Earlier today, President of the European Jewish Congress (EJC) Dr. Moshe Kantor led a delegation to meet with Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán, President of the Council of the European Union, to discuss various issues of concern.
The Hungarian Prime Minister said that he saw eye-to-eye on many of the issues of importance to the European Jewish community that there will be an open door for the EJC on Jewish Affairs during Hungary’s presidency of the EU.
During the meeting in Brussels, Kantor raised the issue of the growing influence of the far-right in parts of Europe. He said that “extremist forces” are once again emerging from Europe and stressed the need for added vigilance. Kantor singled out the Hungarian far-right party Jobbik.
“Parties like Jobbik stand in direct opposition to the values of the European Union that Hungary now presides over. The EU presidency could be utilized as a great opportunity for Hungary to lead the way against all manifestations of extremism and hatred,” Kantor said. “This message of tolerance for the far-right expresses a deep intolerance for the Jewish community and other minorities.”
The EJC delegation and Prime Minister Orbán also reviewed the growth of anti-Semitism in parts of Europe.
“Currently, there is a dramatic escalation in anti-Semitism in Europe. For the first time, perhaps since the Holocaust, Jews in Europe are feeling unsafe and in certain communities such as Malmo, Sweden, are leaving en masse,” Kantor told Prime Minister Orbán.
During the meeting described by both as positive, Kantor also discussed the New Anti-Semitism, attacking Israel as the nation state of the Jewish People, as akin to the classical older anti-Semitism.
“The Jewish right to self-determination should be unquestioned and unflinchingly supported, especially in Europe. Those who question its legitimacy and call for a campaign of boycott, divestment and sanctions against Israel should be seen by the European Union as unacceptable. Any call from an official body or organization for a boycott against Israel should be outlawed. Anything less is immoral and illegitimate,” Kantor said.
Prime Minister Orbán agreed with the EJC’s comparison of the New Anti-Semitism, in the form of an attack on Israel and classic anti-Semitism and said both are equally unacceptable. The Hungarian Prime Minister also expressed his opposition to the campaign assaulting Israel’s legitimacy.
Furthermore, in response to the concern about Hungary’s controversial new media law, Prime Minister Orbán explained that the new law is meant specifically to combat the propaganda of the extreme right.