Austria: ‘Anti-Semitic’ cartoon prompts inquiry

Politician’s posting of cartoon outrages Vienna’s Jewish community; ADL slams extremist politician.

By JERUSALEM POST CORRESPONDENT
August 22, 2012 05:10
1 minute read.
Austrian Parliament

Austrian Parliament 370. (photo credit: REUTERS)

 
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BERLIN – The Vienna prosecutor’s office launched an inquiry into far-right politician Heinz-Christian Strache on Tuesday for posting an allegedly anti- Semitic cartoon on his Facebook site.

The Austrian daily Der Standard reported prosecutors are investigating whether the cartoon meets the standard of inciting hatred against Jews, which would be a violation of the country’s anti-hate laws.

The cartoon depicts an obese man with a crooked nose, wearing a star of David on his cufflink – as the embodiment of the banking system. Seated across from the overweight man at a dinner table is an emaciated man with a bone on his plate while the heavyset man devours a full course meal.

The cartoon from Strache's Facebook page

The emaciated man represents the people. The dinner is being served by a waiter labeled the government.

Strache flatly denied the cartoon is anti-Semitic. He is the head of of the Austrian Freedom Party (FPÖ), which the small Jewish community in Vienna considers to be plagued by xenophobia and anti-Semitism.


The head of Vienna’s 7,500- member Jewish community, Oskar Deutsch, told the AFP wire news service on Monday that “it’s not a coincidence that a caricature of Jews, like the ones in [Nazi newspaper] Stuermer in the 1930s and 1940s appeared on the Facebook page of FPÖ leader Heinz-Christian Strache.”

Thomas Vecsey, a spokesman for the Vienna prosecutor’s office, told APA that a decision is expected the end of this week or next week on whether the cartoon violates Austrian law.

The Anti-Defamation League blasted Strache in a statement “for posting an anti-Semitic caricature on his Facebook page.”

“Strache [himself] is all the proof anyone needs to see that he has not given up his anti- Semitic beliefs,” said Abraham H. Foxman, ADL National Director. Foxman added that “now, he’s promoting the anti- Semitic canard that Jews control international finance and manipulate governments to enrich themselves at the expense of non-Jews. Strache brings shame to Austrian politics and should be repudiated for his anti-Jewish bigotry.”

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