Israel’s Holocaust memorial Yad Vashem and the Chancellor of Austria have joined a growing number of voices criticising the Hungarian leader Viktor Orban for a speech that one Jewish adviser called “pure Nazi”.
Orban said during a visit to Romania last weekend that Europe was becoming a “mixed race” society.
“We are willing to mix with one another, but we do not want to become peoples of mixed-race,” he said in Baile Tusnad, a small town where most residents are ethnic Hungarians, adding: “Migration has split Europe in two — or I could say that it has split the West in two.”
The remarks prompted the resignation of Zsuzsa Hegedus, who has advised the Hungarian prime minister for nearly two decades.
She told him in a resignation letter: “The speech you delivered is a purely Nazi diatribe worthy of Joseph Goebbels.
“The prime minister is promoting an openly racist policy that is now unacceptable even for the far-right in western Europe. Too many were silent when the kind of hatred that the Nazis built on was being born.”
But Orban rejected the criticism.
In a letter responding to the resignation he stressed his government’s “policy of zero tolerance when it comes to antisemitism and racism”.
He was publicly criticised by Austrian chancellor Karl Nehammer during a visit to Vienna.
The Austrian leader said during a joint press conference with Orban: “It was very important for me to make clear that we in Austria utterly reject any trivialising of racism or even antisemitism.”
Orban himself used the press conference to insist: “I am the only politician in the EU who stands for an openly anti-immigration policy,”
“This is not a race issue for us, this is a cultural issue.
“It happens sometimes that I say something in a way that can be misunderstood but … the position I stand for, is a cultural, civilisation (-based) stance.”
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