Hungarian state airs Iranian rhetoric calling Jewish billionaire ‘evil Zionist-American’


(JTA) — Hungarian Jews condemned a public broadcaster’s airing of an allegedly anti-Semitic rhetoric against billionaire George Soros, and a state news agency’s silence about it.

The main news program of the state MTVA channel aired on Wednesday the controversial rhetoric on Soros, who recently became the subject of hostile statements by Hungary’s top politicians over his funding for groups opposed to the policies of the rightwing government.

Some critics of this rhetoric, including Jews, say it risks stoking anti-Semitic sentiment because Soros is Jewish. But others, including the leader of Hungary’s Chabad-affiliated EMIH Jewish group, say the government has not displayed any anti-Semitic tendencies in its fight with Soros.

The news show, Hirado, carried quotes by Iran’s supreme spiritual leader, Sayyid Ali Hosseini Khamenei, calling Soros “an evil Zionist-American multi-billionaire” and stating that Soros is responsible for destabilizing and defeating former Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmedinejad’s regime.

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Soros is also funding groups widely deemed to have an anti-Israel agenda, as well as Israeli groups with a critical attitude toward the Israeli government’s policies.

Mazsihisz, the umbrella group of Hungarian Jewish communities, condemned the inclusion of this quote by Khamenei, which echoes the purest and most common

form “of anti-Jewish sentiments in the Hungarian extreme-right media,” Mazsihisz said in a statement Friday.

The statement also noted that the MTI state news agency declined to quote Mazsihisz’s statement or report about it, citing, according to Mazsihisz, concerns that it might “damage the credibility of the state media and its business interests.”

Zoltan Radnoti, the chairman of the rabbinical council of Mazsihisz, also condemned the anti-Sroos rhetoric aired on public television, labeling it “anti-Semitic incitement during primetime” in a statement.

Even before the broadcast, the campaign against Soros was “not free of anti-Semitism and should be stopped in order to prevent hatred,” Radnoti said. “The hatred which is now spread with taxpayer money.”