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The painful charge of anti-Semitism

May 16th, 2013

A leading official of the Lutheran Church, currently undersecretary of foreign affairs, thanks a Calvinist presbyter for the service he did to Hungary’s reputation when he quietly confronted an anti-Semitic group.

In Heti Válasz, Undersecretary of Foreign Affairs Gergely Prőhle, secular leader of the Hungarian Lutheran Church calls it deeply regrettable that the “appalling charge of anti-Semitism is increasingly levelled against Hungary.” He regrets, in particular, that internationally renowned pianist András Schiff refuses to perform in Hungary for that reason. During the World Jewish Congress Prőhle met one of the delegates who were critical of PM Orbán’s address during the opening dinner (See BudaPost, May 8 and 13). The delegate complained about a rabbi who was recently beaten up at a football stadium. The victim of that attack, Prőhle remarked, was the Chairman of the Wallenberg Society, who is indeed active in keeping the memory of Holocaust victims alive, but who actually happens to be the son of a Calvinist pastor, not a rabbi. (Mr Ferenc Orosz who is an active presbyter in the Calvinist Church, went to see the football match with his family and told a group of youngsters to stop chanting Fascist slogans, whereupon he was called a Commie and a Jew. On leaving the stadium one of them exhibited a Nazi salute in front of him, then hit him, breaking his nose. A police investigation is underway.) The sober majority feels offended when it is accused of anti-Semitism,” Prőhle argues, and thanks Ferenc Orosz who “on behalf of that sober majority gave an example of civic courage”.