Knesset speaker criticizes Austria

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Knesset speaker criticizes Austria
Yuli Edelstein with Doris Bures at the Holocaust memorial in Vienna. Photo: APA/NEUBAUER

Yuli Edelstein, Israel’s Knesset speaker, has said that Austria must help pressure Iran to give up its nuclear ambitions, as well as fight local neo-Nazi activity.


He is currently in Vienna on a diplomatic visit, meeting with Austrian President Heinz Fischer, Foreign Minister Sebastian Kurz and Parliament Speaker Doris Bures.

Before his departure he told the news website Times of Israel that in light of Vienna’s historic role in the Holocaust and refusal to take official responsibility for it “Israel expects all the more that Austria will continue to fight the trend of neo-Nazism within its borders and continue to teach the memory of the Holocaust even more.”

“Seventy years after the attempt to exterminate the Jewish people, my conversations with the Austrian leadership will revolve around the topics of terror and hatred,” Edelstein said in a statement.

He also referred to the fact that Adolf Hitler was born in Austria: "I am leaving on a state visit to a country that very unfortunately is where the greatest terrorist in the history of mankind emerged.” 

His visit will culminate in a speech at a ceremony on Tuesday for two Austrians being recognized as ‘Righteous Among the Nations’ for their roles in saving Jews during the Holocaust.

“I intend to highlight the necessity and moral obligation of Austria to be a full partner in enforcing the sanctions on Iran, and even increasing them, in order to stop it from developing nuclear weapons for destroying the Jewish people,” Edelstein said.

Austria’s President Fischer met with Iranian President Hassan Rouhani last Tuesday on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly. The two discussed a possible energy collaboration, and called for closer ties between the two countries, according to Iran’s Press TV.

Edelstein’s comments seemed to ignore a statement by Fischer, who in March said Austrians bore full responsibility for the atrocities committed during the Holocaust, adding that Austria’s mission today was to combat anti-Semitism in all of its forms.



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