Probe over Hungarian MP's 'Jewish List' Dropped

Jewish groups expressed "disappointment" after prosecutors dropped probe against far-right MP.

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Gil Ronen,

Hungary's Prime Minister Viktor Orban
Hungary's Prime Minister Viktor Orban

Jewish groups in Hungary expressed "disappointment" Thursday after prosecutors dropped an investigation against a far-right MP, who called in parliament for people of Jewish origin to be identified as possible national security threats.

According to AFP, Chief prosecutor Imre Keresztes said on Wednesday that the comments in November by Marton Gyongyosi from Jobbik, Hungary's third largest party, did not constitute incitement to hatred on racial, religious or ethnic grounds.

The Unified Hungarian Jewish Congregation and the Chabad-Lubavitch community disagreed, however, saying they were "convinced that the original intent behind the criminal law on incitement to hatred has not been properly applied."

"After consultation with domestic and international interest groups and legal experts, and in the interest of every peace-loving Hungarian, we will do everything to clarify the legal environment for sanctioning incitement to hatred," a joint statement said.

"The influence of such types of speech is unquestionable. Words used in parliament carry a particular weight, manners of speech accepted there signal to wider society the boundaries of what is generally acceptable."

Gyongyosi's "Jewish list" comments provoked outrage at home and abroad. Soon after, around 10,000 people attended an anti-fascism rally in protest outside the Hungarian parliament.

In response to the "Jewish list" remarks, State Secretary of the Development Ministry Janos Fonagy recently revealed: “My mother and father were Jewish, and so am I, whether you like it or not."

Fonagry said, "I cannot choose; I was born into this. But you can choose, and you have chosen this path," as he cautioned anti-Semites would have to “bear history’s judgment.”

The opposition has often accused Prime Minister Viktor Orban and his right-wing Fidesz party of presiding over a rise in anti-Semitism and hate speech directed toward the Roma, Hungary's largest minority.

The chief prosecutor Thursday also threw out a complaint lodged against Zsolt Bayer, a right-wing journalist and founding member of Fidesz, who wrote in a government-friendly newspaper that "Most Gypsies are animals".