New York - The World Jewish Congress is appalled by the disgraceful use of an age-old antisemitic trope in what purports to be a serious Hungarian news magazine. WJC President Ronald S. Lauder sent a letter to Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban, urging him to condemn the antisemitic cover, calling it "one of the oldest and vilest caricatures of the Jewish people", which "places not just the magazine, but all of Hungary in a very bad light."
“The timing of this is especially critical because people in the United States, and elsewhere, are paying greater attention to the upsurge in anti-Semitism throughout Europe and, especially, in Hungary," Lauder wrote, adding: “While I understand and respect the boundaries of a free press, I believe your strong, public condemnation of this very clear attack on all Jewish people, would not just distance you, personally, from this most disgusting hatred, worthy of the Nazi era, but it would also place your government and all of Hungary in a better light.”
WJC CEO Robert Singer said in a statement: “The portrayal of András Heisler, the elected head of the Federation of Jewish Communities in Hungary and a vice-president of the WJC 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,” declared Robert Singer, CEO of the WJC.”
The Figyelő cover in question depicts a photo-shopped picture of Heisler surrounded by images of falling banknotes alongside the headline, “Accounting Troubles.”
“In publishing this offensive magazine cover, the editors of Figyelő and anyone else who approved it are giving voice to the most reprehensible antisemitic dog whistles imaginable,” Singer continued. “The WJC demands that 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 antisemitism. The WJC has already set in motion diplomatic inititatives to address this disgraceful turn of events."