Deputy Director-General for Europe Raphael Shutz expressed deep concern at the recent series of antisemitic incidents and serious statements within Hungarian political circles. (Communicated by the MFA Spokesperson)

The Hungarian Ambassador to Israel, Mr. Andor Nagy, was summoned (February 13, 2014) to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs for a meeting at which Deputy Director-General for Europe Raphael Shutz expressed deep concern at the recent series of antisemitic incidents and serious statements within Hungarian political circles which cast doubt upon the readiness of Hungarian society to truly and courageously come to grips with its past.

A number of incidents which occurred during recent months indicate a worrying trend in Hungarian society, among them:

– A conference held at the House of Terror Museum, which discussed the place of the antisemitic Hungarian leader Miklos Horthy in Hungarian history and the attempts to rewrite his collaboration with the Nazi regime.
– The intention to build a new memorial marking the German occupation of Hungary in March 1944, ignoring Hungarian collaboration in the deportation and extermination of its Jewish community.
– The recent comment by the director of the Veritas Historical Research Institute, who described the deportation and massacre of 20,000 Hungarian Jews by the Nazis and their Hungarian collaborators as "an immigration office procedure" against "stateless" Jews.
– The permission recently granted to the NFP – "Party for National Revolution", the official face of the neo-Nazi Hungarian Dawn Movement – to take part in the upcoming parliamentarian elections (April 6, 2014), despite its antisemitic and racist ideology. The party’s participation was approved by the national election committee and the courts in Budapest.

All this reflects a worrying trend of the rewriting of the history of the Holocaust and the role played by Hungary under the Horthy regime, as well as repeated antisemitic motifs and lenient reactions by Hungarian political figures to these phenomena.

This year, 2014, marks the 70th anniversary of the Holocaust of Hungarian Jewry. Israel welcomed the decision by the Hungarian government to hold a series of events marking this date. However, the worrying trend outlined above contradicts and undermines the meaning these events. It should also be noted that Israel supported the selection of Hungary to assume the chairmanship of the International Holocaust Remebrance Alliance (IHRA) beginning in March 2015. As chairman, Hungary is expected to lead the international Holocaust remembrance activities. The trend described above also raises questions as to Hungary’s ability to fulfill this important mission.