Middle East News
Jewish group complains to EU presidency about Hungary's far-right
Jan 26, 2011, 11:03 GMT
Brussels - Hungary's far-right party Jobbik was singled out for criticism at a meeting between a leading Jewish lobby group and Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban, whose country holds the European Union presidency, officials said Wednesday.
European Jewish Congress (EJC) president Moshe Kantor raised his concerns with Orban in Brussels on Tuesday, on the occasion of Holocaust Memorial Day.
'Parties like Jobbik stand in direct opposition to the values of the European Union that Hungary now preside over,' Kantor said, according to an ECJ statement released Wednesday. 'The EU presidency could be utilized as a great opportunity for Hungary to lead the way against all manifestations of extremism and hatred.'
The ECJ warned against 'a dramatic escalation in anti-Semitism in Europe,' claiming that Jews in Europe 'are feeling unsafe' and are 'leaving en masse' certain areas such as the Swedish town of Malmo, where there is a high concentration of Muslim migrants.
Jobbik, which gathered 16.7 per cent of votes in national elections last year and is currently in the opposition, refutes accusations of being anti-Jew as 'absurd,' but acknowledges its sympathy for the Palestinian cause in the Arab-Israeli conflict.
Kantor said that calls for sanctions or a boycott on Israel over its settlement policy on occupied Palestinian land 'should be seen as unacceptable,' and official organizations supporting them 'should be outlawed.'
He charged that such appeals amounted to a 'new anti-Semitism.'
The EU's official policy is that Israel's continued settlement building is in breach of international law, but the bloc has stopped short of reacting with diplomatic sanctions.
Last month, a group of ex-EU leaders, including the bloc's former foreign policy chief Javier Solana, called for a freeze in talks to upgrade EU-Israeli relations and for excluding Israeli produce from occupied Palestinian land from preferential trade treatment.
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