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December 17, 2017 12:23 pm

Top American, French Jewish Groups Voice Concern Over Entry of Far-Right Party Into New Austrian Government

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Head of the Freedom Party Heinz-Christian Strache (L) and head of the People’s Party Sebastian Kurz address a news conference in Vienna, Austria, Dec. 15, 2017. Photo: Reuters / Leonhard Foeger.

A prominent American Jewish leader voiced criticism on Sunday of the coalition deal reached between Austrian Chancellor-elect Sebastian Kurz’s conservative People’s Party and the far-right Freedom Party (FPÖ).

“It is severely disquieting that despite the many real concerns known and expressed about the FPÖ, it will now retain a position of serious influence, giving the Austrian government a real push even further to the right,” World Jewish Congress President Ronald S. Lauder stated.

“Mr. Kurz is a capable man, who has shown very positive attitudes toward Israel and the Jewish people, and I wish him luck as chancellor in leading Austria to great success,” Lauder said of Austria’s 31-year-old incoming head of government. “I hope he will make every effort to ensure that the policies set within his government continue to follow a democratic line, and do not dissolve into dangerous populism.

“The FPÖ is a far-right party whose members have in the past expressed xenophobic and anti-Semitic sentiments, yet is has now been charged with overseeing the interior, defense, and foreign ministries, three of the most important and powerful fields of government,” Lauder concluded. “We have heard promises since the election that FPÖ has softened its policies, but this will remain rhetoric until actual proof of this is shown.”

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The Representative Council of French Jewish Institutions (CRIF) issued a similar statement, saying, “CRIF is worried to see the far-right parties on our doorstep. How can we imagine the harmonious development of Europe with populist parties that want to destroy it?”

Meanwhile, Israel Hayom reported on Sunday that Kurz’s new government has included a “clear reference to Israel’s Jewish character” in its platform.

According to Israel Hayom, German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s government is the only other in Europe to have done the same before.

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  • but no “concern” about müslim jewmurderers.

  • stannadel

    This is all about koshering a governing coalition that includes a far right party founded by Nazis and loaded with ex- and covert neo-Nazis (and just plain Antisemites). The agreement by the Freedom Party to provisions about Israel and the Holocaust was part of the price they had to pay to get the agreement of the former Green Party leader and current President of Austria, Alexander Van der Bellen, to accept them as government ministers. It can’t be taken seriously as the have said at times that they would sign anything that was required in order to take office–implying that their signing would be just pro-forma and without any real commitment. It is like when party leader (and now vice-chancellor) Strache went to Yad Vashem as a PR move, but wore the cap of his far right wing Antisemitic fraternity instead of a kippa as a dog whistle for his hard core supporters to let them know he was just fooling the Israelis and naive others. These leopards haven’t changed their spots, but they are clever enough to paint them over.

  • nutella59

    These are the USUAL ultra-leftist, ultra-liberal Jews, who have not moved ideologically since the 1950’s, and have not understood yet that the main enemy of the Jews are on the LEFT of the political spectrum, in any variation of the Socialist (red or black) ideology, including the papal branch…

  • Alan Scopp

    You should also know that Mr.Kurz has made a clear statement in their new program to not agree for Turkey to join the EU. They also recognize Israel as a Jewish state. This has been said before by previous Austrian chancellors, but never before written in an official document. They also support a 2state solution, but only when taking Israels special security concerns into account. I would suggest that we wait and see if their actions match with their words. Alan Scopp in Vienna, Austria