Austrian Chancellor Kurz says will fight anti-Semitism after Israel voices concern

Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz said on Wednesday his new coalition would focus on fighting anti-Semitism, after Israel made it clear it would not work directly with any ministers from the far-right party now back in government.


Kurz, a 31-year-old conservative, was sworn in with the rest of his government on Monday after reaching a coalition deal that handed control of much of Austria's security apparatus to the anti-Islam Freedom Party (FPO). The FPO came third in October's parliamentary election with 26 percent of the vote.


Israel reacted to the inauguration by saying it would do business only with the "operational echelons" of government departments headed by an FPO minister. The FPO now controls the foreign, interior and defence ministries, though Foreign Minister Karin Kneissl is not officially a member of the party.


"Anti-Semitism has no place in Austria or Europe. We will fight all forms of anti-Semitism with full determination, both those that still exist and those that have been newly imported," said in a speech outlining the government's goals to parliament. "That will be one of our government's significant tasks."


The FPO, which was founded by former Nazis in the 1950s, says it has left its anti-Semitic past behind it, though it has still had to expel members each year for anti-Semitic or neo-Nazi comments.


It now openly courts Jewish voters, with limited success. Its leader, Heinz-Christian Strache, has also visited the Yad Vashem Holocaust memorial in Jerusalem.



פרסום ראשון: 12.20.17, 20:48