“Hungary has proclaimed a policy of zero tolerance with relation to anti-Semitism, will continue to take action against it in future, and will also be representing this position in international organisations”, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade Péter Szijjártó stressed in New York on Wednesday evening at an event held on the topic within the framework of the 73rd session of the United Nations General Assembly.

Prior to the debate, the Minister met with representatives of American and international Jewish organisations and also assured them that they can count on Hungary in this respect.

“In Hungary’s view, Europe can only be strong in future if it sticks to its Judaeo-Christian traditions”, Mr. Szijjártó said in his speech at the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) conference. “For this reason, Budapest is against movements in Europe that want to overstep the system of nation states and the era of Christianity”, he added.

The Minister expressed his concern with relation to fresh developments that show that anti-Semitism is on the increase in certain parts of Western Europe, adding that in his opinion this is the result of massive and uncontrolled migration. “Parallel societies are coming about in many parts of Western Europe, and these not only represent a security challenge, but are also a cradle for religious extremism and represent a major risk to the Jewish community”, he stated. As he explained, Hungary does not allow anti-Semitism to any degree. Holocaust denial has been included in the penal code, and anyone committing such an act must face very serious consequences and punishment.

“The largest Jewish community in Central Europe lives in Hungary, and this community is experiencing its renaissance”, Mr. Szijjártó said at the debate, which was also attended by UN Secretary-General António Guterres. “Theodor Herzl, the father of modern Zionism, was born in Budapest, and one of Europe’s largest Synagogues and Catholic cathedrals are found in very close vicinity to each other in the capital: this clearly indicates that in Hungary these religious communities not only live side-by-side, but together”, the Minister said. He pointed out that Hungary has launched a comprehensive programme for the renovation of its synagogues, including synagogues found in cross-border territories that are inhabited by Hungarians: the synagogue in Subotica (Szabadka, Serbia), the second largest in Europe, was recently completed. He confirmed that the European Maccabi Games, an important event in the Jewish sporting calendar, will be hosted by Hungary next year.

Mr. Szijjártó also spoke about the fact that Hungary views Israel as a strategic partner and supports a fair and balanced approach to issues concerning Israel in international organisations, including the UN, and has never supported politically motivated decisions and resolutions. “The Government recently initiated a joint statement on the fight against anti-Semitism in the UN Human Rights Council, which was supported by 25 countries”, Mr. Szijjártó said, adding that this was the first ever document of this kind at the body. He highlighted the fact that the statement stresses the importance of education in the fight against anti-Semitism, and this was also the primary suggestion he put forward at Wednesday’s UNESCO conference.

The Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade held talks in New York with representatives of the Anti-Defamation league (ADL), the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations (CPMAJO), the  National Coalition Supporting Eurasian Jewry (NCSEJ), B'nai B'birth (Children of the Covenant), the World Jewish Congress (WJC), the American Jewish Committee (AJC) and the Simon Wiesenthal Center.