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Hungary pledges 1.5 mln euros to fight anti-Semitism

AFP  |  Budapest 

The said Thursday it will spend 1.5 million euros (USD 1.7 million) every year on various projects to combat anti-Semitism.

Viktor has been accused of fostering anti-Semitic sentiment through a virulent campaign against Hungarian-born liberal US billionaire George Soros, who is Jewish.

Orban vehemently denies any anti-Semitism and has pointed to his close relationship with Israeli -- who has also criticised Soros -- as proof of his good relations with the Jewish community.

The money will go towards supporting a Hungarian Jewish organisation, the (APLE), according to

It will help the organisation fund various projects across Europe, including education programmes and a hotline to report anti-Semitic incidents.

APLE will also open an office in "to make its voice heard" at European institutions, Kovacs said.

Orban says Soros' Jewish identity does not preclude him from criticism and accuses him of plotting to increase migration to -- a charge which Soros denies.

Some of the huge billboards used by the government in its 2017 poster campaign against Soros were daubed with anti-Semitic graffiti.

Hungary's largest Jewish organisation Maszihisz branded that campaign "toxic" and called for it to be scrapped.

In a blog post on Thursday, Kovacs stressed the government's "zero tolerance" approach to anti-Semitism and pointed to several measures it had taken to foster Jewish life, including devoting resources to the reconstruction of synagogues and Jewish cemeteries.

According to a Europe-wide poll of anti-Semitic attitudes commissioned by broadcaster and published earlier this week, 42 percent of Hungarians think Jews have too much influence in and business across the world and 19 percent admit to having an unfavourable opinion of Jews.

However, according to the World Jewish Congress, Hungary's Jewish community -- Central Europe's largest -- faces only "occasional anti-Semitic incidents" and has "every facility" to express its heritage and religious life.

Concerns have also been raised about the way the government has dealt with Hungary's history during the

Acclaimed Hungarian-born -- who died last week -- returned a state honour in 2014, accusing of minimising Hungary's role in the deportation of hundreds of thousands of Hungarian Jews to Nazi death camps.

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Thu, November 29 2018. 23:30 IST