Jewish groups, Israel, slam Ahmadinejad’s invite to lecture at Hungarian university

The Israeli Embassy in Budapest said the Iranian ex-president’s visit “seriously offends” the memory of Hungarian Holocaust victims.

By Batya Jerenberg, World Israel News

Hungarian Jewish groups and Israel slammed Wednesday the invitation a Hungarian university sent to former Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad to lecture at its campus.

The Israeli embassy in Budapest said the visit “seriously offends and tramples on the memory of the approximately 600,000 Hungarian Jews who were murdered during the Holocaust,” since Ahmadinejad is famously a Holocaust denier.

In 2005, the first year of his eight years in office, his government inaugurated and financially backed an international Holocaust cartoon contest whose main purpose was to reject the Shoah’s occurrence as well as deny Israel’s legitimacy.

As a hardline member of Iran’s leadership, Ahmadinejad has called countless times for Israel’s demise.

The ex-president still sits on an advisory board to Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.

Two Hungarian congregations wrote to the university asking it “to consider whether it wishes to give Ahmadinejad the opportunity to spread his dangerous and poisonous ideas within the walls of the institution.”

Hungary’s premier Jewish organization, The Association of Hungarian Jewish Congregations (Mazsihisz), also condemned the move to have “Ahmadinejad, who is anti-Semitic to the core,” come to “lecture at one of Hungary’s elite universities.”

The timing, around Holocaust Remembrance Day, when the Jewish community “mourns its murdered dead,” also “deeply offends the Hungarian Jewish community,” it added in its statement.

Mazsihisz pointed out that inviting the Iranian was in “direct contradiction to the principle of zero tolerance against antisemitism proclaimed by the Hungarian government.”

Under Prime Minister Viktor Orban, Hungary has protected its 100,000-strong Jewish community and deepened ties with Israel, vetoing incipient European Union-wide moves against the Jewish state that must have the unanimous agreement of all Union members.

In response to a request for comment on this issue, the Foreign Ministry said that the government “has not received the former Iranian president,” and that it “does not interfere in university programs.”

According to Iranian newspaper Hammihan, Ahmadinejad was extended an official invitation by the university’s president, Gergli Deli, to give a speech during a “scientific and specialized meeting” from May 17 to 21 on the subject of “the importance and necessity of dealing with threats and damage to the environment.”

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