Facebook post refers to modern numerus clausus and a „Jewish quota” in Hungary

The Action and Protection Foundation in Hungary has received several reports that a Facebook post about the August 20 state awards and the photo attached to it is offensive in general and especially offensive to Jews.

On August 20, the State Foundation Day in Hungary, the Hungarian government hands out awards. This year, among the recipients were Nóra Szilágyi, head of the Cedek Charity Service, and Chief Rabbi István Darvas, secretary and professor of the Budapest University of Jewish Studies, about whom the author of the offensive post suggests that they were honoured not based on merit but on the basis of origin.

The post reads:

„Modern numerus clausus… Every March 15 and August 20, our favourite game is to try to guess who will be the 2-3 privileged who will receive the „Jewish quota” of state honours that year. This year, we were not disappointed.”

The image’s context and use may reinforce prejudices against the Jewish community, particularly those who practice Hasidism, as seen in the photo. The numerus clausus is known in Hungarian history as a tool of harsh exclusion and exclusion of Jews, a law which was passed by the Hungarian National Assembly in September 1920, thereby being the first antisemitic law of the post-First World War era. The law pegged enrolment to the ratio of ‘races’ and ‘nationalities’ in the general population. However, it was undoubtedly aimed at Jews and was motivated by anti-Jewish sentiment.

Mentioning it in connection with the state honours of August 20 is a misinterpretation of historical knowledge, even if it is attempted to hide it behind the guise of mockery.