Today, Congressman Steve Israel (D-Huntington) led a letter to Secretary of State John Kerry urging the State Department to work with other members of the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) to postpone Hungary's request to chair the intergovernmental body in 2015. The IHRA is made up of 31 member countries and four observer countries that are committed to the implementation of policies and programs in support of Holocaust education, remembrance and research. There has been a recent rise in anti-Semitic incidents in Hungary and a lack of condemnation by the country's leaders. Allowing Hungary to chair the IHRA at this point in time would send the wrong message.
Rep. Israel said, "The rise of anti-Semitism in Hungary is extremely concerning, and it's even more concerning that Hungarian officials have tolerated these discriminatory actions. I am calling on Secretary of State Kerry to work with other members of the IHRA to delay Hungary's chairmanship request. We simply cannot allow a country that tolerates anti-Semitism to be chairing a body dedicated to Holocaust remembrance."
Since 2010, the extremist right-wing, anti-Semitic Jobbik Party has had the third-largest presence in the Hungarian Parliament. They have called for a list of Jewish public officials and have labeled Jews as a national security risk. At the same time, anti-Semitic incidents, including vandalism and bullying, have been on the rise and attempts have been made to distort and trivialize the history of the Holocaust.