Hungary's foreign minister has said that the government has a zero tolerance policy for anti-Semitism in the country.
Péter Szijjártó, minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade, made the statement during a telephone conservation with the Israeli ambassador to Hungary on Saturday.
According to MTI, Minister Szijjártó had told Ambassador Yossi Amrani that the activities of Miklós Horthy as governor included both positive and extremely negative periods.
The minister highlighted how a speech by the prime minister in June praising Horthy had prompted several Jewish organizations to raise objections, including the Jewish World Congress and its leader Ronald S. Lauder.
“History must be respected, and the historical facts indicate that the activities of Horthy as governor included both positive and extremely negative periods,” Minister Szijjártó said. An “undoubtedly positive” moment in Horthy’s career was putting Hungary back on its feet after WWI, he explained.
“However, it is extremely negative and belongs in the category of historical sin that despite his oath he did not protect Hungary’s Jews, who were part of the Hungarian nation. It belongs in the category of historical sin that laws which discriminated against Jews were introduced during his time in office, and that hundreds of thousands of Jews fell victim to the Holocaust,” he added.
“All historical facts must be respected whether they are positive or fall into the category of historical sin, even if they are linked to the same person,” he added.
“Our government is one of the European governments that has done the most to combat anti-Semitism. As long as Hungary has its current government, the Hungarian Jewish community can be sure that the government will protect them in every respect,” he said.
Minister Szijjártó pointed out that in the year 2000, PM Orbán's government had issued a decree on the introduction of Holocaust Memorial Day.
“It is no accident that the government has placed the greatest emphasis on issues relating to the teaching of the Holocaust in schools,” he said, adding that the government is in constant cooperation with Jewish organizations.
“We will continue to protect the Jewish community in future against any and all attacks of an anti-Semitic nature and against any attempts to endanger or discriminate against Hungary’s Jewish community,” Minister Szijjártó said.
The Israeli embassy in Budapest said that the foreign minister’s message had conveyed an important clarification of the acknowledgement of the crimes committed against Hungarian Jews under Miklós Horthy.
“We will always remember our 564,500 Hungarian Jewish brothers and sisters who were murdered during the Holocaust,” the embassy said.