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'A danger to humanity': Activists block Hungarian PM's convoy at Yad Vashem

Dozens of demonstrators, including Holocaust survivors and descendants of survivors, block Prime Minister Viktor Orbán’s convoy outside Israeli Holocaust museum. ‘He is a danger to humanity.’

By Oren Ziv

Dozens of demonstrators blocked Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán’s motorcade as he left Yad Vashem, Israel’s Holocaust museum, in Jerusalem Thursday, as part of his official visit to the country. The demonstrators were protesting Orbán’s anti-Semitism, as well as his iron-fisted policies toward asylum seekers in his country.

The demonstrators held signs in both Hebrew and Hungarian and yelled the word “shame” while blocking the convoy as it tried to leave the museum. Within minutes the crowd was dispersed by Shin Bet agents and police officers, with the protesters continuing to chant as Orbán planted a tree in The Garden of the Righteous Among the Nations, dedicated to non-Jews who aided Jews during the Holocaust.

Orbán has been waging an anti-Semitic campaign against billionaire George Soros, himself a Hungarian Jew, and has enacted harsh policies against refugees, including by building detention camps and a separation barrier on Hungary’s borders.

“I am here because I believe Orbán has no reason to be in Yad Vashem,” said Veronica Cohen, a Holocaust survivor born in Hungary. “Because of his anti-humanistic attitude, because of his incitement against refugees. We were once refugees, we are in a sense a nation of refugees, and it is our duty to protect them. He is a danger to humanity.”

“Unfortunately the prime minister of Israel also has very little respect for human life. The new laws passed recently are leading us toward fascism,” Cohen added, as she held a sign reading “Never Again.”

“We are protesting against this shameful visit,” said Attorney Eitay Mack, one of the organizers of the action. “Orbán is carrying out an anti-Semitic and racist campaign in Hungary against George Soros. The heads of the Jewish community in Hungary have called it dangerous.”

Mack also spoke about policies that Yad Vashem can enact regarding visits by racist leaders. “Every dictator, every murderer who wants to buy weapons from Israel must come and lay a wreath at Yad Vashem. We saw the head of the junta in Myanmar come here for a visit, only to carry out a genocidal campaign months later. We saw the prime minister of Kenya, who is suspected of crimes against humanity. Yad Vashem has turned into an institution that whitewashes the crimes of these regimes — as long as they do business with Israel.”

Yael Weiss-Reind, whose family was murdered in Hungary during the Holocaust, said that Yad Vashem was granting legitimacy to these regimes when it “accepts leaders who carry out policies and ideologies that are very similar to what we saw decades ago.”

“My family is from Hungary,” she says, “my grandfather was murdered in Auschwitz, and the prime minister of Hungary, who is being welcomed here with respect, has previously expressed his admiration for the leader who helped carry out the annihilation of 564,000 Jews. I am disgusted by the fact that the State of Israel is hosting him.”

This article was first published in Hebrew on Local Call. Read it here.

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    1. gliba

      Isn’t Israel a country with “iron-fisted policies toward asylum seekers” and genocidal policies against the palestinian people they’re stealing their country from?
      I’m confused about this article.

      Reply to Comment
    2. Lewis from Afula

      I don’t get this.
      One can be against Soros because of his political views ie his globalist, open-borders ideology that he funds throughout the World.
      It does not make one necessarily an antisemite.

      Re: Michlos Horthy
      A pro-Catholic, authoriterian figure who espoused a traditional, East European-style of antisemitism. But there are different intensies of antisemitism. During Horthy’s reign, no Hungarian Jews were shipped to Comcentraton Camps inside Hungary proper (the situation was different in those parts of Greater Hungary that Germany had transferred to Hungarian rule during the war). It was only that Horthy was overthrown by the Nazis, did the mass transports to concentration camps began.

      So a nasty, authoriterean bigot who went along with war crimes led by his compatriots – YES
      A Nazi War Criminal himself – NO.

      Reply to Comment
      • Ben

        Oh. Glad we straightened that out. A nasty, authoritarian bigot who went along with war crimes led by his compatriots, but not in a narrow technical sense a full fledged Nazi war criminal? Ok, I mean sub-maximal anti-Semitism, that’s cool, right? Invite the fellow right on in to Yad Vashem! After all, we need new arms customers! Pack up the signs and lets go home. Lewis, you really have no shame.

        “A nasty, authoritarian bigot who went along with war crimes led by his compatriots” can be said to describe Netanyahu and Shaked, and Bennett, and Smotrich.

        That reminds me to remind you once again that you have failed to answer ‘Yeah, Right’ as to why it is that your logic does not lead to the conclusion that the Warsaw Ghetto wasn’t under German military occupation):

        Reply to Comment
    3. RP

      Minor correction: Kenya’s (disgraceful) head of state is called a President, not a Prime Minister.

      Reply to Comment
    4. JeffB

      Just as we Jews have a right to protect our people, identity, culture and values, so do Christian European ethnic people, including Hungarians. How in the world can we Jews bash the Hungarians for wanting to protect the integrity of their borders when we have impregnable fences and walls to protect Israel’s borders.
      Accusing Hungarians of antisemitism for resisting the manipulations of George Soros is a misuse of the word!

      Reply to Comment