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Hungarian PM slams far-right politician's anti-Semitic jibe

Hungarian Prime Minister ViktorOrban on Monday condemned a call by a far-right Jobbik lawmakerto draw up lists of Jews as "unworthy" of his country, promisinghe would protect all citizens from any kind of discrimination.

Orban was responding to comments by Marton Gyongyosi, one ofJobbik's 44 lawmakers in the 386-seat parliament, who said onNovember 27 during a debate on violence in the Gaza Strip that itwould be "timely" to draw up a list of people of Jewish ancestrywho posed a national security risk.

His remarks, for which he later apologized, triggeredinternational outrage. The U.S. Embassy said it condemned "inthe strongest terms the outrageous anti-Semitic remarks made onthe floor of Parliament by a Jobbik parliamentarian".

Seeking to distance himself and his country from thecomments, Orban said Gyongyosi's outburst had no place in modernHungary.

"Last week sentences were uttered in parliament which areunworthy of Hungary," Orban told parliament, responding to alawmaker from the opposition Socialist party.

"I rejected this call on behalf of the government and Iwould like you to know that as long as I am standing in thisplace, no one in Hungary can be hurt or discriminated againstbecause of their faith, conviction or ancestry."

He and the rest of the country would protect Hungary'sJewish population, he added.

Gyongyosi has said his remarks were misunderstood, saying hehad only been referring to Hungarians with Israeli passports inthe government and parliament. He has refused to resign over thescandal.

On Sunday, more than 10,000 Hungarians protested against thefar-right with leaders from governing and opposition partiesdenouncing Gyongyosi's call, which they said echoed the Naziera. The rally united the country's deeply divided politicalscene in an unprecedented way.

Jobbik dismissed the protest as "political alarmism" andGabor Vona, its leader, told parliament on Monday that Gyongyosihad only been suggesting examining "the citizenship of MPs andgovernment members".

The matter should have been closed after Gyongyosi'sapology, he argued.

"But there were those professionally frightful, thosepolicy-bereft hysterics who thought otherwise and put on the oldrecord crying anti-Semitism," he said.

"In between two bouts of hysteria you should not forget thatthis country had been destroyed by Fidesz and the Socialistparty, and not Jobbik. And its Jobbik's task to rebuild it."

Orban's conservative Fidesz party swept to power with atwo-thirds parliamentary majority in 2010, ousting theSocialists.

Jobbik became the third-biggest party in parliament after acampaign which vilified the Roma minority and attracted votersfrustrated by a deepening economic crisis.

The party has since retained support in the recession-hitcentral European country and some analysts believe it may holdthe balance of power between Fidesz and the left-wing oppositionin the next elections in 2014.

Credit: Haaretz

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