NEW YORK (Oct. 21)
A flat repudiation of anti-Semitism by Austria’s conservative People’s Party was hailed by a Jewish leader here as “a significant and constructive step forward” in the aftermath of the anti-Semitism generated in Austria during last summer’s Presidential election campaign.
Theodore Ellenoff, president of the American Jewish Committee, said that the People’s Party’s statement, communicated to the AJC, was also a “vitally important” assurance to Austria’s small Jewish community. The community had been seriously offended by the anti-Semitic backlash to the exposure of People’s Party candidate Kurt Waldheim’s wartime Nazi past during the campaign. Waldheim was elected President of Austria by a landslide vote last June 8.
In its statement, the People’s Party said: “In light of the controversies created during the last Presidential elections, the Austrian People’s Party wishes to underscore especially its unambiguous rejection of anti-Semitism against our fellow Jewish citizens by anyone, in any form and under any circumstances … We wish to assure our nation, and particularly our respected Jewish citizens, that the People’s Party is absolutely determined not to tolerate any kind of anti-Semitism and to fight against any remnants of this vile prejudice which must become anathema to Austria and to the civilized world.”