Jobbik party
Hungarian MP Balazs Lenhardt, left, formerly member of Jobbik party, burns an Israeli flag during a demonstration in Budapest, Hungary. Friday, Dec. 14, 2012. Photo by AP
Text size

A speech in Montreal by a Hungarian one-time anti-Semitic extremist will proceed despite attempts to have the invitation rescinded.

Csanad Szegedi, 31, a leading figure in Hungary’s neo-fascist Jobbik party for a decade who was known for his rabid anti-Semitism, was invited to speak in Montreal on December 9 by a local branch of Chabad, according to the Canadian Jewish News.

When Szegedi discovered in 2011 that he has a maternal Jewish grandmother, who was an Auschwitz survivor, the Jobbik party ousted him and he made contact with Chabad representatives in Hungary.

Last month, a local Hungarian-Jewish Holocaust survivor Paul Herczeg and fellow countryman Peter Sipos spent 90 minutes meeting with Chabad of Westmount leader Rabbi Yossi Shanowitz in an attempt to disinvite Szedegi to no avail, the Canadian Jewish News reported.

Szegedi’s detractors charge that his denunciation of Jobbik is insincere and that he only embraced his Jewish identity after he tried, and failed, to suppress the news through bribery.

Sipos told the newspaper that Szegedi would be far more credible if he publicly condemned his one-time fascism in the European Parliament, where he sits as a member.

Chabad points out that Szegedi has proved himself by undergoing ritual circumcision and following Jewish practices.”Today, despite many attempts to discredit him, Mr. Szegedi, a member of the European Parliament, has dedicated himself to speak out against facism and anti-Semitism in Hungary and Eastern Europe,” reads Chabad of Westmount’s website.

His talk is entitled, “My Journey From Hater to Fighter of Hatred.”