US won’t apologize for mistakenly accusing Hungary of anti-Semitic vandalism that actually happened in Sweden

Linda Thomas-Greenfield, permanent representative of the United States to the United Nations, speaks during a Security Council meeting on the maintenance of peace and security in Ukraine, Monday, Feb. 6, 2023, at the United Nations headquarters. (AP Photo/John Minchillo)
By Dénes Albert
3 Min Read

A U.S. ambassador claimed Hungary was responsible for an instance of anti-Semitic vandalism of a Holocaust memorial, in front of an international audience at the United Nations, only to privately admit the incident actually happened in Sweden. Despite Hungary asking for a public apology and correction, the U.S. has refused to do so.

U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Linda Thomas-Greenfield made the unfounded accusation during a high-level UN meeting on global efforts to combat anti-Semitism at the UN’s headquarters in New York.

Thomas-Greenfield, who hosted the meeting, drew the attention of the entire audience to Hungary at the beginning of her speech by claiming that in Ukraine synagogues are being attacked by Russian rockets while in Hungary Holocaust memorials are being vandalized.

The only problem is that after a complaint from the Hungarian diplomats, the U.S. mission admitted behind closed doors that they had made a mistake: The incident had in fact taken place in Sweden, where the statue of Swedish diplomat Raoul Wallenberg, known for having saved thousands of Jews during the Holocaust, had been vandalized.

In the ambassador’s speech, Hungary was an example of how “anti-Semitism is spreading and growing around the world.” Thomas-Greenfield said this hatred was once again threatening the security of Jewish people and the sense of belonging they deserve. The UN ambassador noted at the meeting that “this hatred is being fueled not only by extremist groups, but also by mainstream political leaders, popular celebrities and people in positions of power.”

The Hungarian Foreign Ministry said it was “quite outrageous that the U.S. ambassador made unfounded and false allegations about Hungary in front of the wide publicity of the UN.”

Although the meeting was attended by the Hungarian delegation, they were not given the opportunity to speak by the U.S. host, and the Hungarian ambassador had to take personal action against the unfounded allegations after the meeting.

The Biden administration and Hungary have long been at odds, with the former having made a number of unfounded accusations against the country in the past. President Joe Biden himself said during his 2020 presidential campaign that Hungary and Poland were run by “totalitarian regimes.”

The Hungarian Embassy has requested a public correction from the U.S. Embassy, but the Americans have so far refused to do so. In fact, according to a document obtained by, U.S. diplomacy, for its part, considers the matter closed. The reference to anti-Semitism in Hungary in the transcript of the speech was simply crossed out.

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