Jewish groups urge PM to raise antisemitism in meeting with Hungary’s Orban

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Jewish groups urge PM to raise antisemitism in meeting with Hungary’s Orban

JLM and Masorti Judaism call on Boris Johnson to raise their 'deep concerns' over the targeting of Jewish groups and promotion of antisemitic conspiracies

Lee Harpin is the Jewish News's political editor

Viktor Orban
Viktor Orban

The Jewish Labour Movement and Masorti Judaism have called on Prime Minister Boris Johnson to raise the issue of state sponsored antisemitism with Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban.

Mr Orban will meet with the British Prime Minister at Downing Street tomorrow amid concern over threats to Hungary’s Jewish community.

On Thursday Mr Johnson’s official spokesman said the meeting with Orban would “promote UK interests in these areas and discuss issues in the wider region”.

The spokesman added: “On all human rights issues we do not shy away from raising them, the PM has condemned those specific comments which were divisive and wrong”.

Hungary’s hard-right populist leader has been accused of consistently targeting Jewish leaders and community organisations at home, including Masorti Judaism’s sister organisation Marom Budapest’s community centre.

There has also been the repeated vilification of George Soros with antisemitic tropes in campaigns run by the ruling Fidesz party.

In 2018, over 100 members of UK Marom wrote to Jeremy Hunt, then Foreign Secretary, to protest about the harrssment of Marom Budapest “whose only crime is embracing and reviving liberal Jewish identity.”

Ahead of tomorrow’s meeting Matt Plen, Chief Executive of Masorti Judaism, said: “We are deeply concerned about the threats to members of the Jewish community in Hungary.

“We expect our Prime Minister to use any influence he has with Mr Orban to protect Hungary’s Jews and other vulnerable minority groups.”

Mike Katz, Chair of the Jewish Labour Movement said: “Just last week, the Prime Minister rejected antisemitism in the strongest possible terms and spoke about the need for continuous vigilance against it.

“On Friday, Mr Johnson must follow his own advice and call out Viktor Orban’s hate speech against Jews and other minorities in Hungary. British Jews would expect nothing less.”

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