US Jewish leaders are outraged by Hungarian official’s misrepresentation

US Jewish leaders are outraged that Hungarian Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Levente Magyar incorrectly claimed that they had described recent comments about antisemitism in Hungary as “exaggerated.” The remarks concerning antisemitism in Hungary were actually made by US Ambassador to the UN Samantha Power, who in a speech about global antisemitism referred to recent developments related to the issue in Hungary.

The 29 year old Minister of State for Foreign Affairs, Levente Magyar, told the Hungarian News Agency that every single one of his Jewish negotiating partners said they regarded as exaggerated the recent speech by UN Ambassador Samantha Power. This was the speech where she voiced concern about the anti-Semitic tendencies of the Hungarian government. According to Mr. Magyar his negotiating partners were fully aware that such exaggerated assessments are the result of distorted information and statements that are translated badly, probably intentionally.

Mr. Ferenc Kumin, Hungary’s Consul in New York (second left), Mr. Levente Magyar (second right), Mr. György Szabó (far right) Mazsök President with AJC officials.

Mr. Ferenc Kumin, Hungary’s Consul in New York (second left), Mr. Levente Magyar (second right), Mr. György Szabó (far right) Mazsök President with AJC officials.

Ms. Katalin Bogyay, Hungary’s UN Ambassador (far left) with AJC officials.

Ms. Katalin Bogyay, Hungary’s UN Ambassador (far left) with AJC officials.

Here is the official statement of the American Jewish Committee (AJC).

AJC Statement on False Claim in Hungarian Official Media

NEW YORK — Following a meeting in New York this week with AJC and other Jewish organizations, Hungarian State Secretary Levente Magyar claimed that we concurred with his view that U.S. Ambassador to the UN Samantha Power’s remarks about anti-Semitism in Hungary at a recent UN Conference were “exaggerated,” “intentionally mistranslated sentences” based on “distorted information.”

Nothing could be further from the truth.

Ambassador Power correctly described the disturbing developments in Hungary, a country to which we have long attached importance. Anti-Semitism and xenophobia are a serious concern, as has been widely reported. We support Ambassador Power’s remarks and share her criticism of the Hungarian state honor awarded to the journalist Zsolt Bayer, a notorious figure known for his anti-Semitic and anti-Roma invective. We have, in fact, shared our outrage at this act directly with Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán.

SOURCE: American Jewish Committee

There is a long history of organized misinformation about Hungarian antisemitism. In the last couple of years the Orbán Government has used Hungarian diplomats, lobbyists and “court-Jews” to cover up Hungary’s appalling institutionalized antisemitism.

Ambassador Szemerkényi (in white blouse) with AJC officials in June 2015.  In the far left corner Mr. Dániel Bodnár and Mr. Ferenc Olti

Ambassador Szemerkényi (in white blouse) with AJC officials in June 2015. In the far left corner Mr. Dániel Bodnár and Mr. Ferenc Olti

Last June Ambassador Réka Szemerkényi hosted a dinner for AJC delegates in Washington DC. Mr. Dániel Bodnár, Chairman of the Board of the Action and Protection Foundation (TEV), assured the Americans that the Orbán government is relentlessly combating antisemitism. Mr. Ferenc Olti, head of the Jewish Educational working group said his group was pleased with the new textbooks and highlighted that they could serve as a positive example to other countries in the region.

György Lázár


  1. Whoops! Take this as among the early signs that Orban’s strategy of double-talk will increasingly rebound on him as his detestable duplicity becomes ever more familiar and transparent — and, unlike domestically, answerable — worldwide. Hungary’s geographic and linguistic borders will be protecting this deplorable despot-in-the-making less and less. (That’s no doubt why he is ambivalently flirting with quitting the EU: He loves the EU dosh, much of which makes its way to his personal stash and that of his cronies. His minder, Putin, likes keeping him an EU mole. But the openness and answerability — and abiding by rules not made by him — crimps any psychopathic megalomaniac’s style.)

  2. Who cares! If “anti-Semitism” doesn’t mean “violent behaviour against Jews”, who cares! You can’t criticise the politics of the Jews or of Israel without being branded an “anti-Semite” nowadays. The term is so easily used that it lost any aggravating connotation.

  3. I lived in Hungary, there is considerable antisemitism but it is not dangerous only humiliating and unpleasant, and far not as big as many pieces describe it. Antisemitism in Hungary is not the worst in Europe and is at a very modest place if we see antisemitism in the world.

    Any hostile biased exaggeration would not only not equal accusation and misinterpretation i.e. a big lie but will produce opposite effect that will eventually make everything worse and will result in elevated hatred for the Jews and in really harmful antisemitism.

    This generation of Hungarians never had the chance learn true democracy and true socialization, and this learning process might take long decades. It can be shortened with proper education, I’m not speaking about standard school education. It needs more. There are so many intellectuals, journalists, educators, teachers with internet who could teach and educate them instead of constant fixing and tryin’ and dicking around.

  4. Avatar György Lázár says:

    Dear Richard,

    Hungarian racism, xenophobia, homophobia, anti-Semitism… are all government sponsored, Orbán government sponsored. It is unprecedented in the EU that a member country made it part of their official policy… while preaching “zero tolerance” in the US and Canada.

    Orbán’s paid lobbyists have a similar rhetoric than you do…”it is not the worst in Europe” and speaking up “will produce opposite effect that will eventually make everything worse”…

    I don’t think so. Things got bad in Hungary because no effective opposition to the massive taxpayer paid and government sponsored racist propaganda. Orbán also developed a skillful and tricky communication cover-up abroad… We have to speak up! That is the American way… and I hope soon the Hungarian way..))

    • Dear Gyorgy,

      I don’t know. You might be right, I never took it as government sponsored racist propaganda but I will rethink it and will give a second thought. I will watch it. As of effective opposition, yes you are right there is no effective opposition in Hungary and I might add there is no effective plan and most importantly right conception of opposition. There is no effective and usable conception of opposition at all. Can you tell why??? What’s keeping them?

  5. As a Canadian who currently lives in Hungary, I can definitely see the Anti-Semitism. Gyorgy Lazar is correct in his assessment that the majority of the anti-Semitism and recent xenophobia towards Muslims is being pushed on the Hungarian people by its current government. The amount of billboards and TV ads that give out stereotypes and outright lies is unfortunately having its effect on the less educated Hungarians. Combine that with government controlled news that is constantly bombarding its citizens with only negative news about Jewish people and Muslims and you have a dangerous recipe. Orban’s government has also been rumoured to have issued threats to the country’s mayors that they will lose their job if voter turnout for the October referendum is low. He has also threatened those on social assistance that if refugees come to Hungary, they will have to take a cutback. This government is corrupt twisted and unfortunately is ruining any potential this country has. The problem is the people that are smart enough to see through the bs are also smart enough to look elsewhere for better employment and social conditions. The other problem is there is a lack of a decent alternative and a general attitude that all government workers are corrupt so “what’s the difference?”

  6. Avatar Sandor Kerekes says:

    Excuse me, the secretary of state the just as distasteful Mr. Peter Szijjártó. The man in question the one that takes care of the lower class lying, Mr. Levente Magyar, of the ”look, no stamp” debacle and fame, is merely the under-secretary. Nonetheless, just as nauseating.

  7. Avatar Dr. Habil Fodor András says:

    This is the way as Bieberach acted in the Bánk Bán.
    He went to the respective HIGHEST AUTHORITIES, intrigued, and then PUBLISHED THE RESULTS OF HIS POISONING proudly and joyfully.
    Biebarach, (bieberachs) has (have) a son-on-a- bitch.
    In Hungarian: a big shit.

    Same on him (them).

  8. Pingback: Wiesenthal Center blasts fabricated report of meeting with senior Hungarian officials

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