ADL Urges Austrian Leaders: Keep Freedom Party Out of Coalition Government

New York, NY, October 23, 2017 … The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) today called on Sebastian Kurz, leader of Austria’s conservative People’s Party, to avoid forming a coalition government with the far-right Freedom Party, whose leaders have continued to engage in anti-Semitism and Holocaust trivialization in recent years.

“We are not convinced the Freedom Party has fully outgrown its Nazi roots. We join the Austrian Jewish community in asking Sebastian Kurz to keep the Freedom Party out of government,” said Jonathan A. Greenblatt, ADL CEO. “Actions and comments by the Freedom Party’s leadership in unguarded moments belie the party’s supposed moderation in their formal statements. Mr. Kurz has made a commitment of zero tolerance for anti-Semitism, which should preclude a coalition with the Freedom Party.”

ADL stands in solidarity with the Austrian Jewish community and fully supports the position taken by the community on this issue.

In 2012, ADL condemned Freedom Party leader Heinz-Christian Strache for posting a caricature on Facebook with a corpulent figure labeled “Bankers” with Stars of David on his cufflinks, dollar signs on his tie and a hooked nose. He also trivialized the Holocaust by saying members of the Freedom Party were ‘the new Jews,’ when anti-fascist protesters demonstrated outside a far-right event.

In its 2014 survey of anti-Semitic attitudes in Austria, ADL’s Global 100 Survey, a worldwide poll of attitudes toward Jews in more than 100 countries, found that 28 percent of the adult Austrian population holds deeply ingrained anti-Jewish attitudes. Asked whether “Jews still talk too much about what happened to them in the Holocaust,” 52 percent of those surveyed agreed.

Anti-Defamation League was founded in 1913 to stop the defamation of the Jewish people and to secure justice and fair treatment to all. Today it is the world’s leading organization combating anti-Semitism, exposing hate groups, training law enforcement on hate crimes, developing anti-bias curricula for students, countering cyber-hate and relentlessly pursuing equal rights for all. Follow us on Twitter: @ADL_National

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