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Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Austria: Rightists counter Jewish critic

Head of Vienna's Jewish community accuses Freedom Party of harboring 'hidden Nazis'. Party spokesman: Such members exist only in his fantasy

The head of Vienna's Jewish community is accusing Austria's rightist party of harboring "hidden Nazis" but the party says he is imagining things.

Vienna Jewish leader Ariel Muzicant told the Austria Press Agency on Tuesday that Freedom Party leaders are "unable to break away from right-extremists... and hidden Nazis."

But Freedom Party spokesman Harald Vilimsky says such party members exist only in Muzicant's fantasy and says the Jewish leader cannot differentiate between extremism and Austrian patriotism.

The Freedom Party regularly uses slogans tinged with anti-Muslim sentiment in its campaigning. Some of its most extreme supporters sympathize with Nazi ideals.

Recent polls put it first or a close second in voter popularity.

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