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November 30, 2022 4:20 pm

Former Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz at J100 Gala: ‘As Supportive as Possible to the State of Israel’

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Austria’s former Chancellor Sebastian Kurz speaking at The Algemeiner’s J100 Gala in midtown Manhattan. Nov 29, 2022.

Austria’s former Chancellor Sebastian Kurz was honored on Tuesday evening with The Algemeiner’s Warrior for Truth award in recognition of his support for the state of Israel and efforts to combat antisemitism during his tenure in office.

“As you can imagine, as an Austrian with no Jewish background, I have never expected to get an award like this,” Kurz said. Kurz cited his experience as a teenager of meeting a Holocaust survivor as a turning point in his understanding of Jewish issues and his country’s history. “A few years later when I started to get politically involved in the youth organization of my party, I realized that my generation is probably one of the last generations that has the opportunity to meet directly and have these conversations with Holocause survivors,” he said. “And because of this, I think I decided that we should have not only the responsibility to listen to Holocaust survivors but also to take these lessons to our hearts.”

Kurz, elected at age 31 as the youngest chancellor in Austria’s history in 2017, oversaw the reversal of Austrian foreign policy from one that was critical of Israel, to one that was among the most supportive in Europe, including the passage in 2021 of a resolution in the Austrian parliament that described the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) movement as a form of antisemitism.

“When I joined the Austrian government, of course I saw it as my duty to have an understanding for the historic responsibility that Austria and we as Austrians have, and because of that fact I tried…to be as supportive as possible to the state of Israel,” Kurz told attendees at Tuesday’s Gala.

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Watch Kurz’s full acceptance speech below:

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