Hun­gar­ian ‘rag­ing an­ti­semite’ en­voy quits af­ter days on job

The Jewish Chronicle - - WORLD NEWS - BY VALENTINA JO­VANOVSKI

THE MAN nom­i­nated to be Hun­gary’s am­bas­sador to Italy, who has ex­pressed strongly an­tisemitic views and writ­ten for a far-right pub­li­ca­tion, has left his job un­der two weeks af­ter the news of his ap­point­ment went pub­lic.

Péter Szent­mi­há­lyi Sz­abó no­ti­fied the For­eign Min­istry that he did not want the po­si­tion fol­low­ing heavy crit­i­cism from op­po­si­tion par­ties and Jewish groups.

Szent­mi­há­lyi Sz­abó wrote an ar­ti­cle for far-right pa­per Mag­yar Fórum in 2000 en­ti­tled “Agents of Satan”. The piece in­cluded an­tisemitic stereo­types and slurs di­rected at Jews, ac­cord­ing to a trans­la­tion posted on the web by the pol­i­tics blog Hun­gar­ian Spec­trum.

With­out men­tion­ing the word “Jew”, he wrote: “They have no God, no na­tion, no peo­ple, no home­land, no Weltan­schau­ung [world view], only bank ac­counts.”

Af­ter the nom­i­na­tion was made pub­lic last week, An­drás Heisler, pres­i­dent of Mazsi­hisz, the lead­ing Hun­gar­ian Jewish or­gan­i­sa­tion, told the JC that Szent­mi­há­lyi Sz­abó’s post­ing “ran­kled”.

“Many of his for­mer man­i­fes­ta­tions made him un­ac­cept­able to rep­re­sent a demo­cratic coun­try,” said Mr Heisler.

The World Jewish Congress urged Hun­gary to with­draw the nom­i­na­tion, calling it “clearly an af­front to Jews”.

A spokesper­son for the Min­istry of For­eign Af­fairs called the crit­i­cisms of Szent­mi­há­lyi Sz­abó “po­lit­i­cal at­tacks” and said: “The Hun­gar­ian govern­ment [has] been very clear about con­demn­ing ev­ery form of an­ti­semitism.”

The US-based blog­ger Eva Balogh — who voices reg­u­lar crit­i­cism of Hun­gar­ian Prime Min­is­ter Vik­tor Or­ban — de­scribed Szent­mi­há­lyi Sz­abó as a “rag­ing” and “in­vet­er­ate” an­ti­semite.

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