BUDAPEST – European governments should consider a ban on neo-Nazi parties, the
World Jewish Congress announced on Tuesday, the final day of the global Jewish
umbrella organization’s 14th plenary assembly.
Jewish communities in more than 100 countries approved the resolution calling
for the ban due to the rise of far-right nationalist movements in Greece,
Hungary and the Ukraine.
The WJC noted what it termed the “lack of
appropriate and energetic action on the part of German democrats that led to the
rise to power of the Nazis,” as a motivating factor for the resolution urging
“parliaments and governments in countries in Europe to enact and enforce
legislation, against threats of violence, racist hate and insults and the denial
of the Holocaust.”
Parties like the Greek Golden Dawn, Ukrainian Svoboda
and Hungarian Jobbik shocked European Jews as they gained unprecedented
representation in their respective countries’ parliaments.
has accused Israelis of “buying” up Hungarian land and which has called for the
compilation of a list of Jews serving in government due to concerns over
disloyalty, is now Hungary’s third-largest party.
Angela Merkel has decided not to seek a ban on the far-right National Democratic
Party because it is not clear whether such a ban would be constitutional.
Nevertheless, the Bundesrat, the upper house of parliament that represents the
16 federal states, has begun its own effort to ban the party, he
The Jobbik party’s paramilitary arm, the New Hungarian Guard, has
reminded some local Jews of the Nazi SA “brownshirts” and local communal leader
Peter Feldmajer told The Jerusalem Post that many Holocaust survivors now “hear
the same voices that they did in the past.” However, he said, the younger
generation stands ready to “fight back.”
Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor
Orbán has spoken out against anti-Semitism, but his administration has come
under fire for the erection of statues dedicated to World War II era dictator
and Nazi-collaborator Miklós Horthy.
Despite tough words against hate at
the opening session of the WJC plenum on Sunday evening, the Jewish group was
not satisfied, issuing a statement that “actions speak louder than
“He missed a golden opportunity,” said WJC president Ronald
Lauder, who, while introducing Orbán, had specifically asked him to denounce the
Robin Shepherd, author of a study for the WJC on neo-Nazi
parties in Europe, told the assembly Fidesz was not anti- Semitic but it
competed with Jobbik for votes among nationalists frustrated by the economic
crisis and resentful of foreign influence in Hungary.
“If Orbán goes too
hard against Jobbik, he’s worried he won’t be able to scoop up Jobbik’s voters,”
Jobbik and the Golden Dawn, the WJC resolution stated, “openly
glorify Hitler’s Nazi regime; publicly utilize Nazi terminology in respect of
Jews and other minorities; and espouse the toxic combination of extreme
anti-Semitic discourse, aggressive national chauvinism, and anti-capitalist and
anti-socialist rhetoric that hallmarked the thinking and deeds of the Nazi
The resolution also called on Hungary to recognize that Jobbik
and the New Hungarian Guard “pose a fundamental threat to Hungary’s democracy,”
a sentiment echoed by Feldmajer in an interview with the Post on
“The far right is not just a problem of the Jewish people in
Hungary or the gypsies,” Feldmajer told the Post, calling it a “problem [that]
can destroy the [larger] Hungarian society.”
Feldmajer also stated that
in his estimation, the Hungarian government has taken “some steps” against
“anti-Semitic voices and the anti-Semitic movement” over the past half a year,
but that it was too early to tell how successful such efforts would prove to
The resolution called for further action on the part of the
authorities, stipulating that they “take effective measures including by
enacting and enforcing legislation, for the protection of all citizens and
residents of this country.”
The WJC urged Orbán “and other national
leaders and legislators in Europe” to sign the London Declaration on Combating
Anti-Semitism, a 2009 document calling on parliamentarians to “expose, challenge
and isolate political actors who engage in hate against Jews and target the
State of Israel as a Jewish collectivity.”
The Jewish organization also
called on countries whose “Jewish populations were decimated in the Shoah” to
effect a ban on Holocaust denial.
David Saltiel, Greek Jewish community
leader, said that his nation’s government after lobbying by the WJC, had assured
him it would soon pass a tough hate speech law that would outlaw incitement
against people because of their race, religion, ethnicity or sexual orientation;
and impose up to six years in prison on offenders.
“We think with this
law, [Golden Dawn] will be brought back to the small numbers it had before,” he
Reuters contributed to this report.
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