April 12th, 2012
Prosecutor investigating anti-Semitic remarks by Jobbik MP
Hungary’s Central Prosecutor’s Office of Investigations has launched a probe into recent anti-Semitic remarks made by a radical nationalist MP in an address to parliament, the prosecutor’s spokesman Geza Fazekas told MTI on Wednesday.
The investigation was triggered by an appeal by Slomo Koves, head of the Unified Hungarian Jewish Congregation (EMIH), who said that Zsolt Barath, deputy of the opposition Jobbik party, had in his speech publicly incited hatred against the Jewish community.
Prime Minister Viktor Orban held a meeting with Koves on Wednesday and reiterated that the government condemned Barath’s remarks and that the government would guarantee to all minorities that they could live safely, the prime minister’s spokesman Peter Szijjarto said. Koves said clear boundaries must be set up and words must be followed by actions, Szijjarto added. Koves added that for 70 years, Hungarian parliament had not heard such a severe case of instigation and it is therefore very important that the prime minister had clearly stood up against it.
Last Tuesday, Barath spoke in parliament in honour of a young girl and quoted allegations from the time of her death in 1882 that she had been killed by Jews in Tiszaeszlar, a village in NE Hungary. Barath said the judiciary at the time had sought to conceal this and the judge, “under outside pressure” had acquitted the accused. The Tiszaeszlar blood libel is a recurring synonym for Anti-semitism.
The government said Barath’s remarks were completely unacceptable and that it resolutely condemned all manifestations directed openly or obliquely against a social group or a minority in Hungary.
In wake of the speech, Parliament on Tuesday adopted a Socialist proposal with an overwhelming majority for setting up a permanent ethics committee to penalise racist, anti-Semitic, xenophobic and islamophobic attitudes by MPs.