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Far-Right Hungarian Politician Calls for 'List of Jews' Who Pose 'National Security Threat'


Eerily familiar.

Márton Gyöngyösi (Photo source: World Jewish Congress)\n

Márton Gyöngyösi (Photo source: World Jewish Congress)

TheBlaze has reported extensively on the rise of anti-Semitism, not just in the U.S., but particularly across Europe. Of course today, this type of racism can be more difficult to detect, as much of it is cloaked behind the guise of anti-Zionism or a general bias against Israel.

Some strains of this age-old bigotry, however, are as obvious as those manifested in Nazi Germany. Case in point is the disturbing revelation that Marton Gyongyosi, a leader of the Hungary's third-largest political party, Jobbik, recently called on his government to draw up a "list of Jews" who he believes pose a "national security risk" to the country.

Needless to say people of good will along with Jewish citizens of Hungry -- particularly those who recall the Holocaust -- are deeply disturbed by the incident. For his part, Gyongyosi maintains that his list, which would also include Jewish members of parliament, is necessary due to increased tensions over the Gaza conflict. Reuters adds:

Opponents have condemned frequent anti-Semitic slurs and tough rhetoric against the Roma minority by Gyongyosi's party as populist point scoring ahead of elections in 2014. [...]

Gyongyosi's call came after Foreign Ministry State Secretary Zsolt Nemeth said Budapest favored a peaceful solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict as benefiting both Israelis with Hungarian ancestry, Hungarian Jews and Palestinians in Hungary. [...]

Gyongyosi, 35, is the son of a diplomat who grew up mostly in the Middle East and Asia -- Egypt, Iraq, Afghanistan and India -- and whose office is decorated by Iranian and Turkish souvenirs. He graduated with a degree in business and political science from Trinity College in Dublin in 2000.

"I am a Holocaust survivor," said Gusztav Zoltai, executive director of the Hungarian Jewish Congregations' Association. "For people like me this generates raw fear, even though it is clear that this only serves political ends. This is the shame of Europe, the shame of the world."

According to a video posted on Jobbik's website on Monday, Gyongyosi, who leads his party's foreign policy cabinet, told the Hungarian parliament:

"I know how many people with Hungarian ancestry live in Israel, and how many Israeli Jews live in Hungary...I think such a conflict makes it timely to tally up people of Jewish ancestry who live here, especially in the Hungarian Parliament and the Hungarian government, who, indeed, pose a national security risk to Hungary."

The Hungarian government swiftly condemned Gyongyosi's remarks.

"The government strictly rejects extremist, racist, anti-Semitic voices of any kind and does everything to suppress such voices," the government spokesman's office said.

Parliamentary speaker, Laszlo Kover, who is from the ruling Fidesz party, also issued a statement on Tuesday in which he condemned the remarks and called for stricter house rules that would sanction such behavior, according to Reuters.

Gyongyosi, meanwhile, tried to downplay his anti-Semitic remarks Tuesday, saying he was referring to citizens with dual Israeli-Hungarian citizenship.

"I apologize to my Jewish compatriots for my declarations that could be misunderstood," he said on Jobbik's website. Reuters adds:

He later told a news conference that he would not resign and considered the matter "closed," national news agency MTI reported.

Jobbik's anti-Semitic discourse often evokes a centuries-old blood libel - the accusation that Jews used Christians' blood in religious rituals.

"Jobbik has moved from representing medieval superstition (of the blood libel) to openly Nazi ideologies," wrote Slomo Koves, chief rabbi of the Unified Hungarian Jewish Congregation.

Reuters provides the following background on Jobbik and its checkered past concerning anti-Semitism:

Jobbik registered as a political party in 2003, and gained increasing influence as it radicalized gradually, vilifying Jews and the country's 700,000 Roma.

The group gained notoriety after founding the Hungarian Guard, an unarmed vigilante group reminiscent of World War Two-era far-right groups. It entered Parliament at the 2010 elections and holds 44 of 386 seats. [...]

More than half of Hungary's electorate is undecided and having retained its voter base, some analysts say Jobbik could hold the balance of power in the 2014 elections between Fidesz and the fragmented left-wing opposition.

Between 500,000 and 600,000 Hungarian Jews died in the Holocaust, according to the Holocaust Memorial Centre in Budapest.

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