Hungarian Jews protest naming Budapest street after anti-Semitic author
Jewish umbrella group says author Cecil Tormay became 'standard for anti-Semitic leading figures of Hungarian political life,' asks Budapest mayor to revoke decision to name street.
Amid a string of anti-Semitic incidents in Hungary, the umbrella organization of Hungarian Jews protested the naming of a Budapest street after an anti-Semitic author.
“The Federation of Jewish Communities in Hungary is shocked to learn of the renaming of a street in the Second District after Cecile Tormay,” read a statement sent Thursday by the Jewish umbrella group, also known as Mazsihisz.
The letter came days after reports of three anti-Semitic incidents directed at Mazsihisz and one of its communities.
In the statement, Mazsihisz wrote that Tormay’s “open anti-Semitism” became “a standard for anti-Semitic leading figures of the Hungarian political life.” Masihisz Executive Director Gusztav Zoltai wrote that among those figures was Miklos Horthy, Hungary’s pro-Nazi ruler during the 1940s.
Mazsihisz called on Mayor Istvan Tarlos of the ruling Fidesz Party “to revoke his decision in accordance with public statements of the Hungarian government during the Global Forum for Combating Anti-Semitism in Jerusalem,” in which the mayor said the Hungarian government was committed to fighting anti-Semitism.
Earlier this week, police removed from the Mazsihisz main office a package containing white powder. Earlier this month, Mazsihisz hosted the World Jewish Congress General Assembly amid protests by hundreds of neo-Nazis and ultranationalists.
Many of the protesters were affiliated with the Jobbik party, Hungary’s third largest. Hungary’s Jewish watchdog on anti-Semitism, the Action and Protection Foundation, or TEV, has termed Jobbik “a neo-Nazi” party.
On April 26, Jewish worshipers discovered that anti-Semitic slogans had been spray-painted on the facade of a synagogue in Vac, a city some 20 miles north of Budapest. A nearby Jewish cemetery was desecrated and at least two of its robust headstones were smashed.
Police are investigating the incident but the identity of the perpetrators is as of yet unknown, the MTI news agency reported.