OU Appalled at Inclusion of Haider party in Austrian Government

Posted on February 4, 2000 In Press Releases

The Union of Orthodox Jewish Congregations of America, the largest mainstream Orthodox Jewish organization comprised of nearly 1,000 synagogues nationwide, expressed its deep dismay at the inclusion of the Freedom Party under the leadership of Jorg Haider in the new government formed by President Thomas Klestil of Austria. “The fact that an ultranationalist party garnered such a large percentage of the Austrian vote, reflecting the rise of extremist right wing parties in Europe, is cause for great alarm,” said OU president Mandell I. Ganchrow, M.D. “We are deeply dismayed that the Austrian people would identify with racist and xenophobic ideologies in an age of modernity and inclusivity.”

Betty Ehrenberg, Director of International and Communal Affairs added, “We are gratified by the swift reaction and decision of the members of the European Union to downgrade diplomatic relations and contacts with Austria. This conveys the important message to the Austrian people that no nation can countenance intolerance and racist attitudes without impunity. We wholeheartedly support the Administration’s decision to scale back relations with Austria and the Congressional consideration of other appropriate measures in defense of our democratic values and principles of tolerance which cannot be taken for granted by enlightened peoples.”