Student “nations” Project is Not Antisemitic Austrian Ex-premier Monsignore Seipel Pleads at Special

The policy of the Austrian Government embodied in the Student Rights Bill dividing up the students at the Universities into student “nations” will not place Jewish students in an invidious position, because the nationality principle adopted as the basis of the bill is not synonimous with racial antisemitism, Monsignore Seipel, the leader of the Christian Socialist Party and a former Prime Minister, claimed in making a defence of the Government bill at a specially convoked gathering of important men in Austrian public life, as well as all the foreign ambassadors in Vienna, with the exception of the United States ambassador.

It is understood that the meeting was specially arranged with a view to calming foreign public opinion, in view of the infavourable reports concerning the Student Rights Bill made to their respective Governments by the ambassadors, in view of its possible discrimination against their subjects by instituting different categories among the students on the basis of their nationality.

Nation and State are identical only in the Western countries, Monsignore Seipel urged, but in Eastern Europe and in the East, nation includes also national minorities, who are protected in the Minorities Treaties of the Heague of Nations, and it is the will of God that the minorities should continue to exist and develop.

The Catholic Church has no intention of denationalising Jewish converts, Monsignore Seipel went on, dealing as a high Prelate of the Church, with the objection that has been raised against the bill on the ground that under its provisions Jews who have left the Jewish Community and become members of the Church would be treated as still being Jews, which would be contrary to the teachings of the universal Church.

At the same time, he proceeded, the Jewish nation is identical with the Jewish religion, and therefore there will be no injustice done if baptised Jews or assimilationist Jews join the mixed student “nation”, in the same way as Dante belonged to the Apothecaries’ Guild in order to obtain his political rights, because there was no Poets’ Guild that he could join.

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