BUDAPEST — On Nov. 27, a Hungarian lawmaker from the far-right Jobbik party openly called for Jews to be registered on lists as threats to national security.
In the wake of international outrage at the Nazi-style request, as well as a protest outside the legislature in Budapest, lawmaker Marton Gyongyosi has refused to resign.
Gyongyosi subsequently claimed his words were taken out of context and that he was only speaking about Hungarian citizens who also hold Israeli passports. In response to the incident, hundreds of protesters gathered outside parliament, some wearing the yellow stars similar to the ones Jews were forced to wear during the Holocaust. Many yelled, “Nazis go home” at Jobbik members, according to Reuters.
The situation erupted following Israel’s recent conflict with Hamas in Gaza.
Gyongyosi spoke in the Hungarian parliament, saying, “I think such a conflict makes it timely to tally up people of Jewish ancestry who live here, especially in the Hungarian parliament and the Hungarian government, who, indeed, pose a national security risk to Hungary.”
The Simon Wiesenthal Center in Jerusalem called the remarks “a sad commentary on the current rise of antisemitism in Hungary.”
“This is the shame of Europe, the shame of the world,” said Gusztav Zoltai, a Holocaust survivor and executive director of the Hungarian Jewish Congregations’ Association.
The parliamentarian was not disciplined and did not suffer any penalty for his comments. He has steadfastly refused to resign.
His remarks were denounced by Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban’s office, although he only did so 16 hours after the offending comments were uttered. Jewish groups in Hungary were critical of the delay.
With files from Andy Levy-Ajzenkopf