Monday, October 16, 2017 - 3:45pm
In response to the Austria Election, the American Jewish Congress issued the following statement:
“The American Jewish Congress expresses its profound concern that at yesterday’s Austrian parliamentary elections the far-right Freedom Party, led by Heinz-Christian Strache, gained more than 25 percent of the vote. This is the strongest showing in Europe for a party of the far-right since World War II and makes a party with worrying history of anti-Semitism the second largest political bloc in Austria. We congratulate Sebastian Kurz, head of the centre-right Austrian People’s party, who will now become Chancellor, and strongly urge him to form a coalition of centrist parties and not be beholden to a party of the far-right in his new coalition government. A party with such xenophobic and intolerant views should not be allowed to enter the mainstream of European politics. The trends in Europe should trouble Jewish groups around the world, including the United States. The rapid re-emergence of the far-right in Europe, which this week’s election in Austria is just the latest example, may have more to do with European immigration and Islamism than a wider intolerance towards Jews and other faiths. However, we know only too well from our tragic history where hatred and intolerance of any kind leads. It is also the case that alt-right groups in the US are emboldened by the success of the European far-right and this poses a serious and immediate threat to the Jewish community, as well as any citizen of the US committed to freedom, democracy and justice.”