Hungary / 30-08-2012
Pianist András Schiff: the European Union overlooks antisemitism in Hungary
“If I were a Jew living in Hungary these days, I would leave immediately.” famed Pianist András Schiff yesterday told Ha’Aretz. Schiff, native of Hungary, made his statements in reaction to the antisemitic exclamations heard in the course of playing of “Hatikvah” during a friendly soccer match between the Hungarian and Israeli teams that took place in Budapest on August 15. He reiterated his statement that he would never again set foot in his native country.
Yesterday Schiff sent a letter to the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra, asking for assistance in making his position known to the Israeli public. Schiff, who is scheduled to come next week to Jerusalem to participate in the International Chamber Music Festival, remarked that the fact that Jews living in Hungary are not leaving it is a demonstration of the maxim that “When a Jew is a fool, he is a complete fool.”
Regarding Israelis who go for visits to Hungary, and those of them who even purchase assets there, he wrote: “Are they naïve, or plain stupid?” But he noted that worst of all, in his eyes, is the lack of international reaction, mainly the lack of reaction on the part of European Union leaders – concerning the flourishing of antisemitism in an EU Member State. Jew-hatred and defamation are accepted and tolerated in Hungary, he stressed, and not just in the discourse of the masses. He added that in certain circles Holocaust denial has become Holocaust acceptance. The ruling party and Prime Minister Viktor Urban refrain from denouncing these developments for fear of losing voters.