Israeli Embassy in Hungary decries Soros-Hitler comparison

“We utterly reject the use and abuse of the memory of the Holocaust for any purpose, as unfortunately appeared in an op-ed today."

Billionaire investor George Soros attends the Schumpeter Award in Vienna, Austria June 21, 2019. (photo credit: REUTERS)
Billionaire investor George Soros attends the Schumpeter Award in Vienna, Austria June 21, 2019.
(photo credit: REUTERS)
The Israeli Embassy in Hungary has criticized an article by a high-ranking official in the ruling Fidesz Party that compared George Soros to Adolf Hitler.
On Saturday night, the embassy tweeted: “We utterly reject the use and abuse of the memory of the Holocaust for any purpose, as unfortunately appeared in an op-ed today. There is no place for connecting the worst crime in human history, or its perpetrators, to any contemporary debate, no matter how essential.”
Earlier in the day, Hungarian pro-government website Origo published an article that called Soros the “liberal Fuhrer.” It was written by Szilárd Demeter, director-general of the Petofi Museum of Literature, one of its major cultural institutions, and a government cultural commissioner.
The article was meant to defend Hungary and Poland in a dispute with Brussels over the planned EU budget. It said Europe is “George Soros’s gas chamber” and that Hungary and Poland are “the new Jews... they are actually told that we have a big nose, we stink and we have lice. We are considered inferior beings.”
The American Jewish Committee in Central Europe said the article was “horrendous.”
“Such ignorance of history & minimizing the Holocaust have to be called out,” the AJC tweeted.
Soros, 90, is a Hungarian-born billionaire who survived the Holocaust by hiding in a family friend’s home. He supports progressive causes around the world, leading many right-wing politicians to point fingers at him. In some cases, the criticism has crossed into antisemitic conspiracy theory, with Soros playing the role of a Jewish financier controlling politicians.
Soros “pushes the puppets on [the] worldwide chessboard,” Demeter wrote.
In a statement on Sunday, he said he would withdraw the article. His critics were right in saying that “the Nazi parallel could unintentionally hurt the memory of the victims,” Demeter said.
The main leftist opposition party, the Democratic Coalition, called for Demeter’s immediate dismissal.
“The Democratic Coalition expects from the government that Szilard Demeter should be unemployed by the end of today,” it said. “A man like him has no place in public life, not just in a European country but anywhere in the world.”
Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban has targeted Soros. He evicted the Central European University, which was funded by Soros, and campaign billboards he used in 2017 said, “Let’s not let Soros have the last laugh.”
Soros has donated to left-wing Israeli groups, including Breaking the Silence and Gisha, as well as groups outside Israel that have promoted boycotts and filed war-crimes suits against Israeli officials.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu blamed Soros in 2018 for a campaign against the government’s plan to deport Sudanese and Eritrean migrants to a third country in Africa. Soros has donated hundreds of thousands of dollars to the New Israel Fund, which fought the repatriation plan. Soros denied involvement in the campaign, but he expressed support for its aims.
Reuters contributed to this report.