Jewish federation calls on Orbán to drop Soros billboard campaign – UPDATE
The head of the Federation of Jewish Communities in Hungary (Mazsihisz) has called on Prime Minister Viktor Orbán to call an end to the government’s recent billboard campaign depicting US financier George Soros.
Though the campaign is “not openly anti-Semitic”, it is capable of inciting anti-Semitic sentiments in people, András Heisler said in a statement on Thursday.
Referring to the recent appearance of anti-Semitic graffiti on some of the billboards in Budapest, Heisler said Mazsihisz’s fears were not unfounded.
He said members of the government had “a historical responsibility to prevent the spread of hate and division” in Hungary.
“I ask you to take action so that this nightmare can end as soon as possible,” Heisler wrote.
Earlier in the day, István Hollik, a lawmaker of the co-ruling Christian Democrats, told a press conference that the government had zero tolerance for anti-Semitism.
Asked to comment on an earlier letter by Heisler warning that the campaign could stir up anti-Semitic sentiments, Hollik said the reason the government fought against illegal migration was so that it could protect Hungarians and Hungary’s Jewish community. He added that Soros, on the other hand, “is putting pressure on the Hungarian government” over illegal migration. “This is what the billboard campaign is about,” Hollik said.
As we wrote, PM Orbán met David Lau, Ashkenazi chief rabbi of Israel, for talks in Budapest today.
Speaking at a weekly press briefing, government office chief János Lázár denied that the billboard campaign had anything to do with Soros’s identity or origins. Its aim is to draw attention to “the danger Soros presents” in connection with migration, he said. The Hungarian government is ready to protect all Jewish citizens and has declared zero tolerance for anti-Semitism, he added.
Prime Minister Viktor Orbán will send a written answer to Heisler, Lázár said.
Photo: Daily News Hungary