Banned neo-Nazi group relaunches under new name as antisemitic incidents rise in Hungary

Jewish Tribune, Canada/July 22, 2009

Budapest - A banned neo-Nazi paramilitary group re-launched itself recently under a new name at a mass meeting in Budapest. The Hungarian Guard also re-launched as the Hungarian Guard Movement at several smaller meetings staged throughout the country.

Nearly 3,000 supporters attended a recent meeting in Budapest, while several hundred came to rallies in Bekescsaba, Szolnok and Mezotur. Rally participants waved flags and regalia resembling those of the murderous wartime Hungarian Arrow-Cross. A separate demonstration, also in Budapest, demanded the release of Gyorgy Budahazy, a radical rightist activist held on terrorism charges.

Also that day, about 400 mostly elderly protesters attended a Budapest rally in support of the government facing down the Guard.

Supporters at the Budapest rally arrived in civilian clothes but many later donned Guard uniforms. They included Gabor Vona, chairman of the neo-Nazi Jobbik Party, and Lajor Fur, a former Hungarian minister of defence. Vona announced that should he win a seat in the next national elections, as expected, he would enter parliament wearing the Guard uniform.

Viktor Orban, leader of Fidesz, the dominant parliamentary opposition widely expected to form the next government within a year, has said his party would never enter a coalition with Jobbik.

Meanwhile, an antisemitic attack on a Jewish citizen in Budapest has led to appeals to police for improved vigilance.

Three hooded assailants hurled antisemitic epithets as they severely beat their 27-year-old victim, a kosher restaurant supervisor, in the Old Jewish Ghetto district in downtown Budapest, according to police spokesman Oszkar Sass.

The assailants had first inquired whether their intended victim was Jewish before the assault.

The case was brought to the prime minister’s attention by Chief Rabbi Somlo Koves of the United Jewish-Hungarian Religious Community. Fidesz, the major parliamentary opposition, also has condemned the attack.

The assault is classified as an aggravated case of violence directed against the entire community.

Rabbi Koves believes that an upsurge in anti-Semitism has seriously undermined public safety in Hungary. He told the prime minister that both he and members of his immediate family had recently suffered antisemitic verbal abuse, and that he was aware of several recent instances of antisemitic hate speech escalating into physical violence.

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