the conclusion that 35 percent to 40 percent of the sample definitely accept some anti-Semitic stereotypes and seven percent extremely anti-Semitic stereotypes,” Prof. Andras Kovacs of the Central European University, who supervised the research, said.

The xenophobic far-right Jobbik Party entered parliament for the first time in 2010, and Kovacs told JTA, “There is a clear correlation between Jobbik’s entrance and the prevalence of anti-Semitism in polled populations.”

In the years 2003 to 2009, similar surveys showed an average of 11 percent of respondents harboring antipathy to Jewish individuals. That figures jumped to 28 percent in 2010, decreasing slightly to 24 percent in 2011 and to 21 percent in December 2013, as documented in the foundation’s survey.

The survey was released ahead of the biannual convention of the Rabbinical Centre of Europe, which brought several hundred Orthodox rabbis, many of them from the Chabad-Lubavitch movement, to the Hungarian capital.

The conference is taking place amid a dispute between the Jewish communities and the government over the government’s planned commemoration of the 70th anniversary of the Holocaust in Hungary. The Jewish umbrella group Mazsihisz has boycotted the unveiling of a statue that was perceived as glossing over Hungarian Holocaust-era culpability.

The government postponed the unveiling due to Mazsihisz’s opposition.

The Lubavitch-affiliated Unified Hungarian Jewish Congregation, or EMIH, which co-organized the conference, supported Mazsihisz’s opposition, according to Rabbi Shlomo Koves, a leader of EMIH.

Hungary’s Jewish Community Marks 70th Anniversary of Nazi Invasion

Thursday, March 20th, 2014

The Hungarian Jewish community held a memorial event in front of the downtown Dohany Street Synagogue in Budapest Wednesday to mark the 70th anniversary of the occupation of Hungary by the Nazi-led German Army.

The event, sponsored by the Jewish community but open to the public, comes after representatives of Mazsihisz, the Association of Hungarian Jewish Communities, voted to boycott state-sponsored Holocaust memorial programs.

“This event is the beginning of Holocaust commemorations in Hungary for the 70th anniversary of the Hungarian Holocaust,” said András Heisler, president of Mazsihisz, the Federations of Hungarian Jewish Communities, in the opening speech of the event, which drew thousands.

“In the name of the 600,000 Hungarian Jews killed during the Shoah, we raise our voice against those, who are in power, in whom as a minority we cannot trust,” said Heisler, expressing the Hungarian Jewish community’s disappointment with the government, which it accuses of shifting away national responsibility for the murder of the country’s Jews during the Holocaust.

Viktor Orban, the Hungarian prime minister, was invited to the event, but did not attend; however, his deputy, Zsolt Semjén, was present. The head of the Hungarian Catholic Church, Cardinal Peter Erdő, and Gusztav Bölcskei, Bishop of the Protestant Church in Hungary, also attended the program.

Hungarian general elections are set for April 6.

“In solidarity with the Hungarian Jews, we are not accepting the relativization of the Holocaust, not accepting the denial of the Holocaust, and not accepting the culture of amnesia, of forgetting,” Israel’s ambassador to Hungary, Ilan Mor, said at the event.

Tags: Breaking News, Holocaust memorial program, Mazsihisz, Association of Hungarian Jewish Communities, Viktor Orban

 

Hungarian Jews May Use Force to Stop Jobbik Protest

Thursday, February 6th, 2014

The Federation of Hungarian Jewish Communities (Mazsihisz) is considering sending people to physically prevent Hungary’s ultra-nationalist Jobbik party from holding a rally at a former synagogue on next Friday.

Jobbik, which holds 43 of 386 seats in the country’s parliament, is planning the rally in a building in the city of Esztergom which had once been a synagogue. The Jewish community in the city was killed during the Holocaust. The Jobbik party leader, Marton Gyongyosi, had demanded that the Hungarian government make a list of citizens with Jewish ancestry who might post a security risk to the country.

Holding the rally at the former synagogue would be an “unworthy, ugly, and cynical desecration of the memory of the victims of the Holocaust and the sentiments of the survivors,” Esztergom’s Socialist Party chairman Tamás Gál wrote in a letter to the town’s mayor.

Meanwhile, the Rabbinical Council of Europe (RCE) has announced its plans to hold a conference in March that will cooperate with the Hungarian government. “In the past few years, the voices of anti-Semitic ideology have become louder in the country. The conference is aimed at showing support to the Jewish community, and to the majority of Hungarians who experience with fear the negative developments,” RCE Director-General Rabbi Menachem Margolin said in a statement.

Holocaust Historian Returns Honor from Hungary over ‘Whitewash’

Sunday, January 26th, 2014

Holocaust historian Randoph Braham is returning a high honor from the Hungarian state as a protest against attempts to whitewash Hungary’s role in the Holocaust, Braham said in a letter quoted by the Hungarian state news agency MTI on Sunday.

Braham, 91, a Holocaust survivor, wrote that he was handing back the Cross of the Order of Merit “with a heavy heart” following recent developments in Hungary.

The Bucharest-born scholar and expert on the Holocaust in Hungary also said he would no longer permit the Budapest Holocaust Memorial Center to use his name for one of its research departments.

Braham, an emeritus professor at the City University of New York, wrote in the letter, “The campaign of history falsification which aims to whitewash the (Miklos) Horthy era has shocked me.” Horthy led Hungary into World War II as a Nazi ally.

Braham said the “last straw” was the decision by the government to erect a memorial in downtown Budapest to the 1944 German occupation of Hungary. He called it a “cowardly attempt” to exonerate Hungarians from their role in the Holocaust and confuse the issue by placing all blame on the Nazis.

Hungarian Jewish leaders, historians and others have sharply criticized plans for the memorial.

“The events of 1944 are, to say the least, more complicated than a story of ‘bad’ Germans fighting ‘good’ Hungarians,” the historian Krisztian Ungvary wrote in the HVG.hu news magazine. “Eichmann himself was thrilled by his experiences here, observing that the Hungarians must surely be descended from the Huns since nowhere else had he seen so much brutality ‘in the course of solving the Jewish question.’ ”

Hungary’s conservative government, headed by Prime Minister Viktor Orban, has designated 2014 as Holocaust Memorial Year, with a series of events and initiatives planned.

In October, Hungarian Deputy Prime Minister Tibor Navracsics told an international conference that the country’s leaders recognized Hungarian involvement in the Holocaust and vowed that the state would combat anti-Semitism and racism. Hungary’s ambassador to the United Nations made a similar statement last week.

Canada Sends Ex-Jobbik Leader Packing before Montreal Speech

Tuesday, December 10th, 2013

Canadian immigration officials this week ordered a former leader of the ultra-nationalist Jobbik party in Hungary out of the country prior to a speaking engagement in Montreal.

Csanad Szegedi was sent back to Budapest on a plane just before he was slated to address a Chabad group. Approximately 200 people who came out to hear Szegedi, who two years ago discovered he had a maternal Jewish grandmother and was ousted by Jobbik, instead heard a videotaped message.

“I acknowledge that I have a lot of sins,” Szegedi said. “And this is why I understand those people who are not happy me being here. But these sins I try to rectify not only at the verbal level but at the level of my actions.

“I have to tell the Canadian Jewish community … that I am exactly such a Jew as they are. I cannot help it — as you cannot help it.”

Szegedi, 31, was a leading figure in the neo-fascist Jobbik party for a decade and was known for his rabid anti-Semitism. After discovering his Jewish relative — an Auschwitz survivor — he made contact with Chabad representatives in Hungary. He since has embraced his Jewish roots and publicly denounced Jobbik.

His talk at Montreal’s Chabad of Westmount was titled “My Journey From Hater to Fighter of Hatred,” but the speaking engagement caused a backlash in Montreal’s Jewish community, with detractors charging that his denunciation of Jobbik is insincere and that he only embraced his Jewish identity after he failed to suppress the news through bribery.

El Al Cancels Package for Concert of Pink Floyd Member and BDS Activist Roger Waters

Friday, July 19th, 2013

(JNS.org) El Al Israel Airlines said it promptly canceled a promotional package that appeared on its website for an August concert in Budapest by Pink Floyd band member Roger Waters—a vocal activist in the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement against Israel—when it learned of the “sensitive issue” on Wednesday.

“This matter was brought to my attention yesterday afternoon,” Sheryl Stein, an advertising/public relations/social media manager for El Al, wrote in an email to JNS.org on Thursday. “Our Head Office received my email this morning and I am pleased to say this issue was resolved in a timely manner. On a regular basis, EL AL offers passengers packages to cultural events around the world. As soon as this sensitive issue was brought to our attention, the package was canceled.”

Waters accused Israel of “ethnic cleansing,” “apartheid” and “international crimes” in a November 2012 address at the United Nations, and last fall was also at the forefront of efforts to boycott an Israel Philharmonic Orchestra performance at New York’s Carnegie Hall.

Richard Allen, head of JCC Watch, an organization that is calling for the establishment of new guidelines to prevent Jewish funding of activity that gives BDS a platform, said he was “very pleased” by El Al’s quick removal of the Waters package. JCC Watch is organizing monthly protests until it sees new Jewish community guidelines on BDS, in response to the recent scheduling of events with Waters and “The Color Purple” author Alice Walker, another high-profile BDS activist. The Waters event that was scheduled for this spring was ultimately canceled, but Walker appeared at the Y—which receives $900,000 in funding per year from the UJA-Federation of New York—in late May.

“We hope that El Al’s cancellation of the Waters package is an indication that other Jewish organizations, such as the 92nd Street Y and the UJA-Federation of New York, will stop the promoting and offering of Jewish institutions to be used to proselytize the BDS movement against Israel,” Allen told JNS.org.

Budapest Jews Cooking Up Kosher Sandwich for a Guinness Record

Sunday, June 9th, 2013

Organizers of a Jewish festival in Budapest said they will try to set a world record for the tallest kosher sandwich.

Dozens of bread slices will be used to construct the tower on Sunday on Kazinczy Street in the Hungarian capital’s so-called Jewish Quarter during the sixth Judafest cultural street party, organizers said on Facebook. One of the organizers told JTA the plan is to have a 7-foot stack at least.

The Guinness World Records website shows no record for kosher sandwiches, but the tallest non-kosher sandwich was made in 2007 in India and measured 50 feet. It contained 100 pounds of cucumbers, 88 pounds of meat and 330 pounds of butter.

Judafest is expected to attract thousands and is among the largest Jewish events in Hungary. In addition to assembling the sandwich, participants will participate in a cookie-baking contest.

In addition to the culinary activities, visitors to the one-day festival will be invited to watch films about Jewish humor, notably by and featuring Woody Allen. There will also be walks and a rickshaw tour of the Jewish quarter.

The Budapest branch of the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee launched Judafest.

Re-Elected WJC President Returning Jews to Eastern Europe

Tuesday, May 7th, 2013

On Monday, in Budapest, Hungary, during its 14th plenary assembly, the World Jewish Congress (WJC) re-elected Ronald S. Lauder, heir to the Cosmetics empire Estée Lauder, as its President for another four-year term.

The assembly, comprised of delegates from more than 70 Jewish communities around the world, also elected Chella Safra, 62—wife of Moise Safra, brother of Edmond and Joseph, owners of Banco Safra in Brazil—as WJC Treasurer. The same assembly also elected Baron David René James de Rothschild, 70—chairman of Rothschild Continuation Holdings, parent company for all Rothschild banking companies—as Chairman of the Governing Board.

In 1974, David married the Italian Princess Olimpia Anna Aldobrandini and they currently have four children and live in Normandy.

I wonder if they eat kitnios on Passover.

Billionaire Viatcheslav Moshe Kantor will be the new WJC Policy Council Chairman, and Mervyn Smith from South Africa is Policy Council Co-Chair.

“I see this as the top assignment for the Jewish people and I am excited to serve as President of the World Jewish Congress for another four years,” said Lauder, who had held the position of President since 2007.

What exactly does President Lauder see as the top assignment for the Jewish people? It’s terrifyingly unique, if you’re a student of history.

One of Lauder’s claims to fame is the Ronald S. Lauder Foundation, which is dedicated to rebuilding Jewish communities in Central and Eastern Europe.

You heard right. This philanthropist actually invests a great deal of money in diverting Jews who could start a thriving life in Israel—back to the killing fields of Europe.

In fact, as I noted earlier this week, on Sunday night Lauder complained 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,” and therefore, Lauder threatened: “Today, Jews are again wondering whether they will have to leave the country, for similar reasons.”

Lauder’s other claim to fame is his leadership of the movement to introduce term limits in the New York City Council, which were imposed on most NYC elected officials, including the Mayor and City Council, after a citywide referendum in 1993.

It was argued at the time that the term limits would infringe on the democratic rights of a citizen to vote for whomever he or she wishes, and that it also deprived the city of “race memory,” which is crucial if one tries to avoid the foolish mistakes of one’s predecessors.

Lauder spent $4 million on the initial referendum, and then on killing a 1996 council proposal to extend term limits again.

In 1989 Lauder spent a $14 million (in pre-Bloomberg times it was a record) on his NYC mayoral campaign, before losing the Republican nomination to Rudy Giuliani.

Should be interesting to watch whether President Lauder will term-limit himself. His predecessor, Edgar M. Bronfman, ruled from 1979 to 2007.

When he’s not improving democracy in America or restocking the empty streets of Europe with Jews, President Lauder is involved in the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations, the Jewish National Fund, the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee, the Anti-Defamation League, and my favorite, the Jewish Theological Seminary.

From 1986 to 1987, Lauder served as U.S. ambassador to Austria.

Ronald Lauder and his wife of 30 years Jo Carole Lauder separated in 2006. According to the Internet, Ronald shares his life now with Israeli-born art dealer Daniella Luxembourg, who is believed to have been the reason behind the split.

I’m pretty sure they eat kitnios.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/analysis/re-elected-wjc-president-returning-jews-to-eastern-europe/2013/05/07/

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