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Jewish group warns of strengthening neo-Nazi parties in Europe, especially in Greece, Hungary

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    British journalist Robin Shepherd delivers his speech during the 14th Plenary Assembly of the World Jewish Congress in Budapest, Hungary, Tuesday, May 7, 2013. (AP Photo/MTI, Lajos Soos) (The Associated Press)

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    The President of the World Jewish Congress Ronald S. Lauder delivers his speech during the 14th Plenary Assembly of the World Jewish Congress in Budapest, Hungary, Tuesday, May 7, 2013. (AP Photo/MTI, Lajos Soos) (The Associated Press)

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    President of the World Jewish Congress Ronald S. Lauder, center, and other members of the WJC’s management poses for a group photo during the 14th Plenary Assembly of the World Jewish Congress in Budapest, Hungary, Tuesday, May 7, 2013. (AP Photo/MTI, Lajos Soos) (The Associated Press)

The World Jewish Congress said Tuesday it is greatly concerned about the emergence of neo-Nazi parties such as the Golden Dawn in Greece, Jobbik in Hungary, and Germany's National Democratic Party.

A study presented at the WJC assembly in Budapest, the Hungarian capital, highlighted the links regarding the strengthening of such extremist groups, the European economic crisis and latent Nazi-type tendencies.

"Although neo-Nazi style movements and ideologies are present in other parts of the world, it is unsurprising that an ideology that was born in Europe should be most likely to show a resurgence in Europe inside the party political system," the study said.

Among its recommendations, the study said mainstream parties should quarantine neo-Nazi groups by refusing to appear with them at public events or meeting with them in private.

The "economic crisis, which has nurtured the neo-Nazi cause, may endure or worsen," the document said. "We must be prepared for all eventualities."

In a resolution adopted by the World Jewish Congress at the end of its three-day meeting, the group led by U.S. businessman Ronald Lauder urged countries whose constitutions allow it to urgently consider banning neo-Nazi parties or organizations "posing a threat to the safety and well-being" of minorities.

One concern of the group is Golden Dawn, Greece's third most popular party. The party, which was once marginal, is fond of Nazi literature and symbols but rejects the neo-Nazi label. Hungary's Jobbik is the second-largest opposition group in parliament, having won 16.7 percent of the vote in 2010. Germany's far-right National Democratic Party has deputies in two of Germany's 16 regional assemblies but no representation at the federal level.

Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban's speech at the start of the WJC meeting on Sunday was criticized by the Jewish organization for failing to specifically mention the threat posed by Jobbik.

On Tuesday, however, Lauder said he was told about a recent interview Orban gave to the Yedioth Ahronoth Israeli newspaper in which the prime minister called Jobbik "an increasing danger" to Hungarian democracy.

"This was a strong statement about Jobbik," Lauder said, apologizing for not knowing sooner about the interview published last week. "I would like that to be put in the record that the prime minister really did take a stand against Jobbik and I appreciate that."