Alicia Silverstone writes to Putin, demands vegan meals for Pussy Riot defendant

Via, frequent FP contributor Shaun Walker on Twitter, I see that the PETA UK site is hosting a letter from Alicia Silverstone to Russian President Vladimir Putin, which addresses the real priority in the Pussy Riot trial. The Clueless star writes:

Dear President Putin,
I have been following the trial involving three members of the band Pussy Riot. As a
vegan myself, I was deeply concerned to learn that one of the women, Maria Alekhina,
who is a vegan, reportedly collapsed from hunger during a court session. I respectfully
request you to ensure that vegan meals are available to Ms. Alekhina—and all prisoners.
Regardless of the trial and its outcome, I’m sure you can agree that everyone has the right
to show compassion and refrain from harming animals by being vegan. May I please
have your assurance that Ms. Alekhina will have access to vegan foods? Thank you for
your time and attention to this urgent matter.

Yup, it's August.  

Frederick M. Brown/Getty Images


Hungarian far-right leader learns that he's Jewish

In June, Allison Good wrote about a politican from Hungary's far-right Jobbik party undergoing genetic testing to prove he's not Jewish. He may have been as gentile as they come, but the same can't be said for one of his most anti-Semitic colleagues:

As a rising star in Hungary's far-right Jobbik Party, Csanad Szegedi was notorious for his incendiary comments on Jews: He accused them of "buying up" the country, railed about the "Jewishness" of the political elite and claimed Jews were desecrating national symbols.[...]

Following weeks of Internet rumors, Szegedi acknowledged in June that his grandparents on his mother's side were Jews — making him one too under Jewish law, even though he doesn't practice the faith. His grandmother was an Auschwitz survivor and his grandfather a veteran of forced labor camps.

Since then, the 30-year-old has become a pariah in Jobbik and his political career is on the brink of collapse. He declined to be interviewed for this story.

Jobbik is evidently not taking this as a teaching moment. Szegedi has been forced to resign from the party has they're demanding he give up his seat in the European Parliament as well -- though the stated reason is bribery charges rather than Jewishness. 

Szegedi has reached out to the Hungarian Jewish community, but if he really wants to talk with someone who understands, he could try Vladimir Zhirinovsky, the flamboyant Russian neo-fascist who admitted in 2003 -- after years of making anti-Semitic remarks -- that his father was Jewish.