BUDAPEST - Israel and a European human rights official criticized Hungary on Monday for presenting an award to a television journalist they accuse of anti-Semitism.

A dozen former recipients of the Tancsics prize for journalistic excellence handed their awards back in protest against it being given this year to Ferenc Szaniszlo, a journalist at privately-owned channel Echo TV.

Israel's ambassador accused Szaniszlo of "spreading anti-Semitic conspiracy theories against Israel." The journalist denies he had made anti-Semitic comments.

"This man and his ideas must be rejected and should not have been awarded (a prize). I call upon the government of Hungary to take all necessary actions in order to withdraw the award, given to the wrong person for very wrong reasons," Ambassador Ilan Mor said in a statement.

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