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Hungarian Minister: 'I Am Jewish Whether You Like It Or Not'

Confronting recent anti-Semitic events that have plagued parliament, Hungarian minister revealed he is Jewish, "like it or not."
By Rachel Hirshfeld
First Publish: 12/19/2012, 9:00 AM

Marton Gyongyosi, leader of Hungary's Jobbik party
Marton Gyongyosi, leader of Hungary's Jobbik party
Reuters

In a direct and valiant attempt to confront the recent anti-Semitic events that have plagued the Hungarian parliament, State Secretary of the Development Ministry Janos Fonagy revealed to politicians: “My mother and father were Jewish, and so am I, whether you like it or not."

The minster’s remarks came in response to last month’s calls by a far-right Hungarian politician for a list to be drawn up of all Jewish members of parliament and government.

“It is high time to assess many MPs and government members are of Jewish origin and who present a national security risk to Hungary,” said Marton Gyongyosi of the anti-Semitic Jobbik party, Hungary's third-largest political party, which holds 47 of 386 parliamentary seats.

Challenging the blatantly racist remarks, Fonagry said, "I cannot choose; I was born into this. But you can choose, and you have chosen this path," as he cautioned they would have to “bear history’s judgement”, The European Jewish Press (EJP) reported.

Fonagy noted, however, that he does not hold Israeli citizenship and is not religious.  

Gyongyosi came under fire earlier this year for doubting the severity of the Holocaust and the number of Hungarian Jews murdered by the Nazis, claiming it had become a political business to increase the numbers.

“The Jews don’t have the right to talk about what happened in the Second World War," he maintained.

He then said that Israel’s treatment of the Arabs is a "Nazi system" and compared Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman to Nazi propagandist Joseph Goebbels.

According to EJP, while Hungarian chief rabbi Slomo Koves said that although not “all people who vote for Jobbik are anti-Semites”, he warned that “if Jobbik brings it (anti-Semitic rhetoric) into the public discourse, even people who were not anti-Semites before” will adopt those views.

“The problem is that this has an effect on the state of mind of all Hungarians,” Koves said.