Sebastian Kurz

Austrian Leader, Allied With Far-Right Party, Vows To Fight Anti-Semitism

(JTA) — Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz vowed to prioritze “combating anti-Semitism in all its forms” in his first speech since taking office.

Kurz, 31, spoke Wednesday amid warnings by several Jewish groups that the rise of Kurz’s coalition partners — the far-right, anti-immigrant Freedom Party — could foster a rise in anti-Semitism.

“We will determinedly combat anti-Semitism in all its forms — those already existent but also imported into our country as an essential duty of our government,” AFP quoted Kurz as saying in Vienna in a reiteration of earlier statements.

The baby-faced Kurz has been ridiculed as “Baby Hitler” for his coalition partnership with the Freedom Party.

Freedom Party leader Heinz-Christian Strache, the new vice-chancellor, has also repeatedly said his party does not and will not countenance anti-Semitic rhetoric and will expel any member caught engaging in it.

The Jewish Community in Vienna has called on Kurz to resist a coalition with the Freedom Party, calling Strache’s pledges a “façade.” The Freedom Party came in second to Kurz’s centrist OVP party in the general election in October.

In November, Freedom Party lawmakers in parliament were the only ones who declined to rise in commemoration of the Kristallnacht pogroms in 1938, in which Jewish-owned shops and homes were destroyed in a coordinated campaign of persecution in Germany and Austria.

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 Leader, Allied With Far-Right Party, Vows To Fight Anti-Semitism

Thank you!

This article has been sent!

Close