VIENNA (Apr. 27)
A study group of scientists said today that some 15 percent of Austrians are anti-Semitic. The group which investigated the situation of minorities in Austria said the number of anti-Semites has been steadily declining in the last decades. “However, there still exists a hard-core of 15 percent of Austrians who are anti-Semitic.” The report said “anti-Semitism was the only prejudice in Austria with historical roots.”
Austrians who support the right-wing Freedom Party are the strongest opponents of Jews. The report said that among Freedom Party voters under 30, 23 to 28 percent are anti-Semitic and among those between 30 and 50, 37-58 percent. Some 78 percent of Freedom Party voters over 50 are anti-Semitic. Most of them are former members of the Nazi Party. Some 12-34 percent of conservative voters are anti-Semitic as are 7-20 percent of the Austrian socialist the report said.
CARDINAL DENOUNCES ANTI-SEMITISM
Meanwhile, the Vienna Roman Catholic Cardinal said today that anti-Semitism no longer has any basis in Catholic theology. In a lecture, Franz Cardinal Koenig said it was very sad and shameful that the church for long periods delivered pretexts for anti-Semitic ideologies. “But in reality, anti-Semitism has no basis in Catholic theology,” Koenig said. “The Second Vatican Council made that very clear and put a final stop to Christian anti-Semitism.”
Koenig, who is chairman of the Vatican Congregation for Relations with Non-Believers, said the Vienna Archdiocese removed all anti-Semitic allusions from religious and text books. “It is complete nonsense to accuse the Jews of the murder of God,” Koenig said. “The church is concerned to overcome the century old estrangement between Christians and Jews.”
The Cardinal explained that the Council documents did not mention the State of Israel “because they were religious not political manifestations.” He added that the Vatican avoided getting involved in disputes on the secular or religious status of Israel. The lecture was sponsored by the “Action Against Anti-Semitism in Austria” organization.