The Coordination Forum for Countering Antisemitism

Jobbik politician slammed for disrespecting late chief rabbi’s memory

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Budapest
– Jewish leaders in Hungary condemned a politician
from the far-right Jobbik party who refused to honor the memory of a former
chief rabbi.

 

The
Mazsihisz federation of Hungarian Jewish communities issued its condemnation Friday
against Laszlo Benke, an alderman of Budapest’s 13th district representing
Jobbik.

 

According
to Mazsihisz, Benke on Feb. 12 was the only one who remained seated despite the
request by the district’s mayor, Jozef Toth, that the aldermen stand for a minute
of silence in memory of Jozsef Schweitzer, who died on Feb. 5 at 92. Schweitzer was
an honorary resident of the district.

 

Mazsihisz
also said that Benke later boasted about his action.

 

“The
overtly racist and anti-Semitic incident clearly shows Jobbik’s real face,” the
Mazsihisz statement read. The group called
on Jobbik to condemn his actions and on Benke to apologize and resign.

 

But
in a statement also published Friday, Jobbik wrote that
the commemoration “was not relevant from the perspective of the country’s
progress and the people’s well-being.”