Photo Credit: Dragan Tatic / Bundesministerium für Europa, Integration und Äusseres / Wikimedia
Austria's Sebastian Kurz, May 2014

On Sunday night, European Jews congratulated Sebastian Kurz after his center-right Austrian People’s Party (ÖVP) was victorious in the just-completed Austrian general election.

However, the European Jewish Congress (EJC) expressed its “profound concern” over the significant showing of the Freedom Party, which according to the exit polls gained 29 percent of the vote. The far-right party appeared to take second place ahead of the center-left Social Democrats of outgoing chancellor Christian Kern.

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“We strongly urge Mr. Kurz to form a coalition of centrist parties and not be beholden to a party of the far-right in his new coalition government,” EJC President Dr. Moshe Kantor said.

“A party which has run on a platform of xenophobic intolerance and the targeting of immigrants must not be granted a seat at the governing table. Europe in general and Austria in particular should know all too well where acceptance of populist and pernicious ideologies leads,” Kantor said.

“Austria’s central role in post-war European constriction founded on democracy and human rights must not be allowed to be sacrificed on the altar of political expediency and short-term populism which reminds us of far-darker times within living memory,” he urged.

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Hana Levi Julian is a Middle East news analyst with a degree in Mass Communication and Journalism from Southern Connecticut State University. A past columnist with The Jewish Press and senior editor at Arutz 7, Ms. Julian has written for Babble.com, Chabad.org and other media outlets, in addition to her years working in broadcast journalism.

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