Below are excerpts from a speech Ronald Lauder presented at the World Jewish Congress.
The rise of anti-Semitic parties in the 1920s and the 1930s led to the darkest chapter of all - the deportation and gassing of more than 400,000 Jewish men, women and children. A staggering one-third of the 1.1 million Jews murdered at Auschwitz were Hungarian.
It is so clear that if these dark forces of anti-Semitism had not been allowed to rise in the 20th century – not just Jews but all Hungarians would have prospered.
This always strikes me as so obvious – when Jews are allowed to live their lives freely and practice their religion, countries always flourish. It is obvious. But all too often, the irrational hatred that is Anti-Semitism defeats common sense.
...Fascism and intolerance always single out the Jews first. But they are never the last victims. All good people suffer. Countries suffer. In the end, this hatred and intolerance only destroys a nation’s hopes, its progress and its future.
Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban’s speech against anti-Semitism at the World Jewish Congress (WJC) in Budapest on Sunday (5 May) failed to impress organisers, as the far-right Jobbik party staged a rally against Jews in the Hungarian capital.
Orban condemned the rise in anti-Semitism in Hungary and in Europe more widely. He called it a danger that “threatens even us Christians” and voiced determination to stamp it out.
Congress organisers said Orban did not confront the true nature of the problem, however
“We regret that Mr Orban did not address any recent anti-Semitic or racist incidents in the country, nor did he provide sufficient reassurance that a clear line has been drawn between his government and the far-right fringe,” the WJC, which represents Jewish communities around the world, said in a statement.