Hungarian Jews accuse right-wing government of ‘hate speech’

Hungarian Jews accuse right-wing government of ‘hate speech’

Jewish leaders' criticism came after the prime minister launched an advertising campaign

Stephen is the Jewish News' Foreign Editor

Hungarian Prime Minister  Viktor Orban
Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban

Hungarian Jews have accused the right-wing government of “hate speech” over its efforts to link refugees to terrorism, warning that politicians’ language was reminiscent of the Nazis’ in the 1930s.

It comes after Prime Minister Viktor Orbán launched a huge state-sponsored advertising campaign against a Brussels-inspired plan to allocate country’s refugees from Africa and the Middle East to each European country

“No one can say how many terrorists have arrived so far among the immigrants,” read one pamphlet sent to every Hungarian household. Another warned that European cities had become “no-go” areas because of migrants.

The advertising campaign against refugees – which was five times as large as any other campaign ever launched in the country – came ahead of a referendum on whether to take less than 1,300 refugees allocated to Hungary. While less than half the population voted, of those who did, 98 percent said ‘no’ to the refugees.

“The public discourse regarding migrants has begun to switch over towards the direction of hate speech,” said András Heisler, head of Jewish umbrella group Mazsihisz, in an interview with The Guardian.

“For us, it is not acceptable to incite hatred against not only Jews but also against Roma (gypsies), Christians, gays, or migrants. We know hatred behaves like a virus: it can [slowly] make sick the whole of society.”

Rabbi Zoltán Radnóti of Beth Shalom Synagogue in Budapest had earlier said: “It should [be] evident in the post-Shoah Europe that those who want to flee should be able to do so.”

Award-winning Hungarian film director Diana Groo, whose work focuses on Jewish history, said: “The campaign of hatred reminds me very much of the Nazi propaganda, and the film Der Ewige Jude (The Eternal Jew). It reminds us of the 1930s.”

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