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Judentum und Israel
haGalil onLine -

Gericht zu Nazivergleich:
Haider wird nicht verunglimpft

Von Karl Pfeifer, Wien
Erschienen in Searchlight Juni 2001

Jörg Haider, the right-wing extremist former leader of the Freedom Party (FPÖ), has lost his claim for damages against the distinguished political scientist, Anton Pelinka. An appeal court in Vienna overturned a verdict of a lower court last May that Professor Pelinka libelled Haider on a programme broadcast by the Italian TV station RAI.

In the broadcast, in May 1999, Prof. Pelinka, who teaches at Innsbruck University, said: "Haider has always made remarks in his career that are to be seen as an attempt to apologise for National Socialism. He once called the concentration camps 'punishment camps'. All in all, Haider is responsible for making certain National Socialist positions more acceptable." Haider, the governor of Carinthia, sued Prof. Pelinka for libel, engaged Dieter Böhmdorfer, now Justice Minister in the coalition government, to act for him and won 3,000 pounds in damages.

Austrian and foreign academics defended Professor Pelinka's position. In a report on Austria by the European Union published last September, the EU's so-called "three wise men" warned that the case against Pelinka was part of an FPÖ strategy to prevent criticism by taking legal action and that it could lead to restrictions on criticism of the government.

Pelink reacted to the appeal court decision, which cannot be challenged, by declaring: "Haider is now seen by the courts as an apologist for National Socialism" adding that the outcome was "a good sign of the state of basic rights and a good decision for Austrian democracy".

Haider, already reeling from  a severe electoral defeat in Vienna, called the appeal court verdict part of the "professional suffering" he has to endure as a politician, declaring: Since my capacity to suffer is unlimited and has grown with the years. I will cope with it". Haider also lost a second case against Pelinka last October over remarks made on CNN.

Meanwhile, the FPÖ in Upper Austria has found a new way of inciting hatred of Jews, Muslims and foreigners. At the end of March, the party started a campaign to collect signatures in favour of banning ritual slaughter in Austria. According to teh petition, ritual slaughter "is a cruel way of slaughtering still practised by some religions."

Haider's sister, Ursula Haubner, a regional councillor responsible for consumer interest in Upper Austria, claimed "religious practices are being used as the grounds for this particularly cruel method of slaughter", even though Jewish and Islamic religious law strictly forbids cruelty to animals.

To promote its policy, the FPÖ in Upper Austria has installed a discussion forum on the internet which has attracted a host of explicit antisemitic declarations such as that by "Hagen von Tronje", which advises Haider's token Jew, Peter Sichrovsky, to "tell his Jews to go and eat their kosher food in occupied Palestine". Bernhard Lindorfer, another contributer to the "discussion", writes that "bestial" ritual slaughter "has nothing to do with beliefs" and says he "would drown the swines in human form who practise it in the blood of the tormented animals".

Such messages posted on the discussion forum graphically illustrate the vile racist and antisemitic character of Haider's core support.

International Searlight, London
Against fascism and racism
June 2001

haGalil onLine 07-06-2001



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