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The Simon Wiesenthal Center today blasted the awarding of the Order of Merit of the Knight’s Cross, a high state honor, by Hungarian President Janos Ader to Zsolt Bayer (pictured) last Thursday. Rabbi Abraham Cooper, Associate Dean and Mark Weitzman, Director of Government Affairs for the Wiesenthal Center said, “This award is a disgrace. The Hungarian government cannot have it both ways: Celebrating bigotry while presenting today’s Hungary as a forward thinking democracy.”
“This ‘honor’ legitimizes the despicable racist and anti-Semitic writings of Zsolt Bayer. Bayer, who has called the Roma people “animals” and who published a series of anti-Semitic columns last year deserves to be unreservedly condemned and not honored,” Cooper and Weitzman added.
Weitzman, who also Chairs the Committee on Antisemitism and Holocaust Denial of the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) added, “For the Hungarian government to take this step less than a year after chairing the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance gives credence to the claim that their chairmanship was just a cynical act of political manipulation, while the true face of the Orban government is revealed in its continued efforts to honor racist and antisemitic figures of Hungary’s past and present such as Balint Homan and Gyorgy Donath.
The Simon Wiesenthal Center and it’s over 400,000 constituent members stand with Andras Heisler, the president of Hungary’s main Jewish umbrella organization, Mazsihisz and all those within and outside of Hungary who have joined in to protest this dishonorable honor.”
For more information, please contact the Center's Public Relations Department, 310-553-9036. Join the Center on Facebook, www.facebook.com/simonwiesenthalcenter, or follow @simonwiesenthal for news updates sent direct to your Twitter feed.
The Simon Wiesenthal Center is one of the largest international Jewish human rights organizations with over 400,000 member families in the United States. It is an NGO at international agencies including the United Nations, UNESCO, the OSCE, the OAS, the Council of Europe and the Latin American Parliament (Parlatino).