State secretary and international spokesman, Zoltán Kovács, is accusing Ira Forman of double standards and journalistic inaccuracy in his Jerusalem Post op-ed about anti-semitism in Hungary. He points out that the Orbán government has introduced several measures to protect the Jewish community.
“Since 2010, Hungary has become one of Israel’s staunchest international supporters,” Zoltán Kovács, Hungary’s state secretary for international communications and relations wrote in an op-ed which was published on the website of the Jerusalem Post. Kovács reacted to an op-ed in the same Israeli newspaper, written by Ira Forman, accusing Viktor Orbán’s government of “whitewashing” the history of Hungary’s anti-semitism and claiming that its zero-tolerance policy on anti-semitism is merely one in a set of “talking points.”
In his article, Kovács recalls that it was the Orbán government in 2010 that “among several measures to fight anti-semitism, introduced a zero-tolerance policy toward anti-semitic attitudes, banned the use of hate symbols, banned paramilitary extremist groups, introduced a national Holocaust Remembrance Day, increased the pensions of Holocaust survivors, came to an agreement with the Claims Conference after its predecessors failed to do so, and made it a priority to back the Auschwitz-Birkenau Foundation with financial support.”
The government established the Memorial Day for the Hungarian Victims of the Holocaust and founded the Holocaust Museum too. The new Fundamental Law, which entered into effect in 2012, recognizes Hungarian Jewry as an inseparable part of the Hungarian nation. Orbán was the first Hungarian prime minister to speak explicitly of Hungary’s guilt.
According to Kovács, Forman’s op-ed suffers from double standards and journalistic inaccuracy. For example, the author tried to downplay the significance of a study released last June by the European Jewish Association, which found that Hungary and Italy offer the best quality of life for Jewish communities in Europe by questioning its methodology. The state secretary pointed out that reports of Hungary’s Jewish renaissance even reached the columns of the Financial Times, and this is noteworthy because the media giant is not generally among the Hungarian government’s biggest supporters.
Kovács thinks that all the articles “attempting to play the tired anti-semitism card” have one thing in common, and “that’s their utter ignorance of – or inexplicable indifference toward – Hungary’s real anti-semitic party, Jobbik, which ran as a part of the united leftist opposition alliance at the recent elections just three months ago.” “This charge of anti-semitism is a political tool that disregards the facts to push an agenda that has no democratic legitimacy,” he concluded.
Featured photo via Facebook/Zoltán Kovács