European Jewish Congress congratulates Sebastian Kurz on victory in Austria’s general election

(Brussels, Sunday, 15th October 2017) – The European Jewish Congress sends warmest congratulations to Sebastian Kurz, head of the centre-right Austrian People’s party (ÖVP) after the party’s victory on Sunday in the Austrian general election.

The EJC however, expresses its profound concern at the showing of the far-right Freedom Party which gained more than 26 percent of the vote according to exit polls.

We strongly urge Mr. Kurz to form a coalition of centrist parties and not be beholden to a party of the far-right in his new coalition government,” EJC President Dr. Moshe Kantor said. “A party which has run on a platform of xenophobic intolerance and the targeting of immigrants must not be granted a seat at the governing table.”

“Europe in general and Austria in particular should know all too well where acceptance of populist and pernicious ideologies leads. Austria’s central role in post-war European constriction founded on democracy and human rights must not be allowed to be sacrificed on the altar of political expediency and short-term populism which reminds us of far-darker times within living memory.”

Dr. Ariel Muzicant, EJC Vice President, added “The right and the far-Right have won the parliamentary elections in Austria because of the refugee crisis and the opposition to political Islam. For the Jewish community, it is also a major problem that the FPÖ will, with high probability, be in the next government.”

“Many politicians, including some from Israel, like to forget that the majority of FPÖ functionaries remain “kellernazis”, those who continue to attend their fraternities with their German national and antisemitic ideology.”