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Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs
Strategic Alliances for a Secure, Connected, and Prosperous Region

Anti-Semitism Viewed from the Hungarian Perspective

Filed under: Anti-Semitism

Remarks at a Jerusalem Center Strategic Roundtable on Assessing the Role of Institutions in the Fight Against Anti-Semitism, October 20, 2020.

We, in Hungary, believe that combating anti-Semitism is a moral and a security issue. Given our history, Hungary will always have a special relationship with its Jewish community and with the State of Israel. In many ways, Hungary’s current government completed the democratic transition in Hungary, ending the post-Communist era. This is also true for the attitudes to the Jewish community and Israel: the government headed by PM Viktor Orbán is the most pro-Jewish and pro-Israel government Hungary has ever had. Orbán also declared a zero-tolerance policy against anti-Semitism.

All policy-makers need to systematize educational programs in Hungary so that nobody can become an adult, voting citizen without knowing about the murder of more than half-a-million of our Hungarian compatriots in 1944 and the role of the Hungarian government of that time. This is all the duty of education and learning – not only a duty but an obligation. For this reason, the government has also adopted and translated the IHRA definition of anti-Semitism in 2019.

We have drawn two conclusions from the Shoah: on the one side, that it cannot happen again that Hungary does not protect its citizens, and on the other hand, that Hungary is committed to a strong Jewish state capable of defending itself. Considering the growing number of anti-Semitic incidents in several European countries, Hungary is widely regarded as one of the safest European countries in protecting against such events.

The Hungarian government considers the peaceful coexistence of Jews and Christians and a diverse Jewish community as values to be protected. One of the essential phenomena in present Hungary is the revival of the Jewish religious and cultural life: award-winning motion pictures like the “Son of Saul,” literature like the Nobel Prize winner “Faithless,” the global success of the traditional Jewish Klezmer music or the hosting the 2019 European Maccabi Games, which was held in Budapest are just some of the examples.

Hungary continues to stand by Israel in the international for a. We believe that many countries formulate their positions on Israel and anti-Semitism based on domestic political grounds and take a pro-Palestinian stance due to the expectations of many voters in various international bodies (like the EU and UN).

Hungary always supported the United States’ efforts in the Middle East. Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade Péter Szijjártó attended the signing of the peace agreements between Israel and the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain (Abraham Accords) as the only EU foreign minister.