Hungary’s highest court found that a co-founder of the country’s ruling party had made anti-Semitic statements.
In the June 26 ruling, the Kúria, Hungary’s highest judicial body, rejected a libel suit by Zsolt Bayer, a columnist and one of the co-founders of the Fidesz center-right ruling party.
Bayer sued the radio station Klubrádió and Peter Feldmajer, the former president of the Mazsihisz, the Hungarian Jewish umbrella organization, following the airing of an interview in which Feldmajer said Bayer had made anti-Semitic comments.
In 2011, Bayer published an article on in the newspaper Magyar Hírlap decrying what he described as foreign influence in Hungary. He referred to such people as “human excrement named something like Cohen.”
The high court said the language was “by logic” anti-Semitic and offensive. Bayer was appealing an earlier ruling against his lawsuit.
More recently, Bayer wrote in the Jan. 5 edition of Magyar Hirlap that Roma “are not suitable for being among people. Most are animals, and behave like animals. They shouldn’t be tolerated or understood, but stamped out. Animals should not exist. In no way.”
Amid calls urging Fidesz to distance itself from Bayer, party spokeswoman Gabriella Selmeczi said at a news conference Jan. 8 that the party would not take a position on the basis of an opinion piece.
Fidesz has condemned the ultranationalist opposition Jobbik Party for its anti-Semitism, but Jewish leaders and U.S. officials have said that the rejection of the phenomenon by the party and its leaders has not been forceful enough.