Skip To Content
JEWISH. INDEPENDENT. NONPROFIT.
Breaking News

Israel’s Rivlin Blasts Officials for Meeting Far-Right European Leaders

(JTA) — President Reuven Rivlin of Israel said he will “never condone” Israeli representatives meeting with representatives of the European far right.

Rivlin sent a letter to the Vienna Jewish community in response to a message from its head, Oskar Deutsch, and World Jewish Congress Vice President Ariel Muzicant in which they criticized Israeli politicians willing to meet with members of the European far right. The letter by Deutsch and Muzicant named Austria’s Freedom Party, which was founded by a former Nazi SS officer.

In his response, dated Dec. 20, Rivlin said he is against Israeli officials meeting with “European parties of the far right that are tainted with a history of anti-Semitism, Holocaust denial … or the promotion of racial hatred or intolerance,” according to The Times of Israel.

The Freedom Party in a statement Wednesday said its leader, Heinz-Christian Strache, had met in an official capacity with Israeli government ministers and Knesset members representing Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s Likud party during past visits to the Jewish state, The Times of Israel reported. The letter also quoted a Jewish member who said the Freedom Party is “definitely not anti-Semitic.”

Last month, Israel’s Foreign Ministry barred a far-right Swedish lawmaker from a meeting with Israeli Deputy Foreign Minister Tzipi Hotovely at the Jerusalem Leaders Summit, a conference of conservative leaders.

“The Swedish representative is a member of a party with neo-Nazi tendencies and therefore the Foreign Ministry decided not to include her in the meeting with Hotovely,” said a ministry spokeswoman.

After Israel excluded Kristina Winberg of the Sweden Democrats from the meeting, a Trump transition team member and a group of conservative U.S. and European lawmakers that were participating in the summit boycotted the briefing.

I hope you appreciated this article. Before you go, I’d like to ask you to please support the Forward’s award-winning, nonprofit journalism during this critical time.

Now more than ever, American Jews need independent news they can trust, with reporting driven by truth, not ideology. We serve you, not any ideological agenda.

At a time when other newsrooms are closing or cutting back, the Forward has removed its paywall and invested additional resources to report on the ground from Israel and around the U.S. on the impact of the war, rising antisemitism and the protests on college campuses.

Readers like you make it all possible. Support our work by becoming a Forward Member and connect with our journalism and your community.

Make a gift of any size and become a Forward member today. You’ll support our mission to tell the American Jewish story fully and fairly. 

— Rachel Fishman Feddersen, Publisher and CEO

Join our mission to tell the Jewish story fully and fairly.

Republish This Story

Please read before republishing

We’re happy to make this story available to republish for free, unless it originated with JTA, Haaretz or another publication (as indicated on the article) and as long as you follow our guidelines. You must credit the Forward, retain our pixel and preserve our canonical link in Google search.  See our full guidelines for more information, and this guide for detail about canonical URLs.

To republish, copy the HTML by clicking on the yellow button to the right; it includes our tracking pixel, all paragraph styles and hyperlinks, the author byline and credit to the Forward. It does not include images; to avoid copyright violations, you must add them manually, following our guidelines. Please email us at [email protected], subject line “republish,” with any questions or to let us know what stories you’re picking up.

We don't support Internet Explorer

Please use Chrome, Safari, Firefox, or Edge to view this site.