|Gericht zu Nazivergleich:
Haider wird nicht
Karl Pfeifer, Wien
Erschienen in Searchlight
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
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