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New York, N.Y., March 12, 2001 - The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) today said Austrian right-wing extremist Joerg Haider is "continuing his flirtation with anti-Semitism and has crossed the line into anti-Semitic stereotyping" with his latest diatribes about Jews.

Haider, governor of the Austrian province of Carinthia, is a member and former leader of the Freedom Party, a right-wing party with nativist and xenophobic policies.  The inclusion of the Freedom Party in Austria's governing coalition led to outrage in the international community and within much of Austrian society. 

Abraham H. Foxman, ADL National Director, issued the following statement: More than a year after the Freedom Party entered Austria's governing coalition, Joerg Haider continues his provocative flirtation with anti-Semitism and has crossed the line into anti-Semitic stereotyping.  In criticizing an Austrian agreement on restitution for Holocaust-era property, Haider repeatedly invoked the image of the alleged powerful Jewish lobby by accusing the Austrian Chancellor of seeking approval from "the East Coast," an allusion to Jews living in the East Coast of the United States. 

He also mentioned "Greenberg," a reference to Stanley Greenberg, a prominent American political strategist who is advising Vienna's mayor in his current campaign, thus implying that the mayor is under Jewish control. Haider's provocative statements about Ariel Muzicant, the head of the Austrian Jewish community, go beyond any conception of civilized political discourse. It is important that Haider's outrageous remarks are met with an avalanche of public condemnation by all Austrians.

In addition to Haider's ongoing outrages, the Freedom Party continues in its path of xenophobia, nativism and intolerance.  In the current municipal election campaign in Vienna, the Freedom Party's slogan, "Foreigners: I understand the concerns of the Viennese People," breeds an environment of divisiveness and hatred.

The Anti-Defamation League, founded in 1913, is the world's leading organization fighting anti-Semitism through programs and services that counteract hatred, prejudice and bigotry.

Contact:  Myrna Shinbaum (212) 885-7747
Sara Ladenheim (212) 885-7715

haGalil onLine 14-03-2001


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