Hungary Court Okays Anti-Semitic Protest at Jewish Summit
A Hungarian court overturned a police ban on a planned anti-Semitic protest tomorrow, to coincide with a meeting of the World Jewish Congress in Budapest.
The court ruled that police failed to ban the protest within a 48-hour limit and also failed to provide evidence for why it wants to stop the protest, according to the ruling posted on the Metropolitan Court’s website today.
The president of the radical nationalist Jobbik party, Gabor Vona, is scheduled to speak at the event to remember “the victims of Bolshevism and Zionism,” MTI state news service reported today.
Anti-Semitism has been on the rise in Hungary, with Jobbik now the third-biggest party in Parliament. Jobbik lawmaker Marton Gyongyosi on Nov. 26 called for a list to be drawn up of Jewish legislators and government members who pose a “national security risk.” More than 500,000 Hungarians, mostly Jews, were killed in the Holocaust, according to the Budapest-based Holocaust Memorial Center.
The WJC holding its meeting in Budapest is a “strong signal” that Hungary is on a “dangerous track,” President Ronald S. Lauder said in an article published by Suddeutsche Zeitung on April 4. The plenary assembly begins on May 5.
The court’s ruling is “unacceptable” and violates the spirit of the Constitution, Prime Minister Viktor Orban said in a statement today. Orban, who will address the WJC on Sunday, said he asked the head of the Supreme Court to “review what legal tools are available” to reverse the ruling and ordered his interior minister to block the protest.
Lauder, in his article, said Orban “panders to the far- right fringe of Hungarian politics,” an allegation the premier rejected in a Yedioth Ahronot interview published today.
“We are not anti-Semites,” Orban said, according to the Israeli newspaper. “Our policy is based on zero tolerance for antisemitism.”
Jewish groups criticized the government last year for expanding the reading curriculum for schools to include books by Jozsef Nyiro, a member of Parliament during World War II and an ally of Ferenc Szalasi, a former head of the fascist Arrow Cross party who was executed for war crimes. Parliament speaker Laszlo Kover, who co-founded the ruling Fidesz party along with Orban, organized a reburial ceremony for Nyiro last year. The government has denied seeking to legitimize anti-Semitic views.
In March, the government decorated television journalist Ferenc Szaniszlo, whose program was fined for anti-Semitic and anti-Roma messages. The government asked the journalist to return the award after protests by Israel and the U.S.
Stung by the international criticism, the government invited members of the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance to visit in July and sent officials to the U.S. to meet with Jewish groups. In January, European and Israeli officials from the Inter-Parliamentary Coalition for Combating Anti- Semitism met with officials in Budapest.
Orban last month banned a motorcycle protest which had the slogan “Give Gas” and which was to have coincided with a Holocaust memorial march in Budapest. Jewish groups had complained that the protest amounted to a call for genocide.
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