Hungarian lawmaker detained after burning Israeli flag

(JTA) — A Hungarian lawmaker with links to the ultranationalist Jobbik Party reportedly was detained after burning an Israeli flag in Budapest.

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Balazs Lenhardt, who left the Jobbik Party last month, burned the flag at a demonstration on Dec. 14 and was released shortly after questioning when he declined to waive his parliamentary immunity, the Hungarian news agency Magyar Távirati Iroda reported.

According to the report, Lenhardt – who is serving in parliament as an independent – was taken into custody on suspicion of vandalism.

The flag-burning event was organized by the Guardians of Carpathian Homeland Movement and the Guard Federation – two ultra-nationalist groups – in front of the Foreign Ministry, Magyar Távirati Iroda reported, and was attended by approximately 100 demonstrators. The crowd shouted slogans such as “Filthy Jews” and “To Auschwitz with all of you,” the report said.

The Anti-Defamation League has called Jobbik “openly anti-Semitic.” Last month, Jobbik lawmaker Marton Gyongyosi suggested the government should list all Jews in Hungary who posed a “national security threat.”

His comments were later condemned by Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban, who promised to protect Hungary’s Jewish population.

The Foreign Ministry condemned the acts that took place at the far-right demonstration on Dec. 14, calling them “shameful, inflammatory incidents insulting a minority.” The ministry said that it also condemns the burning of the national flag of another country as an act which “incites hate.”

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