The Hungarian government is demanding an apology from the Biden administration after US Ambassador to the United Nations Linda Thomas-Greenfield told a high-level UN summit on antisemitism earlier in the month that a vandalized Holocaust memorial honoring Raoul Wallenberg was located in Hungary.
Listing recent antisemitic incidents – including a Molotov cocktail being thrown at a synagogue in New Jersey, a Russian missile hitting a synagogue in Ukraine, and a Jewish cemetery being vandalized with a swastika – Thomas-Greenfield told the ‘High-Level Side Event on Globalizing Efforts to Combat Antisemitism’ that a “Holocaust memorial was vandalized in Hungary,” Breitbart reported.
But the claim was erroneous. The memorial in question, a sculpture dedicated to Wallenberg, the Swedish diplomat who saved thousands of Jews in Hungary during Holocaust, is actually located in the Ångfärje Park in Helsingborg, Sweden.
In late January, officials in Helsingborg announced that an unknown individual had dumped white paint over the statue.
The vandalism was part of a dangerous trend of attacks on the country's Jewish community and its institutions. Sweden has experienced record levels of antisemitism in recent years.
Hungarian Secretary of State for Public Diplomacy Zoltán Kovács wrote that the Hungarian Embassy to the UN was demanding a public correction and formal apology from the US Embassy, according to the news outlet.
“Representatives of Hungary stood puzzled by Ambassador Thomas-Greenfield’s claims, as no such act of vandalism had occurred in Hungary for years,” Kovács said.
“In fact, Hungary is one of the safest countries for Jewish people in Europe, with Jewish communities experiencing a ‘renaissance’ for more than a decade now,” he added.
The transcript of Thomas-Greenfield’s speech on the US Embassy’s website has been edited to reflect the fact that the reference to a Holocaust memorial being vandalized in Hungary was false. The statement now includes a correction explaining that the memorial is located in Sweden.
But Kovács slammed the Biden administration as it has “so far refused to comply” with his country’s request for a public apology.
“It is outrageous that the US ambassador made unfounded and false allegations about Hungary in front of a wide audience at the UN,” he asserted. “[No] clarification or apology was issued, which would be the bare minimum in such a situation.”