A Hungarian magazine has been lambasted for publishing a front cover of a Jewish leader surrounded by Hungarian banknotes.
The Figyelő cover shows a picture of Andras Heisler, Federation of Hungarian Jewish Communities (Mazsihisz) chief, surrounded by banknotes alongside a headline “Accounting Troubles.”
Weekly government magazine ‘Figyelo’ have accused Heisler and Mazsihisz of financial irregularities over a rebuild project for a state-funded synagogue in Budapest.
Heisler and Mazsihisz deny the allegations.
Israel’s ambassador to the country, Andor Nagy was stunned by the image.
And Jewish leaders including Board of Deputies’ president Marie van der Zy, have slated the decision.
“We voice our support for the Hungarian Jewish community,” she said.
“We are deeply concerned about the anti-Semitic rhetoric used in Hungary. The image (of Heisler) is abhorrent. It perpetuates centuries-old stereotypes and tropes against the Jewish community. We call on the Hungarian government to condemn this act.”
World Jewish Congress chief executive Robert Singer slated the magazine for a disgraceful use of an age-old anti-Semitic trope.
“The portrayal of András Heisler in both an article and on the cover of Figyelő conjures up the worst memories of contemporary history and makes a mockery of the Hungarian government’s praiseworthy pledge to combat anti-Jewish bigotry,” he said.
“In publishing this offensive magazine cover, the editors of Figyelő and anyone else who approved it are giving voice to the most reprehensible anti-Semitic dog whistles imaginable.”
Lauder added, “WJC demands the publishers of Figyelő issue an immediate apology to Mr. Heisler and to the Hungarian Jewish community, and we expect the Hungarian government to act energetically and publicly to combat all such manifestations of anti-Semitism.
“WJC has already set in motion diplomatic initiatives to address this disgraceful turn of events.”
In other Hungarian news, WJC has mourned the passing of Professor Randolph L. Braham. Braham, born in Bucharest in 1922, researched the fate of Jews in Hungary and Romania.
His‘Politics of Genocide’is an acclaimed publication.
He went on to enjoy a distinguished career in New York.
Braham returned the Order of Merit of the Republic of Hungary, received in 2011 and had his name removed from Budapest’s’ Holocaust Memorial Center Library over concerns about his homeland.
“The enemies of truth claim that they are the friends of Hungary, but it isn’t so,” said Heisler.
“Braham was the real friend of Hungary, one of the greatest Hungarian historians. He was a patriot for whom the mother tongue of truth, the Hungarian language, was his most important working tool and weapon. He offered the truth to his compatriots as the only real healing agent.
“He knew that only those who take a hard look at the past and who accept and draw lessons from it can have an opportunity to live a meaningful and responsible life.
“Last year, at the age of 95, he paid a visit to Hungary. He loved Hungary and wanted to shield us against the resurrection of our darkest demons.”
WJC’s Singer added, “Braham was a brilliant, courageous man and an outstanding scholar who never betrayed his principles.
“Thanks to his relentless efforts we know in great detail about the destruction of one of the greatest Jewish communities in Europe. May his memory be a blessing.”