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29 Nov, 2020 15:17

Hungarian cultural commissioner lights powder keg of controversy after describing Europe as ‘George Soros’ gas chamber’

Hungarian cultural commissioner lights powder keg of controversy after describing Europe as ‘George Soros’ gas chamber’

Szilard Demeter, a ministerial commissioner and head of the Petofi Literary Museum in Budapest, used highly provocative language to describe Hungarian-American financier George Soros and his purported influence over EU policy.

“Europe is George Soros’ gas chamber,” the government-appointed cultural commissioner wrote in an op-ed. “Poison gas flows from the capsule of a multicultural open society, which is deadly to the European way of life.”

He went on to characterize Soros as “the liberal Fuhrer,” insisting that the businessman’s “liber-aryan army deifies him more than did Hitler’s own.”

The article was penned as a rebuke of Brussels' growing animosity toward Poland and Hungary, over alleged violations of legal norms and human rights within the bloc. According to Demeter, Hungarians and Poles are the “new Jews” of Europe. Both countries have moved to block language in a European Union budget that could withhold Covid-19 relief funds from nations accused of not honoring democratic standards. Warsaw and Budapest have denounced the provision as a witch hunt aimed at their socially conservative governments. 

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While the Hungarian government has been outspoken about its opposition to Soros and his well-funded advocacy for liberal causes, including the EU’s controversial open-door migrant policy, leading to an immigration crisis, Demeter’s article appears to have crossed a red line for many. 

The op-ed sparked outrage from Hungary’s Unified Hungarian Jewish Congregation, which lambasted the article as “tasteless” and “unforgivable.”

The Israeli Embassy in Budapest expressed similar outrage. 

“There is no place for connecting the worst crime in human history, or its perpetrators, to any contemporary debate, no matter how essential,” the Israeli diplomatic mission wrote in a tweet.

Soros, himself a Jew, grew up in Hungary and survived the Holocaust. However, some argued that outrage over Demeter’s metaphors was misplaced. 

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“Democrat politicians say it everyday about Trump,”noted one Twitter observer about the fury over the Hitler comparisons. 

Prime Minister Viktor Orban has been feuding with Soros for years, with his government enacting legislation which pushed a university and a charity funded by the billionaire out of the country. 

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