Hungarian Jews heard a rallying cry at the March of the Living in Budapest on Sunday, as speakers warned of the dangers of far-right party Jobbik – just as it was doing well at the polls.
Representatives of the country’s 100,000-strong Jewish community heard World Jewish Congress President and cosmetics heir Ronald Lauder say party was ruining Hungary’s reputation abroad.
Lauder, whose grandparents left Hungary before over half a million Jews were killed, said that when it comes to country in the eyes of the world, “people see Jobbik, they see an extremist party that promotes hate”.
He continued: “It does not see its great culture, it does not see its beautiful cities, it does not remember its great and glorious past. Today, the world sees Hungary and they see Jobbik”.
The warnings seemed timely, after election results in which Jobbik increased its national share of the vote from 16 to 21 percent. While conservative Prime Minister Viktor Orban won a second four-year term, Jobbik may yet become the second-largest party if five left-wing parties cannot agree to enter a coalition.
Jobbik leaders and politicians have been repeatedly accused of anti-Semitism, and seems to revel in its battle with Jewish groups. In February, party leader Gabor Vona denied “provocation” after holding a rally in a former synagogue. Jewish groups said it was “disgusting” and “an insult to the memories” of Holocaust victims.
HUNGRY: Hungarian Jews gathered outside Dohany Street Synagogue today in memory of the Jewish holocaust victims. pic.twitter.com/nz46rEty97
— Israel News Flash (@ILNewsFlash) April 12, 2015