Austrian Lawmaker Walks Back Anti-Semitic Facebook Comments

An Austrian lawmaker who agreed with an anti-Semitic post put on her page has walked back her comments.

Susanne Winter, a member of the Austrian Parliament from the far-right Freedom Party, on Friday responded to an anti-Semitic post by a citizen named Oehlmann Hans-Jörg in which he said that “Zionist money Jews are the global problem. Europe, and in particular Germany, are now getting what they deserve from Zionist Jews, particularly rich Zionist Jews in the USA, for the century-long persecution of Jews in Europe. According to the Zionists, Europe, particularly Germany, should be cut off as economic competitors to the U.S.”

Winter responded: “It is great. You are taking the words right out of my mouth. There are a lot of things I am not allowed to write. Therefore I’m even more pleased about courageous, independent people.”

The post appears to have been deleted from her Facebook page, according to the Anti-Defamation League, which on Sunday condemned the statements.

Winter told the Austrian edition of the Der Standard newspaper on Sunday that she was sorry for the post, which she called “foolish.”

“I am not anti-Semitic, I have Jewish friends,” she told the newspaper.

Freedom Party General Secretary Herbert Kickl in a statement called Winter’s post “absolutely unacceptable.”

“The Freedom Party is no place for anti-Semitism,” he said, adding that Winter could be suspended from the party.

Winter is “a disgrace to the Austrian Parliament,” Oskar German, president of the Austrian Jewish Community, told der Standard.

ADL National Director Jonathan Greenblatt, who is meeting with European officials and the continent’s Jewish community leaders, said in a statement: “Once again, a member of Austria’s Freedom Party has been caught promoting offensive anti-Semitic stereotypes. Susanne Winter’s response to the outrageous comments about Jews and money on her Facebook page shows that, when prompted, she would willingly endorse the worst kind of anti-Semitic stereotypes. These are the same grotesque notions that have bedeviled European Jews for hundreds of years.

“Anti-Semitic stereotypes simply have no place in Austrian society. It is bad enough when they are whispered privately, but far worse when such hateful views emanate directly from a member of parliament who has a bully pulpit to express her ideas.”

Author

Your Comments

The Forward welcomes reader comments in order to promote thoughtful discussion on issues of importance to the Jewish community. All readers can browse the comments, and all Forward subscribers can add to the conversation. In the interest of maintaining a civil forum, The Forward requires that all commenters be appropriately respectful toward our writers, other commenters and the subjects of the articles. Vigorous debate and reasoned critique are welcome; name-calling and personal invective are not and will be deleted. Egregious commenters or repeat offenders will be banned from commenting. While we generally do not seek to edit or actively moderate comments, our spam filter prevents most links and certain key words from being posted and the Forward reserves the right to remove comments for any reason.

Recommend this article

Austrian Lawmaker Walks Back Anti-Semitic Facebook Comments

Thank you!

This article has been sent!

Close