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Antisemitism: It’s Time for Tachles

This is a guest post by Karl Pfeifer

Tachles was one of the keywords of the London Conference on Antisemitism. Used by Jewish and non-Jewish experts and delegates alike, the word is an exhortation to get down to brass tacks.

Reading The London Declaration on Combating Antisemitism, one can feel that the parliamentarians have fully incorporated in their recommendations the results achieved in the four working groups:

1. Packing a Political Punch: Fighting Antisemitism in the Political Sphere

2. Cut and Past Antisemitism – Combating Internet Hate

3. The Importance of Facts and Figures

4. Antisemitic and Demonising Discourse

In Britain, all parties represented in parliament agree on the need to combat antisemitism. All the declarations of British politicians were unambiguous. They did not try to downplay the phenomenon. The cooperation between the British police and the Jewish community’s own CST is also exemplary.

Returning from London, I participated in a press conference of the Jewish Community of Vienna. Community president Ariel Muzicant called for a coalition of Austrian citizens against the extreme right and the antisemites who are well represented in Austrian parliament and politics. Muzicant named those functionaries of FPÖ (Austrian Freedom Party) who assist Moshe Aryeh Friedman, who falsely claims to be a rabbi and is a “revisionist and Denier of Holocaust”. He named also the FPÖ MP Werner Neugebauer, who has tried to twist “a criminal case of a real estate agent accused of fraud into a ‘Jewish case’” in a parliamentary question. Neubauer insinuated that the real estate agent could flee Austrian justice with the help of the Jewish Community.

This is not only a malicious innunendo but, according to Muzicant, “antisemitism”. The fact that Martin Graf, a member of the extreme right Burschenschaft Olympia, could become the third president of the Austrian parliament is regarded by Muzicant as one “phenomenon” of many: “The barrier of what is permissible was lowered”.

In Austria – and also elsewhere, at a time when the economic insecurity plays a large role in spreading hatred of Jews – a coalition of all democratic forces is needed to combat antisemitism. The writing is on the wall.