Israel backtracks on Hungary criticism, hits out at Soros

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After Israeli Ambassador to Hungary Yossi Amrani condemned the anti-Semitic campaign in Hungary against Jewish-American billionaire George Soros, the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs issued a clarification statement yesterday (Sunday), criticizing both the anti-Semitic campaign as well as Soros himself.

Soros has become an increasing target of government criticism before the April 2018 election in Hungary.

Hungarian Jews have called on Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to cancel an official visit to Hungary scheduled for July 18, to protest remarks by Prime Minister Viktor Orban in praise of Hungary's World War II-era anti-Semitic leader Miklós Horthy and the campaign against Soros.

Since the latest posters appeared on billboards and at public spaces last week, several incidents of anti-Semitic graffiti daubed on them have been reported.

"At the moment, beyond political criticism of a certain person, the campaign not only evokes sad memories but also sows hatred and fear".

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"Israel deplores any expression of anti-Semitism in any country and stands with Jewish communities everywhere in confronting this hatred", ministry spokesman Emmanuel Nachson says in a statement.

Israel's right-wing accuses Soros of backing human rights groups critical of the government.

"This was the sole objective of the statement issued by Israel's ambassador to Hungary".

Netanyahu, who heads what is seen as the most right-wing government in his country's history, is also to visit Hungary on July 18, the first such trip by an Israeli premier since the European Union member's transition from communism in 1989.

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