Hungarians protest ultranationalist Jobbik party’s anti-Semitism

BUDAPEST, Hungary (JTA) — Thousands demonstrated in front of the Hungarian Parliament building in Budapest to protest against the anti-Semitism of the far-right Jobbik party.

Leaders of  Hungarian Jewish organizations, which organized the protest with other civic groups, were among the estimated 10,000 protesters in attendance on Sunday night.

Demonstrators carried signs that read,  “I am not fascist, but Hungarian,” “Jobbik is the biggest national security threat to Hungary” and “Racism is equal to Jobbik!” 

Some Holocaust survivors protested with a sign that read, “We already experienced this, and once was enough!”

Ilan Mor, the Israeli ambassador to Hungary, participated in the demonstration, as did the ambassadors from the United States and Sweden.

The demonstration comes in the wake of a call last week by Jobbik lawmaker Marton Gyongyosi to create a registry of Hungarian lawmakers and members of the Hungarian Cabinet of Jewish origin.

Jobbik won 17 percent of the votes in 2010 during the latest general elections. According to recent polls, some 21 percent of the Hungarian population over the age of 15 are Jobbik sympathizers. Most supporters of Jobbik in Hungary are young or those belonging to the educated middle class.

The country’s largest opposition party, the Hungarian Socialist Party, or MSZP, has called for a boycott of Jobbik. MSZP said it would boycott parliamentary sessions in which representatives of Jobbik are present and called on Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban, head of the right-wing Fidesz Party, to condemn Gyongyosi’s call for a Jewish registry of politicians at the start of the next parliamentary session.

Half a million Hungarian Jews were deported and killed in Auschwitz during the summer of 1944, and more than 100,000 Jews were killed in Hungary during the 1940s by the Hungarian allies of the German Nazis.

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