Meeting of H.C. Strache of the FPÖ (Austrian Freedom Party) with the Israeli delegation, symposium on anti-Semitism in Europe
For the last few weeks all eyes have been on the USA and the presidential election, as Donald Trump pulled off a remarkable upset against the entrenched political establishment of both parties. But change is on the way in other places, and one of them is Austria.
Heinz-Christian Strache is the leader of the FPÖ (Freiheitliche Partei Österreichs, Austrian Freedom Party), and Norbert Hofer is the party’s presidential candidate. Due to “irregularities” in the vote, last spring’s runoff election had to be redone, and Mr. Hofer is running again in the new election on December 4. Most polls say the race is too close to call, but Mr. Hofer seems to have a slight lead.
Below is a brief report by our Austrian correspondent AMT on these momentous events:
Reclaiming Austria: Change Comes to Central Europe
The American people have spoken. Now it is the Austrian people’s turn.
Are we in for a surprise? Are we in for change? Are we ready for a president who will speak for Austria?
Or will the Austrians choose a president who will pander to the multicultural world elite?
Despite the fact that the Austrian president’s power cannot be compared to that of his US counterpart, as it is largely ceremonial, the starting point of the election certainly equals that of Donald Trump. Granted, Norbert Hofer is no billionaire. He is not married to a former supermodel. He resides in a quaint house in a rural area to the south of the capital city. He is a politician with commensurate experience. He has the unwavering support of his party.
However, like Donald Trump, he has been defying the relentless onslaught of the Left. Whether it is the political know-it-alls, the Hollywoods (those Austrian actors, producers and directors who emigrated from Austria and now feel compelled to secrete their disdain for anything other than socialist positions), the socialites, the countless representatives of the former conservatives, the financial aristocracy; in short, nearly the entire country has set itself against Norbert Hofer.
Why is it, then, that he won the first run of the presidential election last April? Why did he narrowly lose the (now canceled) run-off election, separated from his opponent by only 30,000 votes? Why is the race currently too close to call? Could it be that the reasons are eerily similar to the reasons the American people decided it’s time for a change?
Norbert Hofer is authentic. He is an incredibly hard-working and honest man. He tells it like it is. No surprises. He shows no disdain for the outcome of an election like his opponent does. He is no darling of the elites.
Will Norbert Hofer follow in Donald Trump’s footsteps? Given the current momentum following Brexit and Donald Trump’s (un)surprising election, there are grounds for optimism.
We will find out on December 4.
As an example of the change currently underway in Austria, the leaders of the FPÖ recently met with a delegation from Israel for a symposium on anti-Semitism in Europe. One of the members of the Israeli delegation was Rafael Eitan, who was on the team that captured Adolf Eichmann and brought him back to Israel for trial.
JLH, who translated this article from Die Presse, includes this note:
This is a short piece on Austrian conservatives and a connection to Israel. Reminiscent of the immediate decision of our new president to contact Benjamin Netanyahu. In some ways, it takes courage for gentiles to espouse the cause of Israel — even in the eyes of Jews.
The translated article:
Eichmann Hunter Visits Strache
by Oliver Pink
November 7, 2016
Rafael Eitan was the chief coordinator of the Israeli secret services Mossad and Shin Bet. He participated as a handler in the capture of Adolf Eichmann. Later he was a representative in the Knesset, and for a while even a minister. Michael Kleiner was also a member of the Knesset and today is chief of Likud’s party court. On Monday evening, the two of them were sitting in the Grand Hotel on Vienna’s Kärntner Ring — on a podium with the FPÖ.
Outside, Jewish activists were protesting. “FPÖ is learning history — hopefully their own” said one placard. On another, “In Yad Vashem mit Burschideckerl / Kosher wie ein Schinkenfleckerl.” One called the FPÖ event “Hypocritical.” And writer, Doron Rabinovici said — facing a camera — that he could recognize no “honorable effort.” Now as before, he said, it has a close connection to the right extremists. “We will not be alibi-Jews.”
Inside, the hall was filled almost to the last seat — primarily with an FPÖ audience, but also some diplomats, especially from eastern European countries. The topic of the symposium was: “New Anti-Semitism in Europe.”
Ursula Stenzel, the moderator, asked the FPÖ leader Heinz Christian Strache why the FPÖ was making such an effort to be seen as a credible friend of Israel. Strache went a bit further in his answer: The November Pogroms (Kristallnacht), the official occasion for this event (the unofficial reason was the upcoming presidential election), had been the starting point for the horrifying crimes of the Holocaust. Antisemitism was still, today, “a crime against humanity.” But it is often denied or made little of. In particular leftist parties are often entries for it, especially under the cover of anti-Zionism. And there is a structural hatred for Jews and Israel being brought along by Muslim immigrants. But Strache did not intend to ignore rightist antisemitism, either.
“That speech should be published in Israel and the USA,” said Rafael Eitan. He hoped that Norbert Hofer would be the next Austrian president. And Strache the next chancellor, Michael Kleiner added later.
The two of them had come to Vienna on their own initiative — with the intermediation of FPÖ politician David Lasar. They had not been authorized by the Israeli government or Likud.
Antisemitism of Islamic provenance was their main theme. First, Eitan told about the capture of Eichmann, and then ruminated on terrorism. He believed that a police force should be created that is present in all areas from which terrorism originates. “But that is probably impossible.” Islam, he said, has dragged the Middle Ages into the present.
Norbert Hofer, too, made use of the podium. It is necessary, he said, to adopt a stance. Against too much Muslim immigration. But also against resolutions like the one from UNESCO — hashtag East Jerusalem. But we must not make the mistake of now directing the hate that was previously aimed at Jews against individual Muslims. Islam is “not a part of Austria.” But that did not mean that Muslims had no place here.* * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
Photo caption: The FPÖ was commemorating the November Pogroms (Kristallnacht). With two Israeli politicians. United by the common opponent: Islamic anti-Semitism.
Photo: Stanislav Jenis
|1.||Yad Vashem = World Holocaust Memorial Center in Israel
Two-line doggerel, more or less:
“With a fraternity cap in Yad Vashem,
A reference to Strache’s 2010 visit to Israel and a none-too-subtle play on his past connection to a “rightist” fraternity.
Below is the press release about the event from the FPÖ website, also translated by JLH:
H. C. Strache: “Antisemitism Represents a Crime Against Humanity”
November 8, 2016
The Symposium, “Have we learned from history? New antisemitism in Europe” is intended to highlight the importance of determined opposition to antisemitism in Europe.
71 years after the liberation of the National Socialist death camps, antisemitism in Europe is on the rise. Therefore, political parties as well as civil society must show determined opposition to these extremely dangerous developments. This is the reason for yesterday’s symposium under the aegis of the FPÖ Educational Institute — “Have we learned from history? New antisemitism in Europe.” The FPÖ head H. C. Strache and the FPÖ presidential candidate Norbert Hofer were guests, and confirmed in their remarks the importance of working against antisemitism.
H. C. Strache: “Antisemitism Represents a Crime Against Humanity”
Strache noted that there is clearly general recognition of the problem of the revival of antisemitism in the world, and especially in Europe. “Antisemitism, whatever form it may take, is a crime against humanity and against humaneness,” the FPÖ leader declared. The many Jewish fellow citizens murdered or driven out were a constant admonition, and remembering them is a pledge never to allow such a crime again. In this regard, there must be no ignoring Islam, whose consequences were demonstrated in the attacks in France alone, which began in January 2015 and recurred at irregular intervals.
Developments in Turkey, too, could prompt some concern about the increase of antisemitism. But the great entryway to antisemitism in Europe is the leftist parties. “Leftist parties are facilitating limitless immigration and the importation of Islamist antisemitism, aided by an allegedly Christian German chancellor who has moved incalculably far from the values of Konrad Adenauer and Helmut Kohl,” said Strache, And that, according to Strache, is why we must oppose so much leftist dream-fulfillment. “We must not allow such ideas to gain a foothold in Europe, and that is why we must put a halt to the financing of mosques from outside the country. We must also eliminate all possible circumventions. Otherwise, it will only be a matter of time before — directed from Turkey or Qatar — anti-Jewish mutterings will be the rule instead of the exception in the mosques here.”
Hofer: “Radical Tendencies Have No Place Here”
The FPÖ presidential candidate Norbert Hofer believes there are two lessons to learn from the past. First, such hatred must no longer be allowed and, second, the hatred that was directed at the Jews must not be directed at individual Muslims. According to Hofer, Europe’s silence about this is a big mistake. “Europe has become dispirited. It is in no position to take a stance and take responsibility, even if the mainstream is speaking another language.” The problem, he says, is that the face of Europe will fundamentally change, if a course is not taken against the political developments.
As an example, Hofer mentions benefits for persons who come to Austria and can, from day one, receive transfer benefits. Austria must be able to counteract the guilt we still consciously take upon ourselves. “We can be the strong voice of Europe and take the helm. We have a responsibility to our younger generation and to the future of our land. There is no room for radical tendencies.” As elected president. he would raise his voice and fight for a free Austria as “a strong advocate against hatred and for morale.”
1. Freiheitliche Partei Österreichs — Freedom Party of Austria