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Editoral: Figyelő firmly rejects accusations of anti-Semitism


The Figyelő’s editorial staff has faced numerous unfounded attacks since we have highlighted in our printed edition the confusing circumstances of a project of the Federation of Hungarian Jewish Communities (Mazsihisz). As described in our written article some serious questions emerged about the renovation of the Synagogue on Rumbach Sebestyén street and a planned exhibition called the House of Coexistence.

While we might have heard a lot about the different scenarios surrounding the various concepts of the House of Coexistence project of Mazsihisz still no one has ever seen a final plan. That is why Figyelő was also seeking public contracts officially from Mazsihisz, but we got the documentation only after we had filed a lawsuit against the organization and even then, received only a part of them. Meanwhile it has turned out that while the project in 2014 was estimated to need the sum of 2.7 billion Forints (hungarian currency) of state support, currently it has almost received 3.2 billion Forints. In addition, Mazsihisz can only account for spending 1,2 billion Forints.

After the release of our article the Israeli embassy in Budapest accused us anti-Semitic accusations, all because we revealed potential ambiguities involving a Jewish organization. Mazsihisz responded similarly to our pragmatic and objective article.

The Figyelő’s editorial staff was surprised to read the statement of the Israeli Ambassador about our newspaper. This is an attempt to intervene in the editing practices of a Hungarian weekly. We wrote in our editorial stand that this pressure is both a violation of the freedom of the press and of Hungarian sovereignty.

Figyelő also refuses the offensive and censorious statement of the Federation of Hungarian Jewish Communities (Mazsihisz). The statement equates anti-Semitism with the financial exposure of a Hungarian Jewish community.

The journalistic work of Figyelő is about meticulously seeking out facts and revealing them, and we never examine the origin and the ethnic affiliation of the persons scrutinized in our articles. Figyelő rejects any aspiration that would force us to take such considerations into account.

We would also like to attract attention to the fact that in February this year, a Hungarian liberal weekly, Magyar Narancs appeared with a front page featuring the rabbi leader, Slomó Köves of another Hungarian Jewish religious community (EMIH). On the front page of Magyar Narancs the rabbi could be seen with a title Köves Slomó’s billions from the state (Köves Slomó állami milliárdjai in Hungarian) suggesting that the rabbi and not the community he leads received billions of forints from the Hungarian government. In addition to this a prejudiced subtitle could be seen as well on the front page of Magyar Narancs: Business and Judaism (Üzlet és zsidóság).


The front page of Magyar Narancs with the subchapter "Business and Judaism"

In contrast, on its criticized front page Figyelő portrayed András Heisler, the secular leader of Mazsihisz. We also made it clear on our front page that we specifically focused on Mazsihisz as an organization. Our title and subchapter were Troubles around settlement of accounts (Elszámolási nehézségek) and the House of Coexistence: a project by Heisler (Együttélés háza: a Heisler-projekt).


Figyelő specifically focused on Mazsihisz as an organization 

Therefore, we are looking forward to hear the Israeli ambassador’s and Mazsihisz's opinion about the truly scandalous front page of Magyar Narancs, especially after they have criticized ours for no obvious reasons.