Some 120 people wearing yellow stars lined up in front of Parliament’s office building in central Budapest on Thursday to express their solidarity with retired Chief Rabbi Jozsef Schweitzer, who was verbally insulted in the street two days ago.
On Tuesday, Schweitzer (90) was approached by an unidentified passer-by, who shouted “I hate all Jews”.
Participants told MTI that the demonstration was organised as a Facebook-initiative in reaction to recent “atrocities” against the Jewish community.
The insult against the retired rabbi has been condemned by President Janos Ader, the government, Hungary’s largest churches, political parties, and the National Roma Government.
Schweitzer said he was grateful for the outpouring of sympathy, and he also confirmed that the president of the republic, Janos Ader, had paid him a personal visit.
“There are bad things which have no good in them, but in this case there was really a lot of good,” the 89 year-old academic said. “I should like to say thanks to everyone who expressed their sympathy.”
He himself was not the main issue, he said, but rather such actions as the insult he suffered should not happen in society.
“This time hatred was not generated. Hatred has roots which are perhaps of an ideological, economic and political nature. Whoever wishes to live in a democratic state should undertake a revision of these questions,” he said, adding that Cardinal Peter Erdo, Hungary’s Catholic primate, had started his recent speech at a commemoration of Holocaust victims by saying that anti-Semitism was not compatible with Christianity, and Ader had said that it led to the degeneration of society.
An unidentified man verbally attacked Schweitzer near his home in central Budapest on Tuesday, telling him “I hate all Jews”.