In an interview last Saturday, Michael Roth, Minister of State for Europe at the German Federal Foreign Office, said that the key reason behind launching the so-called Article 7 procedure against Hungary was, wait for it, our growing anti-Semitism.
While Michael Roth had already demonstrated a daunting dislike for Hungary back in the first half of the previous decade, at least he seemed somewhat open to our arguments. With this recent remark, however, these times are over: By spreading allegations that are clearly false, the Minister of State has crossed the line.
If we look at the facts, we will find that Article 7 procedures could be rightfully launched against a dozen EU Member States, particularly those with pro-migration policies, on the basis of growing anti-Semitism. Hungary, on the other hand, where Jewish life is enjoying a renaissance, is not one of these countries.
It’s not Hungary where Jews are being murdered on the street in broad daylight. Nor is it Hungary where our Jewish compatriots have to live in fear and synagogues must be guarded by soldiers armed to the teeth.
In contrast, since 2010, Hungary has become one of Israel’s staunchest international supporters and even introduced a zero-tolerance policy on anti-Semitism. Prime Minister Orbán was also the first Hungarian prime minister to speak explicitly of Hungary’s guilt, saying that “Hungary sinned when instead of protecting the Jews, we chose to collaborate with the Nazis.” It was an Orbán Government that made Holocaust education a mandatory part of the national curriculum and saw to it that our new constitution specifically identifies the Jewish community as a constituent part of the Hungarian nation.
We not only helped restore synagogues and Jewish cemeteries but also committed funding to the construction of the first new synagogue in Budapest in 80 years. What’s more, Hungary was the proud host of the European Maccabi Games last year.
Michael Roth is apparently doing everything he can to resurrect the good old anti-Semitism card and use it against Hungary, yet again. Luckily, his claims, reminiscent of the German propaganda of the 1930s, lack any factual basis. Such impertinence, especially during the German EU presidency, is a disgrace to the German Federal Foreign Office.
Next time, Mr. Roth, take a look in your own backyard before engaging in an open offensive against the Hungarian people.
Photo credit: DW