Thursday, 20 December 2012

Hungarian Minister reveals he’s Jewish ‘whether you like it or not’

BUDAPEST (EJP) --- A Hungarian Minister confronted the country’s recent anti-Semitism row head on when he told parliament he was Jewish. After the far-right Jobbik party was roundly criticised by both the government and Jewish community alike for calling for a registry of Hungary’s prominent Jews to be drawn up in the interests of “national security”, the State Secretary of the Development Ministry Janos Fonagy revealed to cross-party politicians: “My mother and father were Jewish, and so am I, whether you like it or not”.
In a direct challenge to Jobbik’s 47 parliamentary representatives in the 386-seat chamber, he added: "I cannot choose, I was born into this. But you can choose, and you have chosen this path," as he cautioned they would have to “bear history’s judgement”.
Last month, Jobbik’s foreign policy cabinet head Marton Gyongyosi said that the recent Gaza escalation “makes it timely to tally up people of Jewish ancestry who live here, especially i the Hungarian government, who, indeed, pose a national security risk to Hungary”.
In an apparent response to his concerns, Fonagy specified he did not have dual citizenship with Israel and was not religious.
Jobbik’s stranglehold on the youth vote, amongst which it commands the highest proportion of support of any political party with 20% approval ratings, and its overall position as the country’s third largest political party is largely attributed to the European nation’s ailing economy and increasing social tensions caused y virulent austerity measures implemented to overcome the entrenched recession.
It is far from the first time Jobbik has found itself embroiled in an anti-Semitism scandal, after MP Gyongyosi came under fire earlier this year for appearing to question the number of Hungarian Jews murdered and deported during the Holocaust, as he claimed it had become a political business to elevate the numbers.
He said that Israel’s treatment of the Palestinians is a "Nazi system" and compared Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman to Joseph Goebbels.
"The Jews don’t have the right to talk about what happened in the Second World War," he said, adding that "Jews are looking to build outside of Israel. There is a kind of expansionism in their behaviour”.
Whilst the Hungarian chief rabbi Slomo Koves concede that not “all people who vote for Jobbik are anti-Semites”, he also warned that “if Jobbik brings it (anti-Semitic rhetoric)into the public discourse, even people who were not anti-Semites before, they feel like it's a way to show your frustration... The problem is that this has an effect on the state of mind of all Hungarians”.
An estimated 550,000 Hungarian Jews were killed during the Holocaust, and about 100,000 of the country's current 10 million-strong  population are Jewish.


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