Days after one of his colleagues admitted to having Jewish roots, a far-Right Hungarian politician has challenged a Jewish community leader in the country to a public debate.
Gabor Vona, the leader of the Hungarian nationalist party Jobbik, said he wants to prove to Slomo Koves, a Chabad-Lubavitch rabbi who heads the Unified Hungarian Jewish Congregation, that his party not anti-Semitic, JTA and Hungarian news outlets reported Tuesday.
Koves has recently spoken of the need to start a dialogue between the Hungarian public and Jewish organizations about ways to combat anti-Semitism.
“Jobbik has never had and will never have any program point, proposal or idea which discriminates between Hungary’s inhabitants on the grounds of ethnicity and religion,” Vona told the website Politics.hu.
Gabor Vona (Archive photo: Reuters)
According to the report, he added that Jobbik has become the target of a “coordinated slander campaign” that portrays the party as an anti-Semitic, racist and extremist force in order to stunt its chances of challenging the ruling party Fidesz in the next elections.
The debate with Koves will offer an opportunity to clarify “who has an interest in floating the issue of anti-Semitism in Hungary,” and show that niether Jobbik nor its agenda are anti-Semitic; only “pro-Hungarian”, he said.
Jobbik members have used anti-Semitic rhetoric repeatedly in the past. Last week, a regional leader of Jobbik, Csanad Szegedi, revealed that he is of Jewish descent.