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Hungarian Anti-Semitic Deputy Admits Jewish Roots

A leader of Hungary's extreme-right Jobbik party, known for its anti-Semitic rhetoric, has admitted having Jewish origins.
By Rachel Hirshfeld
First Publish: 6/28/2012, 4:05 PM

Right-wing nationalists and residents of the village of Csokako,
Right-wing nationalists and residents of the village of Csokako,
Right-wing nationalists and residents of the village of Csokako,

A leader of Hungary's extreme-right Jobbik party, known for its anti-Roma and anti-Semitic rhetoric, has admitted having Jewish origins, prompting mockery in several online forums Wednesday, Agence France-Presse (AFP) reported.

"I learnt not long ago that I had parents of Jewish origins, that's the big news," Csanad Szegedi, a member of the European parliament and regional leader of Jobbik, said in an interview with the extreme-right daily Barikad to be published Thursday.    

"I'm not saying I wasn't surprised by this news," he added, noting it would take a while to "digest" the information.    

Szegedi has repeatedly used anti-Semitic rhetoric in the past and attended a 2009 session of the European parliament in a uniform of the Hungarian Guard, a paramilitary branch of Jobbik which has since been banned.    

"I think that what counts is not to know who is a pure race Hungarian, the important thing is the way one behaves as a Hungarian," he said in an interview.    

"To be Hungarian for me has always been a responsibility (towards my country), that has nothing to do with racial supremacy," he continued to state.    

Another Jobbik deputy recently made headlines after he asked a laboratory to test that he did not have Roma or Jewish genes, noted AFP.

Social networking sites buzzed with cutting reactions to the latest development, with a leading news portal saying the story showed that "stupidity is not related to one's genetic heritage."   

One blog observed that it was "impossible that Szegedi had not known his grandmother Magoldna Klein was Jewish and a Holocaust survivor."   

"Szegedi, you are an embarrassment to the Hungarian people and an embarrassment to Jews," the blog added, calling for the Jobbik deputy to step down from his posts.    

The party's leader Gabor Vona, however, said on national television that Szegedi would remain in his position.