Thousands protest against far-right Hungarian party

Following Jobbik party's call to draw up list of Jews in Hungary, thousands of people turn out to protest against incitement.

Hungarians protest 370 (photo credit: Bernadett Szabo/Reuters)
Hungarians protest 370
(photo credit: Bernadett Szabo/Reuters)
Thousands of people turned out for a political rally in front of Budapest’s parliament building on Sunday afternoon to demonstrate against the far-Right Jobbik party.
Last week, Jobbik’s deputy leader Marton Gyongyosi said in the Hungarian parliament that a list should be drawn up of Jews in Hungary, especially those in parliament and the Hungarian government, “who pose a national security risk to Hungary.”
Several senior Hungarian politicians spoke during Sunday’s rally, including Antal Rogan, the parliamentary faction leader of the ruling Fidesz party.
Addressing the huge crowd, Rogan declared that genocide always begins with lists, and said that it is unacceptable not to learn from the past 100 years of history, Hungary’s ATV television channel reported.
Dr. Efraim Zuroff, director of the Simon Wiesenthal Center in Israel, said that demonstration was an “appropriate response to the outrageous anti-Semitic and anti-Roma [Gypsy] incitement by the Jobbik party and Gyongyosi’s speech,” and that the rally was a “positive way of delegitimizing the party’s hatred.”
“The Jobbik party speaks in terms which should be unacceptable in the EU and in Hungary,” Zuroff said. “They are a poster-boy for the new anti-Semitism, which combines old hatred of Jews with the hatred of Israel.”
Zuroff also commented that the party should serve as an example of what can go wrong with “the right-hand side of the political map when economic crises strike.”
In addition, deputy Jobbik chairman and Hungarian MP Elod Novak demanded that a fellow lawmaker resign because she has Israeli citizenship, the Jewish Telegraphic Agency reported on Sunday.
According to JTA, Novak said during a news conference on Thursday that Katalin Ertsey of the liberal LMP Party should step down because she holds an Israeli passport in addition to her Hungarian one.
Jobbik is a fierce critic of Israel and has expressed solidarity with the Palestinians and Iran, against what it calls “Israeli aggression.”
The party is also accused of anti-Roma incitement, and exploiting the negative feelings towards Hungary’s Roma minority is a central feature of the party’s political focus.