Eszter Fabriczki, a Jewish Hungarian student at Central European University in Budapest, posted the following open letter on Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s Facebook page on Wednesday night. This open letter comes after Israel’s Foreign Ministry was ordered by Netanyahu to revoke a statement by Israeli Ambassador to Hungary Yossi Amrani calling for the Hungarian government to end a controversial propaganda campaign featuring Hungarian-born Jewish-American financier George Soros.
Open Letter to the Prime Minister of Israel
July 12, 2017
Prime Minister’s Office
3 Kaplan St. Hakirya
Dear Prime Minister Netanyahu,
I am writing to you as a Jewish Hungarian woman, a staunch supporter of the State of Israel, and a student at the Central European University.
I am deeply appalled by your Foreign Ministry’s retraction of the statement made by the Embassy in Budapest regarding the hate campaign against George Soros.
I am no fan of Mr. Soros, especially when it comes to issues related to Israel. On the other hand, I am a student at the Central European University, which was founded by him, for which I am thankful. It is a university where I can openly criticize George Soros, defend the State of Israel, and think freely. This is especially important to me now, when the government of Hungary is actively trying to prevent us from exercising these rights and freedoms.
History has taught us that complacency in precarious times can lead to tragedies of immense measure. All four of my grandparents – may their memories be a blessing – were Holocaust survivors, and as an observant Jew, I am increasingly anxious living in a country where the general mood feels reminiscent of that of the 1930s. Anti-Semitism on the rise; today, 23% of Hungarians are strongly anti-Semitic, and 12% are mildly anti-Semitic.
It is the responsibility of the State of Israel to offer protection to all Jews, including those living in the diaspora. However, by issuing this statement you have failed us miserably.
The United States is the greatest ally of the State of Israel, yet you have decided to show support to a man trying to close an American university on the basis of a personal grudge. In order to align yourself with a Prime Minster who is an outcast in Europe, and has called Miklós Horthy “an exceptional statesman”, you have legitimized a campaign which is clearly aimed at leveraging the existing environment of anti-Semitism to gain votes. A hate campaign, that will end in three days, no thanks to you.
How could you let the Jewish people of Hungary become victim to your political tactics? You were elected by the people of Israel, because they felt that you and your party were the right statesmen to protect them from the many threats facing the country, but the responsibility of the Prime Minister of Israel is far greater than that of any other head of state; you are responsible for all the Jewish people of the world. We said never again, and we meant it!
Let me reiterate, I strongly disagree with Mr. Soros on the Jewish State of Israel’s right to self-determination. I take every chance I get to show my support for Israel and defend it. However, these are two separate issues which should not be mixed! How can you not condemn a campaign where a Jewish billionaire from the United States is portrayed as a hook-nosed villain?
To those members of the Jewish community, who say we shouldn’t consider this anti-Semitism – for if we do, we ourselves are equating global capitalism and the establishment as Judaism – I say they are greatly mistaken! We are not the ones connecting this description with Jews or anti-Semitism, it is an age-old form of anti-Semitism and anti-Semitic propaganda, which has been especially prevalent in Eastern Europe. Just the other day, historian (sic) Maria Schmidt was quoted saying that George Soros is backed by a specific group that represent speculative global capital. The fact that they are brilliantly masking their otherwise blatant anti-Semitist, xenophobic campaign by hiding behind members of the Jewish community, does not mean we should allow it, and definitely does not mean that we should support it!
You, Mr. Prime Minister, have given this government the ultimate trump card over the Jewish community, the unequivocal support of the State of Israel. This is a complete and utter betrayal of the Jewish community of Hungary which I cannot condone.
Student, concerned Jew
(Eszter asked we indicate that this open letter represents her own opinion, and not that of the Central European University).