BUDAPEST - The World Jewish Congress approved on Tuesday a resolution that calls on countries around the world, “in particular those whose Jewish populations were decimated in the Shoah,” to outlaw the public denial of the Holocaust, and where appropriate constitutional provisions exist, to consider banning neo-Nazi parties.
The resolution also urges Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban and other national leaders and legislators in Europe to join the 125 legislators from more than 40 countries in signing the 2009 London Declaration on Combating Anti-Semitism.
The WJC decided to hold its Plenary Assembly in the Hungarian capital as an expression of solidarity with the local Jewish community in the city, who have been under threat of rising anti-Semitism ever since the extreme right-wing Jobbik Party won a relatively large share of the vote in the last election.
The WJC resolution, supported by hundreds of delegates from Jewish communities around the world, urges the Hungarian authorities “to take effective measures including by enacting and enforcing legislation, for the protection of all citizens and residents of this country, in particular vulnerable minorities such as the Roma and the Jews, against threats of violence, racist hate and insults and the denial of the Holocaust.”
On Sunday night, the Hungarian prime minister opened the Plenary Assembly promising to act more forcefully against anti-Semitism, although he did not specifically mention the Jobbik Party, which captured 17 percent of the vote in the 2010 election. WJC officials expressed disappointment with his speech, which to their minds lacked substance.
In the resolution, the WJC calls on Hungary “to recognize that the ideology and the actions of the Jobbik movement and its subsidiaries, including the New Hungarian Guard, pose a fundamental threat to Hungary’s democracy, and that decisive action by all democratic forces against these contemporary expressions of extremism must now be taken.”
The resolution also expresses concern about recent signs of rising anti-Semitism in Ukraine.
Earlier today, the Plenary Assembly heard about a new legislative initiative in Greece, which promises a radical crackdown on anti-Semitism and other forms of racism in the country. David Saltiel, the head of the country’s Jewish community, who reported on the development, said the legislation will be submitted to parliament in the coming days, following the Easter holiday break.
According to the legislation, any individual or group that incites against or acts violently toward other individuals or groups “because of their racial origin, the color of their skin, their religion and/or their sexual preferences” could be punished with three months to six years in jail and be fined up to 20,000 euros. The same punishments would apply to Holocaust denial and the National Socialist salute. The legislation also stipulates that if a parliamentary party chief is found to be in violation, public funding for his or her party would be suspended.
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