Budapest, May 12 (MTI) – The Unified Hungarian Jewish Congregation’s chief rabbi, Slomó Köves, told public television on Friday that he did not know of any internationally accepted norms that would consider the mention of US financier George Soros’s name as anti-Semitism.
Köves’s comments were made after a Hungarian government official sent a letter to Frans Timmermans, first vice-president of the European Commission, calling on him to quit his post, citing comments the commissioner made in an interview to German daily Die Zeit concerning his view that Prime Minister Viktor Orbán had been motivated by anti-Semitism when criticising Soros during his recent speech in the European Parliament.
The rabbi cited fresh survey data suggesting that 64 percent of Hungarians were not anti-Semitic, while 20 percent hated Jewish people to the extreme. Fully 16 percent were classed as moderately anti-Semitic.
He said that in 2015 there were 42 acts of hatred registered and the majority of these were verbal attacks. In France, by contrast, 1,500 similar acts were registered and half were manifested physically, he added.
From the point of view of the Jewish community, the primary consideration is that Jewish people should be able to express their identity. “There should be security and physical safety; and legal safety, as well as spiritual and intellectual welfare, should be guaranteed,” he said.