In Solidarity, Jewish Congress to Meet in Hungary

World Jewish Congress to hold annual assembly in Budapest to show solidarity with Hungarian Jews facing "exceptionally strong" anti-Semitism

Rachel Hirshfeld ,

Jobbik party member
Jobbik party member

The World Jewish Congress will hold its 2013 annual assembly in Budapest to show solidarity with Hungarian Jews who are facing "exceptionally strong" anti-Semitism, organizers said Tuesday.

"This will be the first time in a very long time that the WJC will hold its congress outside Jerusalem," said Peter Feldmajer, president of the Federation of Hungarian Jewish Communities (Mazsihisz), one of Hungary's leading Jewish groups.

WJC members want to express their solidarity with Hungary's Jewish community, who have recently faced "exceptionally strong and aggressive anti-Semitic voices."

There are expected to be around 500 delegates at the congress, which will take place in early May, although the exact dates have not yet been decided, a Mazsihisz spokesperson told AFP.

The government of right-wing Prime Minister Viktor Orban has faced harsh criticism that it is not doing enough to counter anti-Semitism and the rise of far right extremism in Hungary.

Last week, a state honors list for cultural personalities included a prominent TV presenter and a musician both known for anti-Semitic and racist views.

In November, a deputy of the far-right Jobbik party also caused uproar by proposing in parliament drawing up a list of people "of Jewish origin (who) present a national security risk to Hungary."

In June, Nobel laureate and Holocaust survivor Elie Wiesel returned Hungary's highest state honor because of what he called a "whitewashing" of history in the European Union member state.