The World Jewish Congress will be hold its plenary assembly in Budapest Sunday
through Tuesday to discuss, among other matters, “the alarming rise of neo-Nazi
political parties in several European and other countries.”
A new WJC
executive will be selected and organizational priorities will be set for the
Anti-Semitism is on the rise in Hungary, mirroring the
political fortunes of the farright Jobbik party and its paramilitary arm, the
New Hungarian Guard. The party entered parliament in 2010, garnering 43 out of
386 mandates, making it the thirdlargest faction. The party also holds two seats
in the European Parliament.
Jobbik leaders have publicly called on the
government of Prime Minister Viktor Orbán to draw up lists of Jews, who Jobbik
leader Marton Gyongyosi considers a “security risk.”
Orbán is slated to
open Sunday’s session of the congress, speaking immediately after local
community President Dr. Péter Feldmájer. He will be introduced by WJC President
Ronald Lauder, who recently accused him of having “lost his political compass”
in an op-ed in the German newspaper Süddeutsche Zeitung.
Orbán for seeming to “emphasize just one thing: Hungary’s presumed strength as a
national powerhouse,” and for seemingly seeking an accommodation with the
farright supporters of Jobbik, whose rising popularity, Lauder said, threatens
“Jobbik’s ideology is close to that of the Nazis,”
Lauder asserted, saying that while Orbán had promised to protect the Jewish
community, he had also said his party “seeks to revive ‘national symbols,’” a
statement that Lauder believes to be a “subliminal message” to Jobbik
“The number of anti-Semitic or anti-Roma statements increased
dramatically in recent years, and some of them have come from senior members of
the prime minister’s party or his government,” he said.
anti-Semitism must be combated on the government level, Lauder added, “It is for
this reason that the World Jewish Congress will hold its plenary assembly
meeting in Budapest in May.
We want to send a strong signal that Hungary
– home to the third-largest Jewish community in the European Union – is on a
The congressional meeting in Budapest is the first time
in several years that the annual event has been held outside Jerusalem, a fact
that Feldmajer played up in a statement to the European Jewish
“The fact that the WJC is holding its plenary assembly in Budapest
is a symbol of solidarity with our Jewish community, which has been faced with
growing anti- Semitism in recent years,” he said.
Jobbik held a
demonstration in Budapest on Saturday in opposition to the WJC meeting, after a
court determined on Friday that police had overstepped their authority in trying
to block the protest.
In a statement four days ago, the Hungarian
government said Orbán had “instructed Minister of Interior Affairs Sándor Pintér
to not allow any event or demonstration that could harm human
Senior figures from Jobbik harangued the crowd with charges
that President Shimon Peres had praised Jews for buying property in
They said the WJC had decided to hold its four-yearly gathering
in Budapest to shame the Hungarian people.
“The Israeli conquerors, these
investors, should look for another country in the world for themselves, because
Hungary is not for sale,” Jobbik chairman Gabor Vona told the rally near the
neo-Gothic parliament along the Danube River.
“Our country has become
subjugated to Zionism, it has become a target of colonization while we, the
indigenous people, can play only the role of extras,” Marton Gyongyosi, a Jobbik
member of parliament, told the crowd.
WJC spokesman Michael Thaidigsmann
said: “We find it a worrying sign that these people express their anti- Semitic
and anti-Israeli ideology in such a public way.”
Reuters contributed to