A leading member of Jobbik has expressed regret in the wake of a statement he made Monday saying that a list should be complied of Jews in government and parliament.
Márton Gyöngyösi, the deputy group leader of the radical-nationalist party, said before regular business in Parliament on Monday that government officials and parliamentarians of Jewish origin had unduly influenced Hungary’s policy towards the current situation in Israel and the Gaza Strip.
“It is high time to assess many MPs and government members are of Jewish origin and who present a national security risk to Hungary,” Gyöngyösi said, adding that the country’s foreign ministry had “rushed to make an oath of allegiance to Israel.”
The office of the government’s spokesman released a statement this morning saying that the government “takes the strictest possible action against every form of racism and anti-Semitic behaviour and does everything in order to ensure that malicious voices incompatible with European norms are driven back.”
Foreign ministry state secretary Zsolt Németh denied that there was any connection between the government’s policy towards the current situation in Israel and the Gaza Strip is in any way related to the number of Hungarian officials of Jewish origin.
Gyöngyösi on Tuesday said he regretted making the remark, saying it applied only to those who hold dual Hungarian-Israeli citizenship, while criticizing the press for attacking Jobbik instead of Israel.
His comments on Monday followed those made by Jobbik president Gábor Vona last week at a demonstration in front of the embassy of Israel in Budapest, in which he said that government members and MPs should be screened to determine whether any possess dual Hungarian-Israeli citizenship.
They also came a day before a major conference on hate speech organized by the Council of Europe was scheduled to open in Budapest.
In July Gyöngyösi made waves by lashing out at investigators searching for Nazi war criminals in Hungary, and in January was accused by the opposition Socialist party of engaging in Holocaust denial.