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Tags: pope francis | antisemitism | hungary

Pope Francis Warns Antisemitism 'Still Lurking in Europe'

Pope Francis Warns Antisemitism 'Still Lurking in Europe'
(Getty)

By    |   Sunday, 12 September 2021 07:34 PM

Pope Francis On a trip to Hungary over the weekend warned that antisemitism is "still lurking in Europe," and "must not be allowed to burn."

"I think of the threat of antisemitism still lurking in Europe and elsewhere," Francis said, according to NBC News. And "this is a fuse that must not be allowed to burn. And the best way to defuse it is to work together, positively, and to promote fraternity," he added.

It was the first time the pope had traveled internationally following his intestinal surgery in July. He spent seven hours in Budapest, where he gave Mass to a crowd of 100,000 people before setting off to neighboring Slovakia.

Briefly, the pontiff met with Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban, whose policies with refugees don't reflect the pope's own. In the past, the pope has criticized "national populism," though Orban calls it "national conersvatism."

Orban, who has held office since 2010, upset his country's Jewish community in 2017 after he used an image of Jewish financier George Soros in an anti-immigration campaign. He later rejected calls to take posters pertaining to the campaign down.

In 2018, Orban was criticized for comments he made at a March 2018 rally.

"We are fighting an enemy that is different from us," Orban said. "Not open, but hiding; not straightforward but crafty; not honest but base; not national but international; does not believe in working but speculates with money; does not have its own homeland but feels it owns the whole world."

But Orban has subsequently rejected any accusations of antisemitism, calling them "ridiculous." Hungary is "more than fair and correct country in that respect," he added. And Hungary has "zero tolerance" for antisemitism.

Orban wrote on Facebook after he met with Francis "not to let Christian Hungary perish."

Ira Froman, who works for Human Rights First to combat antisemitism, said Orban's comments were indeed antisemitic.

"Orban's a smart guy," Froman says. "He knows his history and yes, he knew what he was doing. The whole Soros campaign was chockablock with anti-Semitic allusions."

Gabor Kalman, the Bet Orim Reform Jewish Congregation president in Hungary, said he doesn't believe Orban is antisemitic but does believe antisemitism is growing in Hungary.

"I am convinced and the leadership of my congregation also believe that antisemitism doesn't stem from the current leadership," Kalman said.

Human Rights Watch, in May, reported that there had been growing incidences of violence against Jews in Europe.

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Pope Francis On a trip to Hungary over the weekend warned that antisemitism is "still lurking in Europe," and "must not be allowed to burn."
pope francis, antisemitism, hungary
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2021-34-12
Sunday, 12 September 2021 07:34 PM
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