Austrian chancellor protests to Malaysian premier over anti-Semitism

Austrian leader met his Malaysian counterpart after the announcement of a ban on Israeli athletes at an international tournament.

By David Jablinowitz, World Israel News

Austrian chancellor Sebastian Kurz reportedly raised the issue of anti-Semitism in Malaysia with that country’s prime minister, Mahathir Mohamad. The two leaders met in Vienna on Monday.

The Jerusalem Post quotes Peter Launsky-Tieffenthal, a spokesman for the Austrian government, as writing by email: “Chancellor Kurz took the opportunity to bring up the issue of anti-Semitism in Malaysia and the government’s stand towards Israel and the Jewish people.

“In the aftermath of the meeting, the chancellor told Austrian journalists that when it comes to Israel and anti-Semitism, he and his counterpart are of completely contrary opinions and that any form of anti-Semitism in Malaysia and anywhere else is unacceptable,” said the spokesman.

“Austria is and remains without a doubt a friend and partner of Israel and is committed to fight any form of anti-Semitism wherever it may occur,” said Launsky-Tieffenthal.

Mohamad has banned Israelis from attending the World Para-Swimming Championships, which are scheduled to take place in Malaysia July 29-August 4.

Austria, like Germany, is seen as bearing a special responsibility in combating anti-Semitism because of the Nazi Holocaust. Some German officials have already demanded action against Malaysia for the ban on Israelis.

Chancellor Kurz has defended Israel on the international stage, including taking Iran to task for its ambitions to destroy the Jewish state.

Israel says it lobbied against a potential Malaysian ban on Israelis at the swimming event and later condemned the prime minister when he announced his decision.

It is not clear whether international Paralympic officials will step in, but Mohamad has vowed that he would not be deterred by punitive action to remove the tournament from his country because of the ban.