"Nip it in the bud"

Anti-Semitism also concerns domestic politics

14.05.2024 15:48

Federal Chancellor Karl Nehammer (ÖVP) invited religious representatives to a round table on Tuesday to discuss current issues. The effects of the Middle East conflict and the increasing number of anti-Semitic attacks were also discussed. Federal President Alexander Van der Bellen also commented on this on Tuesday - but called for a certain degree of differentiation ...

With regard to the Middle East conflict, the Federal President explained that not every criticism of the Israeli government could be identified as anti-Semitism. "I think the Israeli government makes it too easy for itself in some cases," said the Head of State on Ö1's "Mittagsjournal" program. At the same time, he warned of burgeoning anti-Semitism in Europe. In Austria, efforts are being made to "nip this in the bud".

"It is a serious problem"
"It really is a serious problem," said Van der Bellen on the anti-Semitic protests across Europe, some of which have been registered worldwide since the terrorist massacre by the radical Islamic Hamas on October 7 and Israel's military response to it.

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In Israel, it is all too easy to identify any criticism of the Israeli government's measures with anti-Semitism. In my opinion, the Israeli government is making things too easy for itself.


Bundespräsident Alexander Van der Bellen

At the same time, criticism of the Israeli government cannot generally be equated with anti-Semitism, he said, drawing a comparison with Austria: "Anyone, any woman can criticize certain measures of the Austrian government, so no one would question Austria's right to exist as such. That's why you're not considered anti-Austrian just because you criticize certain government measures."

"Anti-Semitism on the rise in many countries"
It is also true, however, "that anti-Semitism, which I condemn to the ground, is on the rise in many countries, for reasons I don't understand. Why is this small group being singled out and stylized as a symbol of evil is unbelievable."

In Austria, great efforts are being made to "nip anti-Semitism in the bud". "We have every reason to do so", as Germany and Austria played a key role in the Shoah. It is important to nip any hatred of Jews and anti-Semitism in the bud. "I think we are relatively successful with this in Austria."

Round table with the Federal Chancellor
Federal Chancellor Karl Nehammer hosted a round table on precisely this topic in the Chancellery. All participants agreed that the churches and religious communities in Austria will continue to work for peaceful and safe religious coexistence, the Chancellery announced.

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Religion must not be misused by extremist ideologies.

(Bild: APA/Helmut Fohringer)

Bundeskanzler Karl Nehammer (ÖVP)

The tenor of the meeting was that all believers, especially Jews in Austria, must be able to practice their faith without fear, celebrate masses and events together and wear religious symbols in public. "We must do everything we can together to prevent extremism and terror. Religion must not be misused by extremist ideologies - we stand firmly against this," the Chancellor was quoted as saying in a press release.

In addition to Nehammer and Culture Minister Susanne Raab (ÖVP), the Roman Catholic Archbishop Franz Lackner, the Evangelical Lutheran Bishop Michael Chalupka, the Christian Orthodox Metropolitan Arsenios Kardamakis, President Ümit Vural of the Islamic Religious Community and the President of the Jewish Community of Vienna, Oskar Deutsch, took part in the meeting. Another key topic was the intensification of interfaith cooperation.

This article has been automatically translated,
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