ICCJ visit Budapest

On Wednesday and Thursday, November 28–29, a delegation of the International Council of Christians and Jews will visit the Hungarian capital Budapest. For quite some time troublesome news is coming from Hungary. As a result of a more nationalist turn Hungarian politics have taken, reports on xenophobic and anti-Semitic incidents have reached us.

As ICCJ has two member organizations in Hungary, what better can be done than to be informed by our colleagues in Budapest about the situation? Meetings with representatives of the Jewish and Christian faith communities also are planned. Rabbi Ehud Bandel, head of the ICCJ delegation, wrote the following letter to our Hungarian friends:

Dear friends and colleagues in Budapest,

I am writing to you as the 1st Vice President of the International Council of Christians and Jews and the head of the ICCJ delegation to Hungary at the end of this month.

The ICCJ was founded in 1947 in reaction to the Holocaust and currently serves as the umbrella organization of 38 national dialogue organizations world-wide. It’s mission includes promoting understanding and cooperation between Christians and Jews based on respect for each other's identity and integrity; addressing issues of human rights and human dignity deeply enshrined in the traditions of Judaism and Christianity; and countering all forms of prejudice, intolerance, discrimination, racism and the misuse of religion for national and political domination.

More than six decades after the founding of our council mistrust, prejudice and injustice still afflict the international community, and we are confronted almost daily with these issues. We have become aware of a political situation in Hungary that might be difficult for some. Therefore, the ICCJ Board decided to send a delegation to Budapest in order to meet with our Hungarian member organizations as well as leaders of both the Jewish and Christian communities to try to learn from first-hand about the situation in Hungary.

We would like to hear your opinion about the situation and what role interfaith dialogue organizations and the ICCJ might play in combating hate speech, discrimination and antisemitism in Hungary. We are eager to invite organizations within Hungary to join us in building a more inclusive global interfaith community. We hope that you will consider partnering with us.

The ICCJ delegation will visit Budapest on Wednesday and Thursday, November 28-29. The delegation will consist of five members: 
- Mrs Liliane Apotheker, ICCJ Executive Board member
- Rabbi Ehud Bandel, 1st Vice-President ICCJ
- Rebecca Brückner, chair of the ICCJ Young Leadership council
- Dr Markus Himmelbauer, General Secretary of the Austrian CCJ and
- Rev Dick Pruiksma, General Secretary of the ICCJ
We are looking forward to seeing you in Budapest.

Kind regards,
Rabbi Ehud Bandel