Viktor Orban reportedly sends letter defending Hungarian magazine accused of antisemitism

Orban also accused World Jewish Congress President Ronald Lauder of having a "left-wing and liberal bias" in Hungarian public affairs.

By JERUSALEM POST STAFF
December 6, 2018 19:46
2 minute read.
HUNGARY’S PRIME Minister Viktor Orban arrives for a Visegrad Group meeting in Brussels last December

HUNGARY’S PRIME Minister Viktor Orban arrives for a Visegrad Group meeting in Brussels last December.. (photo credit: REUTERS)

 
X

Dear Reader,
As you can imagine, more people are reading The Jerusalem Post than ever before. Nevertheless, traditional business models are no longer sustainable and high-quality publications, like ours, are being forced to look for new ways to keep going. Unlike many other news organizations, we have not put up a paywall. We want to keep our journalism open and accessible and be able to keep providing you with news and analyses from the frontlines of Israel, the Middle East and the Jewish World.

As one of our loyal readers, we ask you to be our partner.

For $5 a month you will receive access to the following:

  • A user experience almost completely free of ads
  • Access to our Premium Section
  • Content from the award-winning Jerusalem Report and our monthly magazine to learn Hebrew - Ivrit
  • A brand new ePaper featuring the daily newspaper as it appears in print in Israel

Help us grow and continue telling Israel’s story to the world.

Thank you,

Ronit Hasin-Hochman, CEO, Jerusalem Post Group
Yaakov Katz, Editor-in-Chief

UPGRADE YOUR JPOST EXPERIENCE FOR 5$ PER MONTH Show me later

Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban reportedly sent a letter to Ronald Lauder, president of the World Jewish Congress, on Thursday, defending Figyelo magazine.



Last week, the business magazine was accused of publishing an antisemitic cover when it portrayed Andras Heisler – head of the Federation of Hungarian Jewish Communities (Mazsihisz) – amid falling Hungarian banknotes.

Be the first to know - Join our Facebook page.


Orban wrote to Lauder saying his criticism is a limit on freedom of speech, Channel 10 reported.

"I am surprised however that you are asking me to limit the freedom of speech and the freedom of press," Orban wrote. "Despite all my respect for you, I cannot fulfill such a request... I am also confused by the fact that you seem to grab a pen and paper only when a left-wing public figure Jewish descent is at the centre of a debate."

In a letter last Sunday, Lauder wrote to Orban saying the image "is one of the oldest and vilest caricatures of the Jewish people and it places not just the magazine, but all of Hungary in a very bad light. The timing of this is especially critical because people in the United States, and elsewhere, are paying greater attention to the upsurge in anti-Semitism throughout Europe and, especially, in Hungary."

"While I understand and respect the boundaries of a free press, I believe your strong, public condemnation of this very clear attack on all Jewish people, would not just distance you, personally, from this most disgusting hatred, worthy of the Nazi era, but it would also place your government and all of Hungary in a better light," Lauder also wrote

Orban also accused Lauder of having a "left-wing and liberal bias" in Hungarian public affairs.

Despite being accused of antisemitism during his campaign by running anti-immigration billboards portraying billionaire Jewish Holocaust survivor George Soros, he wrote that he has a "zero tolerance" policy of antisemitism.


"As you well know, the government of Hungary pursues a policy of zero tolerance regarding anti-Semitism," he wrote.

The magazine cover was widely panned as antisemitic. Jewish Agency Chairman Isaac Herzog issued a statement, saying that his organization was “appalled by the antisemitic insinuations” made against Heisler.

“This unacceptable stereotypic smear must be rejected and fought by all persons of good will,” he said.

And the American Jewish Committee issued a statement saying, “Jews with money is a familiar, disgraceful antisemitic trope.”

According to the statement, “This attack on Hungary’s Jewish community is shameful, especially since Prime Minister Orbán has declared a ‘zero tolerance policy’ on antisemitism.”

Herb Keinon and JTA contributed to this report.

Join Jerusalem Post Premium Plus now for just $5 and upgrade your experience with an ads-free website and exclusive content. Click here>>

Related Content

JEWISH MEN share a conversation in Golders Green, London, in January 2015.
December 18, 2018
London Jews fear Brexit repercussions amid housing slump

By CNAAN LIPHSHIZ