Government Should Stand Up Against Antisemitism in Public Life
Completing a year of unprecedented struggles and opportunities, President of the Federation of Hungarian Jewish Communities (MAZSIHISZ) is hopeful for 2022. Andras Heisler spoke to AJC CE Representative in Hungary, Barnabas Turai, about how the community handled the pandemic, what they are expecting from the 2022 general elections and how antisemitism is visible even though there are no physical attacks against Jews in Hungary.
The Hungarian Jewish community suffered a lot from the coronavirus pandemic, Andras Heisler told AJC Central Europe in an interview for the bi-weekly series, Seven Minutes from Central Europe. Heisler added, the biggest challenge is to encourage people to return to synagogues, because communal life can’t forever exist online. As a recap of 2021, MAZSIHISZ President also mentioned important political and diplomatic meetings that took place in Budapest. French President Emanuel Macron, Pope Francis and Speaker of the Austrian Parliament, Wolfgang Sobotka met with the leaders of the Community, while Ambassadors of democratic nations are also frequently interested in Jewish life in Hungary.
To a question about the upcoming general elections in Hungary, Heisler said, whoever wins the elections, they expect them to consider MAZSIHISZ as a partner, while respecting its independence. He emphasized the diversity of political views within MAZSIHISZ membership, therefore how as a church, they are never involved in party politics.
It is important to us, for MAZSIHISZ to operate and participate in politics based on values, and to express its opinion on public policy issues based on these values, if needed to be proactive on these issues. So we are present in public life, representing the interest of the Jewish Community.
– President Heisler said. He also spoke about concerns regarding data showing growing antisemitism in Hungary. Despite the fact, that there are close to zero physical attacks against Jews in Hungary, antisemitism is strongly present in society. Studies show concerning numbers in a category labelled “public life antisemitism” that include comments, articles, campaigns of politicians, decision-makers and other actors present in public life.
Antisemitic language in public life contributes to the normalization of antisemitism, therefore we need clear and strong actions against them from the government.
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