Hungary to take down posters attacking Jewish billionaire George Soros, which drew anti-Semitic incidents.
The Hungarian government announced on Wednesday that it will remove a campaign attacking Jewish billionaire George Soros by the end of this week.
The posters had been put up across the country as part of a government-led campaign, which drew broad condemnation for its anti-Semitic undertones.
Reports say the government is winding down the campaign in anticipation of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s scheduled visit to Budapest. The government, however, said that the campaign was ending as originally scheduled, implying that its end was unrelated to Netanyahu’s visit.
The campaign posters portray a large picture of Soros, a Hungarian-born Holocaust survivor, grinning, with the caption, “Let’s not let Soros have the last laugh.” The campaign promotes Hungary’s accusation that Soros is behind the settlement of a million migrants from the Middle East and Africa in the European Union (EU) through organizations he funds.
Since the commencement of the widely publicized campaign, several incidents of anti-Semitic graffiti have been reported, including on the posters, as well as vandalism of Holocaust memorials.
The president of the Federation of Jewish Communities in Hungary (MAZSIHISZ), András Heisler, asked Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban in a letter to immediately halt the campaign, citing its dangerous anti-Semitic connotations.
“The ‘anti-Soros’ campaign carries serious risks,” Heisler warned in the letter.
While the campaign is not openly anti-Semitic, Heisler wrote, “It is very much able to raise uncontrolled, among other things, anti-Semitic anger. The recent days have given us the proof that our fear is not baseless.”
Heisler pointed to Orban’s “historical responsibility not to let hatred spread out in our country.”
“These toxic messages harm all of Hungary. We raise our voice not only for ourselves but the protection of our pride of Jewishness and the dignity that is part of our Hungarian identity,” he concluded.
Orban justified the campaign as a defense against “attacks on the security of Hungary, irrespective of [Soros’] origin, religious affiliation and wealth.”
Soros said last month that Orban had set up a corrupt “mafia state” in Hungary.
“I am distressed by the current Hungarian regime’s use of anti-Semitic imagery as part of its deliberate disinformation campaign,” Soros said in a brief statement Tuesday. “Equally, I am heartened that together with countless fellow citizens, the leadership of the Hungarian Jewish community has spoken out against the campaign.”
Several organizations criticized the campaign for singling out a Holocaust survivor and pinning dubious allegations on him.
Jewish organizations expressed concern that images depicting a laughing, rich Jew that accuse him of an unknown, dark international plan played on old stereotypes and legitimized overt anti-Semitic speech.
By: World Israel News Staff