One third of Austrians think that Jews are trying to exploit the Holocaust and 47% think Jews have too much power, according to the parliament’s third antisemitism report, issued on Tuesday. According to the report, antisemitism is particularly strong among Turkish and Arabic speakers in Austria.
Austrian National Council President Wolfgang Sobotka, 67, presented the report to the parliament. It was compiled by the Institute for Empirical Social Research, which collected data on antisemitic attitudes in the country from 2,000 respondents.
The survey found that more than a third of Austrians think that Jews are “trying to take advantage of being victims during the Nazi era... and at least a quarter of those under the age of 25 believe that as well. Among Turkish and Arabic speakers, more than half agreed with the statement “completely” or “quite likely.”
More than a third of Austrians also take the view that Jews dominate the international business world, Sobotka pointed out. “It’s not a phenomenon of the political fringe groups, it comes from the middle of society,” he declared. “On the extreme sides, [antisemitism] becomes visible. On the right, we’ve seen extreme groups for years and decades. We haven’t paid attention to the left-wing extremism for a long time and now we see it very clearly as anti-Israelism and anti-Zionism.”
Sobotka said that a third form of antisemitism stems from “those people who came to us for reasons of migration, because they come from countries where antisemitism or anti-Jewish attitudes are part of a kind of raison d’etat.”
"It's not a phenomenon of the political fringe groups, it comes from the middle of society."Austria's National Council President Wolfgang Sobotka
A year ago, Sobokta told The Jerusalem Post that Austria needed to emulate how Germany has learned from the Holocaust and how it combats antisemitism. “We have a lot to learn from the Germans when it comes to owning our history and taking action,” he said. Sobotka is a member of the Austrian People’s Party. Before his political career, he was a teacher and musical conductor.
Austrian Jewish leader is not surprised
Oskar Deutsch, the president of the Austrian Jewish community, said “the results are startling, but not surprising. The study at hand is an important element in making antisemitism visible.” Deutsch added that “the fact that a third of Austrians think that Jews are trying to take advantage of the Nazi era amounts to mockery. Above all, it shows that better education is required–education about the Shoah and education about Judaism itself.”
He added that “threats do not emerge from right-wing extremists and Islamists exclusively. Antisemitism exists in mainstream society as well, as the data clearly show... The greater susceptibility to hatred of Jews among Turkish and Arabic-speaking Austrians makes it clear once again that neither politics nor civil society may turn a blind eye to this phenomenon.”