Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban Appoints Known Anti-Semite Ambassador to Rome
Late Sunday night news broke that Péter Szentmihályi Szabó will serve as the new Hungarian Ambassador to Rome. Szabó is a known anti-Semite who publishes regularly in several far-right newspapers. Choice quotes from one of his anti-Semitic articles include: “They are the agents of Satan,” “They are born traitors,” and “They are greedy, envious, evil–and ugly.”
This appointment falls on the heels of protests concerning a controversial World War II monument erected in Budapest. Members of the Jewish community maintain that this memorial, which commemorates victims of the German occupation, whitewashes Hungary’s complicity in the Holocaust and active collaboration with Nazi forces.
Szabó’s appointment flies in the face of Orban’s promises of “zero-tolerance” of anti-Semitism. Despite his lip service to eliminating hate speech and pledges to collaborate with Jewish community groups, Orban has shown hostility to their input and criticism from the E.U. Human Rights First’s forthcoming report, “We’re not Nazis, but…: The Rise of Hate Parties in Hungary and Greece and Why America Should Care,” will detail this troubling development and include recommendations for the Obama administration and the European Union.