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Hungarian church leaders protest against anti-Semitic remarks of right-wing MP

1 05 2012

Militant wing of Hungarian ultra-right party Jobbik

Leaders of the Hungarian Catholic, Reformed and Lutheran churches have protested against anti-Semitic remarks made by a radical nationalist MP in an address to parliament.

“It is our duty to protest against incitement of hatred,” the three church dignitaries said in a joint statement to be published in the May issue of Szombat, the monthly of the Federation to Maintain Jewish Culture in Hungary.

The document, sent to MTI on Wednesday, was signed by Cardinal Peter Erdo, president of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference, Bishop Gusztav Bolcskei, President of the General Synod of the Reformed Church, and Bishop Peter Gancs, President of the Lutheran Church.

In early April Zsolt Barath, a lawmaker of the radical nationalist Jobbik party, spoke in parliament in honour of a young girl and quoted allegations from the time of her death in 1882 that she had been killed by Jews in Tiszaeszlar, a village in NE Hungary. Barath said the judiciary at the time had sought to conceal this and the judge, “under outside pressure” had acquitted the accused. The Tiszaeszlar blood libel is a recurring synonym for Anti-Semitism.

The government said Barath’s remarks were completely unacceptable and that it resolutely condemned all manifestations directed openly or obliquely against a social group or a minority in Hungary.

The opposition LMP and Socialist parties called on the lawmaker to resign.

The Central Prosecutor’s Office started an investigation triggered by an appeal by Slomo Koves (pictured on the left), head of the Unified Hungarian Jewish Congregation.

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