“Hungary will use all political and legal tools to destroy anti-semitism”, said Tibor Navracsics, Deputy Prime Minister of Hungary in a conference organized by the Tom Lantos Institute. The two days long conference called ‘Jewish life and anti-semitism in contemporary Europe‘ was held at the Hungarian Parliament. Prominent politicians both from the governing party and the opposition attended.
Hungary has one of the biggest Jewish populations in Europe, despite the fact that 600,000 Jews were killed during the Second World War. In recent years, anti-semitism has started to rise in the country and the far-right Jobbik Party gained 43 seats in the recent elections. Jobbik vilified Jews many times at Parliament and as a result of this, prominent politicians and human rights groups felt the necessity of such a conference.
Influential politicians from abroad also traveled to Hungary to participate in the conference, such as the Finance Minister of Israel, Yair Lapid. Yair Lapid warned Hungarians that it is their responsibility to fight against anti-semitism and leading politicians have to make sure that tragedies as the Holocaust won‘t happen again. The israeli Finance Minister has a family with Hungarian-Jewish origins and his father, Tommy Lapid, was almost killed during the Holocaust but he narrowly escaped being shot at the Danube in the winter of 1945. Later, Tommy Lapid, emigrated to Israel and served as Deputy Prime Minister of the country.
Furthermore, the organizer of the conference, the Tom Lantos Institute was named after late Hungarian-American Congressman Tom Lantos, the only Holocaust survivor ever serving in the US House of Representatives. Lantos was a good friend of Tommy Lapid.
Tibor Navracsics, the highest government official attending the conference, echoed the words of Mr. Lapid in his speech. He acknowledged that during the Second World War Hungarians were killing Hungarians and “it is our shared responisbility that such a thing will never happen again”.