The Cabinet expressed “contempt” yesterday for Chancellor Bruno Kreisky of Austria and stated that his personal attack on Premier Menachem Begin and Israel’s policies was not worthy of response. A Cabinet communique released after the weekly session said: “The words of hate uttered by Dr. Kreisky against the Jewish nation, the State of Israel, the government of Israel and the Israel Defense Forces are undeserving of response.”
Kreisky was quoted in the Dutch Protestant daily, Throuw, as having said, in the course of an interview published Saturday, that President Anwar Sadat of Egypt did not receive a generous response from Israel to his peace initiative last November.
According to the newspaper, the Austrian Chancellor said Sadat “found himself dealing with political grocers like Begin, a little Polish lawyer from Warsaw or whatever he was. They are so alienated, they think in such a warped way, these Eastern Jews, because they have never had political responsibilities.” The paper also attributed to Kreisky the remark that Israel was a kind of police state that practices a system of apartheid, like South Africa, against its Arab citizens.
Kreisky, who is vacationing in Mallorca, told the Austrian Radio that he had been misquoted in part and that some of his remarks were published out of context. But he repeated many of them to the radio correspondent.
UNITED IN ANGER
Kreisky’s reported statements aroused anger in Israel that transcended party lines and ideological differences. The Labor Party, a member of the Socialist International of which Kreisky is a leader, was reported to be planning a special meeting to discuss his alleged remarks. The official view is that Kreisky timed his derogation of Begin and Israel to coincide with the opening of the Camp David summit.
Official sources decried Kreisky’s pro-Arab bias and said his attitude ruled him out as a possible mediator in the Middle East dispute, even as a representative of the Socialist International. Questioned about Kreisky’s remarks as he was about to emplane for the U.S. at Ben Gurion Airport yesterday morning, Begin said the Austrian Chancellor was a man “who hates his father and mother,” meaning his Jewish origins.
Moshe Allon, Deputy Director General of the Foreign Ministry met with the Austrian Charge d’Affaires here yesterday to express the government’s shock over the timing and content of Kreisky’s statement. He said the Israeli government deeply protested the Chancellor’s opinions of the Israeli people, government and its representatives as well as Premier Menachem Begin who “was elected democratically by a democratic government.”
The Archive of the Jewish Telegraphic Agency includes articles published from 1923 to 2008. Archive stories reflect the journalistic standards and practices of the time they were published.