Hungarian Jews condemned a public broadcaster’s airing of antisemitic rhetoric against billionaire George Soros, and a state news agency’s silence about it.
The main news program of the state MTVA channel aired on Wednesday the controversial rhetoric on Soros, who recently became the subject of hostile statements by Hungary’s top politicians over his funding for groups opposed to the policies of the right-wing government.
Some critics of this rhetoric, including Jews, say it risks stoking antisemitic sentiment because Soros is Jewish.
The news show, Hirado, carried quotes by Iran’s supreme spiritual leader, Sayyid Ali Hosseini Khamenei, calling Soros “an evil Zionist-American multi-billionaire” and stating that Soros is responsible for destabilising and defeating former Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmedinejad’s regime.
Mazsihisz, the umbrella group of Hungarian Jewish communities and the country’s EJC affiliate, condemned the inclusion of this quote by Khamenei, which echoes the purest and most common form “of anti-Jewish sentiments in the Hungarian extreme-right media,” Mazsihisz said in a statement on Friday.
The statement also noted that the MTI state news agency declined to quote Mazsihisz’s statement or report about it, citing concerns that it might “damage the credibility of the state media and its business interests.”
Zoltan Radnoti, the chairman of the rabbinical council of Mazsihisz, also condemned the anti-Soros rhetoric aired on public television, labeling it “antisemitic incitement during primetime” in a statement.
Even before the broadcast, the campaign against Soros was “not free of antisemitism and should be stopped in order to prevent hatred,” Radnoti said. “The hatred which is now spread with taxpayer money.”