Call on Secretary of State Kerry to Combat Hungarian
Anti-Semitism May 17,
The Jewish Federations of North America joined other national
Jewish agencies in a call on U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry to give urgent
attention to rising anti-Semitism in Hungary.
In a letter dated May 8, JFNA and thirteen other groups
praised Kerry for highlighting the problem in a recent human rights report,
calling U.S. leadership "indispensable to the advancement of human rights." The
letter urged Kerry to "keep the issue of intolerance and discrimination squarely
on the U.S.-Hungarian bilateral agenda" and to raise the matter in his direct,
personal dealings with Hungarian officials.
The human rights report outlined troubling developments, including an
increase in violence against Hungarian Jewish individuals and institutions, the
proliferation of anti-Semitic material in the media, and the rise of the
xenophobic and anti-Semitic Jobbik party, which has labeled Jews a "national
security risk" and reiterated the historic blood libel against Jews.
Numbering more than 100,000, the Hungarian Jewish community is the
largest in Central Europe.
JFNA leadership underscored the importance of taking action in the face
of this growing threat. "During the Nazi occupation of Hungary, more than
500,000 Hungarian Jews were murdered and 70 years later, new signs of old hate
are appearing in the country," said Michael Siegal, chair of the JFNA Board of
Trustees. "The United States has a moral obligation and opportunity to combat
anti-Semitism in Hungary before today's generation relives any more of the
horrors that tormented their parents and grandparents."
Jerry Silverman, JFNA president and CEO, also declared his support for
Hungarian Jews and for the efforts of the United States Department of State.
"The American Jewish community will always come together to protect our brothers
and sisters who are under attack anywhere in the world for being Jewish. We are
grateful for the support and solidarity of our nation's leaders and look forward
to working with the State Department to find solutions that will stop the
fearsome rise of anti-Semitism in Hungary."