Board of Deputies reacts to narrow defeat of far-right candidate in Austrian elections

Board of Deputies President Jonathan Arkush today commented on the Austrian presidential election results. He said: “We would like to congratulate Alexander Van der Bellen on his election as President of Austria . We also wish to note our grave concern at the level of support for Norbert Hofer and the Freedom Party. Mr Hofer and the Freedom Party have some deeply unsettling connections to unsavoury groups in Austrian society which no amount of carefully staged visits to Israel can camouflage. He has used language reminiscent of the Nazi-era, indulged far right media and has also carried a gun ‘in response to the migrant crisis’.

“The rise of the far right in Europe is of serious concern not just to Jewish and other minority communities but to all right minded people in our continent. In light of this result, we call on Mr Van der Bellen and all sections of society to redouble efforts to build bridges and reject the politics of division which will only fuel the fire of extremism and isolation.

“We are also alarmed by the entry into the Cypriot parliament of the National Popular Front (ELAM), which is known to have links with the extremist Golden Dawn party in Greece. We trust the Cypriot Government will continue its work to foster good intercommunal relations under the leadership of President Anastasiades.

“The Board of Deputies will be requesting a meeting with the Austrian Ambassador and will make representations to the Cypriot High Commission in response to these developments.”

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