July 7th, 2017

Jewish federation Mazsihisz calls on gov’t to drop anti-Soros billboard campaign

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. 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.

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 claimed. 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, he said.

Meanwile, Lázár denied that a planned visit by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s to Hungary was under threat due to Jewish protests over Prime Minister Viktor Orbán’s recent praise of post-WW1 regent of Hungary Miklós Horthy. The visit has been in preparation for a long time and it is expected to strengthen ties between the two countries, he insisted.

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