Hungary is following with concern the double standard against Israel and the anti-Israel atmosphere, Takács said.
By Jack Gold, World Israel News
The Hungarian government will fund an institute for the study of anti-Semitism and anti-Israelism espoused among radical leftist and radical Islamic circles in Europe, Szabolcs Takács, Minister of State for EU Affairs at the Prime Minister’s Office. told the Israel Hayom daily.
At the end of a two-day visit to Israel, where he met with senior officials at the Prime Minister’s Office and the Foreign Ministry, Takács said in an exclusive interview with Israel Hayom, published on Tuesday, that “Hungary is very concerned about the resurgence of anti-Semitism in Europe.
“It’s an old problem that needs to be fought. There is the ‘traditional anti-Semitism,’ and then there are new attributes seen among the anarchists of the extreme left and radical Islam, due to the changing atmosphere in Europe and as a result of emigration. Within some of these communities, there is no desire to continue Europe’s Judeo-Christian tradition. The atmosphere is often anti-Israel and anti-Semitic, including the erasing of elements tied to the Holocaust. They are changing Europe, and we oppose this. ”
Takács, who holds a senior position in the office of Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban, is also responsible for contacts with the European Union, which is in constant conflict with Hungary. One reason for the tension is Hungary’s refusal to align itself with the EU’s critical attitude towards Israel.
Takács clarified that his country is interested in close relations with Israel and will not agree to a double standard towards the Jewish state. “Hungary is following with concern the double standard against Israel and the anti-Israel atmosphere, as expressed in various declarations and decisions by international organizations. Israel is an important friend to us, and therefore we work together,” he stated.
In talks with his Israeli counterparts, Takács informed them about the move promoted by the Orban government to transfer the Museum of the History of Hungarian Jewry from Tsfat in the north to Herzliya in the center. “The Jewish community has contributed greatly to Hungary for hundreds of years, and we want more people to be exposed to this. I have been to Israel many times, and this time I visited Tsfat, where there is a museum of the history of Hungarian Jewry.”
No attempt to revise Holocaust history
The government is also interested in establishing a new Holocaust memorial museum. Asked about various reports that its objective is to revise the Holocaust narrative and minimize the responsibility of the Hungarian government and the Hungarian people for the murder of Hungarian Jewry, Takács dismisses the allegations.
“There is no attempt to change the narrative or the history, and the reports are purposefully distorted and are motivated by politics,” he charged.
Takács noted that there is already a Holocaust museum in Budapest, which was built in 2001 during Orban’s first term.
“In Hungary’s educational system, Holocaust studies are embedded at all levels, from schools to universities,” he said. “Hungary marks International Holocaust Day, in accordance with a government decision. The government financially supports all streams of the Jewish community, including the preservation of cemeteries and the development of synagogues. We are proud that in Hungary the community is safe and there is no danger, a statement that cannot be said about other places in Europe.”
During Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s visit to Hungary a year and a half ago, “Orban made it clear that Hungary – the authorities in the country and certain individuals – were responsible for what happened [during the Holocaust], that Hungary did not protect its Jews, and that such a thing cannot happen again. The state of Hungary took responsibility, even though it was not a collective sin.”
Hungary joined the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA), which Takács’ chaired for three years.
“As for the new place, this is not exactly a museum, but an educational center aimed at the younger generation, because the number of survivors is diminishing for natural reasons,” he explained. Hungary wanted to open the center next year, but in light of the concern expressed, the country invited experts, both from Hungary and international experts, to provide their input.
“One thing I can promise: there is no change here in the narrative and there is no hidden agenda,” Takács vowed.
Regarding his claim that criticism of the Orban government over its attitude toward Jews stems from politics, and whether internal politics in Hungary’s Jewish community was the source of this criticism, Takács responded that “this is part of the story, and the government does not want to interfere in the internal disputes in the community, and we have agreed to cooperate with everyone and support them all, regardless of the differences.”
“We believe that we should unite forces to contend with the more important challenges facing the Jews in Europe,” he concluded.