Statement on situation Hungary

A delegation of the International Council of Christians and Jews arrived in Budapest to examine the situation of antisemitism in Hungary just two days after Marton Gyöngyösi, deputy of the Hungarian right-wing Jobbik party, delivered a hate speech in the Hungarian Parliament in which he called for making lists of Hungarian Jews who pose a "risk to national security".

The visit, which was planned long before this recent worrying development, was initiated by the ICCJ Board in order to show our solidarity and support for our Hungarian member organizations: the Hungarian Council of Christians and Jews and the Hungarian Christian-Jewish Society, and to meet with leaders of both the Jewish and Christian communities in an attempt to learn from first-hand about the current situation in Hungary.

During all its meetings, it became clear to our delegation; that antisemitic discourse is gaining more and more legitimacy and acceptance within the present Hungarian society and Hungarian politics, in particular. “The time has come to stand up and to resist the apparent antisemitic and xenophobic tendencies," said ICCJ’s General Secretary Revd. Dick Pruiksma.  According to Rabbi Ehud Bandel, 1st Vice President of the ICCJ who headed the delegation: “Unlike some new forms of western antisemitism, which is predominantly anti-Zionist and anti-Israel, there is nothing new about Hungarian antisemitism, it is unfortunately, the bad old antisemitism which cynically exploits economic and political crisis, putting the blame on the Jews who allegedly control the media and the economy."

In an urgent letter sent to the Federation of Jewish Communities in Hungary in support for the rally that was held on December 2nd opposite the Hungarian Parliament, Revd. Pruiksma wrote: “We want to express our solidarity with all Jews and Christians in Hungary, indeed with all men and women of good will in your country, to combat the extremism that provides a fertile ground for reviving the evil spirits of the past."

At a conference call of the ICCJ’s Executive Board held on December 4th it was decided among other things to invite ICCJ member organizations to join us in writing letters of concern to their respective governments, the Hungarian embassy in their country and to the press, and to further the contacts and cooperation between our Young Leadership Council and Hungarian Jewish organizations such as the Balint Jewish Community Center and Haver.

More reports to follow soon.