Haider's party claims Jews assassinated himOn Sunday, I wrote that the outpouring of ordinary Austrians for the funeral of neo-Nazi Jorg Haider shows that the country is unrepentant regarding its Nazi past. It's actually worse than that. Monday's JPost reports on 'mainstream' Austrian politicians (not from the 'extreme right') praising Haider and that his party has accused the Mossad of assassinating the drunken anti-Semite.
"He was a remarkable person" and one should "pay tribute to him," was how Social Democratic Chancellor Alfred Gusenbauer described right-wing extremist politician Joerg Haider at Haider's funeral ceremony in Klagenfurt, Austria on Saturday.Read the whole thing.
While local Austrian authorities declared an inebriated Haider to have died as the result a high-speed car crash last week, Karlheinz Klement, a former member of Haider's ex-party, the Freedom Party, asserted that the Mossad had assassinated him. Klement's conspiracy thesis is circulating among Austrian neo-Nazi and right-wing internet forums.
In the mid 1990s, Haider proclaimed the Freedom Party "to be the PLO of Austria" at a party event. He split from the Freedom Party in 2005 and formed the Alliance for the Future of Austria, a hard-line, reactionary and anti-foreigner party based in the Federal State of Carinthia, where he served as governor.
Haider was notorious for his praise of Nazi employment policies and the Waffen SS, an organization devoted to exterminating European Jewry.
The Waffen SS are "decent individuals with character, who stick to their beliefs despite strong opposition and remain true to them today as well. That is a good basis, my dear friends, for us younger people to inherit," said Haider at meeting of the Veterans of the Waffen SS in Carinthia, Austria.
Haider's funeral turned into a day of national mourning and 30,000 Austrians flocked to the Carinthian capital of Klagenfurt to attend the service, which was covered live by Austria's national broadcaster, ORF.
Given Haider's anti-Semitic and xenophobic views, and taking into account that he represents a rallying point for Europe's radical right, it was an astonishing show of political solidarity as Austria's heads of state and political parties paid tribute to him. Chancellor Gusenbauer said Haider had had "an excellent feeling for what needs to be changed" in Austrian politics. [Actually, it wasn't so astonishing to anyone who is aware of how the Austrians managed to turn themselves from persecutors into victims immediately after the Second World War. CiJ].
Heinz Fischer, the Social Democratic president, said Haider's death was a "human tragedy," and that he had been a "politician with great talents."
The ex-head of the Austrian Green Party, Alexander Van der Bellen, said Haider had been "an exceptional politician, highly qualified to inspire people and win [them] over."
The conservative People's Party vice chancellor Wilhelm Molterer said Haider hadn't minced his words, and therefore "deserves great respect."
The Social Democratic president of the Austrian parliament, Barbara Prammer, recognized the great political and life achievements of Haider, who helped shaped Austria's political landscape over the decades.
Haider and his party epitomized an aggressive anti-Israeli agenda, with a foreign policy supporting alliances with the Iranian Mullah regime, Iraq under the rule of former tyrant Saddam Hussein, who Haider visited several times in Baghdad, and the Libyan President Muammar Gaddafi.
Haider had welcomed an Iranian economic delegation to Carinthia in July 2007 at a time when both the European Union and the US sought to discourage trade with Iran due to its uranium enrichment program, which could be used to make nuclear weapons.
He demanded that the "responsible warmongers" in Israel during the Second Lebanon War in 2006 be summoned before a war crimes tribunal, and that Austria evict the Israeli Ambassador in Vienna. Israel's right to self-defense against Hamas rocket attacks and Hizbullah terror activity played no role in Haider's foreign policy views.
He fanned the flames of Austrian anti-Semitism, blasting the head of the Austrian Jewish Community, Ariel Muzicant, as a "Zionist provocateur in the West" who wanted to silence criticism of Israel with the "club of Anti-Semitism."
Haider also criticized Muzicant for seeking to end flight connections with the Iran.
While Austria may be the worst of the Nazi sympathizers in Europe, it is by no means the only European country that is crawling with Nazi sympathizers (France and Belgium come immediately to mind). If you're still wondering why the US is having such an impossible time putting together effective sanctions against Iran, go back and read this post again.