The Israeli Embassy in Hungary has tweeted its indignation over an article by a high-ranking official in the country’s ruling Fidesz Party that likened billionaire philanthropist George Soros – a staunch critic of Hungary’s government - to Adolph Hitler.
We utterly reject the use and abuse of the memory of the Holocaust for any purpose, as unfortunately appeared in an op-ed today. There is no place for connecting the worst crime in human history, or its perpetrators, to any contemporary debate, no matter how essential.— IzraelMagyarországon (@IsraelinHungary) November 28, 2020
The embassy’s Saturday night tweet, underscoring that there was no place for “abusing the memory of the Holocaust for any purpose”, followed the publication of an op-ed by Demeter Szilard, the director-general of the Petofi Museum of Literature, by the Hungarian pro-government website Origo.
In it the author claims George Soros is the "liberal Fuhrer, his liber-aryan army deifies him more than did Hitler’s own.”
As the official weighs in on the conflict over the European Union’s next budget, which member states Hungary and Poland have been blocking in connection with specific contested provisions, he writes, according to a translation cited by AP:
“Europe is George Soros’ gas chamber… Poison gas flows from the canister of a multicultural open society, which is deadly to the European way of life.”
The author, appointed by Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban to oversee cultural production, argues that Hungary and Poland, under EU investigation for ostensibly undermining judicial independence and media freedom, are "the new Jews... they are actually told that we have a big nose, we stink and we have lice. We are considered inferior beings."
On Thursday, leaders of Poland and Hungary threatened to veto the EU's €1.8 trillion budget and coronavirus recovery package, digging in their heels over attempts to tie the spending to the rule of law.
The countries claim they will agree on the budget only if there is a "substantial modification" to the contested rule of law mechanism allowing the EU to block funding if a country is seen as violating the EU's fundamental principles.
‘Minimising the Holocaust’
The American Jewish Committee in Central Europe tweeted to denounce the article as "horrendous."
Horrendous! Szilard Demeter, Hungarian Ministerial Commissioner compares G. Soros to Hitler, saying Hungary & Poland are "the new Jews", & "Europe is the gas chamber of Soros" b/c of #RuleofLaw process.— AJC Central Europe (@AJC_CE) November 28, 2020
Such ignorance of history & minimizing the Holocaust have to be called out.
Gordon Bajnai, who was Hungary’s prime minister in 2009-2010, wrote on Facebook on Sunday that unless Demeter was removed from his post by Monday, “Hungarians and the rest of the world will obviously consider (his) statement as the position of the Hungarian government.”
Demeter issued a statement on Sunday that he would withdraw the article, saying his critics were right that “the Nazi parallel could unintentionally hurt the memory of the victims.”
Hungarian-born Soros, 90, who survived the Holocaust and later fled Hungary, has been dubbed by many world leaders as a manipulative puppet-master who ostensibly attempts to destabilise political regimes in their countries by funding anti-government organisations.
The article penned by Szilard makes ample use of this imagery, saying that Soros "pushes the puppets on [the] worldwide chessboard".
Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban, in particular, has been a vocal critic of Soros for years, arguing that the billionaire philanthropist is intent on undermining European values with his liberal views on migration.