The image of Andras Heisler, head of the Federation of Hungarian Jewish Communities, or Mazsihisz, the country’s largest Jewish group, was published late last week on the front page of the Figyelo weekly.
The magazine accuses Heisler and Mazsihisz of accounting irregularities in connection with a state-funded synagogue renovation project in Budapest including a Jewish museum, according to the AFP news service. Mazsihisz denies the allegation.
The cover image “revives centuries-old stereotypes against our community,” the group said in a statement published on its website.
“The appearance on a front cover of such incitement against a religious leader without any factual basis is unprecedented,” the statement said, calling it “deliberate character assassination.”
The cover was published about a day after the Hungarian government pledged to spend $1.7 million every year on projects to combat anti-Semitism in Hungary and elsewhere in Europe, according to the AFP.
The American Jewish Committee condemned the attack.
“Jews with money is a familiar, disgraceful anti-Semitic trope,” said Rabbi Andrew Baker, AJC director of International Jewish Affairs and a special envoy on combating anti-Semitism for the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe. “This attack on Hungary’s Jewish community is shameful, especially since Prime Minister Orbán has declared a ‘zero tolerance policy’ on anti-Semitism.”