Forward Thinking

Lone Jew in Austria's Far-Right Party

By Anna J. Goldenberg

  • Print
  • Share Share
David Lasar

Parliamentary elections are held in Austria on Sept. 29 and polls suggest that the far right-wing Freedom Party will achieve one of the best results in its history — and may even shake the governing coalition.

The Freedom Party has mostly been shunned by Jewish voters because it grew out of a federation of former Nazis and has been accused of pandering to xenophobia – with one notable exception.

David Lasar is a Jew, the son of a Holocaust survivor — and a candidate for the Freedom Party. Lasar, 60, of Vienna, was elected a council member for Vienna’s local parliament in 2005 on a Freedom Party ticket, where he focuses on health care issues.

“The FPO is the only party that cares for the man on the street,” said Mr Lasar, a trader by profession .

The Freedom Party holds an anti-immigration stance and is trying to capitalize on surging rejection of bailouts of teetering southern European nations within the European Union.

“Love those that are close to you. To me, those are our Austrians,” one of the party’s current campaign posters reads, featuring party leader Heinz Christian Strache, 44.

Last year, Mr Strache compared the demonstrations against an event organized by a right-wing fraternity to the Kristallnacht pogroms of the Nazis. The party’s history of being accused of pandering to xenophobia and anti-Semitism dates back at least to former long-time leader Jörg Haider (1950-2008), who famously sparred with Ariel Muzicant, the president of the Jewish community in Vienna until 2012.

Lasar insists he hadn’t encountered any anti-Semitism within the party.

“For me as a Jew it is important to look forward,” he added.

In the parliamentary elections, Lasar is listed on the second place in his election district in the northern part of Vienna. Lasar is fairly low down on the party’s national list and is therefore most likely to gain one of the 183 seats in Austria’s parliament if the Freedom Party does well in his local district.


Permalink | | Share | Email | Print | Filed under: neo-nazi, jewish, david lasar, freedom party, austria

The Jewish Daily Forward welcomes reader comments in order to promote thoughtful discussion on issues of importance to the Jewish community. In the interest of maintaining a civil forum, The Jewish Daily Forwardrequires that all commenters be appropriately respectful toward our writers, other commenters and the subjects of the articles. Vigorous debate and reasoned critique are welcome; name-calling and personal invective are not. While we generally do not seek to edit or actively moderate comments, our spam filter prevents most links and certain key words from being posted and The Jewish Daily Forward reserves the right to remove comments for any reason.




Find us on Facebook!
  • “I don’t want to say, ‘Oh oh, I’m not Jewish,’ because when you say that, you sound like someone trying to get into a 1950s country club, “and I love the idea of being Jewish." Are you a fan of Seth Meyers?
  • "If you want my advice: more Palestinians, more checkpoints, just more reality." What do you think?
  • Happy birthday Barbra Streisand! Our favorite Funny Girl turns 72 today.
  • Clueless parenting advice from the star of "Clueless."
  • Why won't the city give an answer?
  • BREAKING NEWS: Israel has officially suspended peace talks with the Palestinians.
  • Can you guess what the most boring job in the army is?
  • What the foolish rabbi of Chelm teaches us about Israel and the Palestinian unity deal:
  • Mazel tov to Idina Menzel on making Variety "Power of Women" cover! http://jd.fo/f3Mms
  • "How much should I expect him and/or ask him to participate? Is it enough to have one parent reciting the prayers and observing the holidays?" What do you think?
  • New York and Montreal have been at odds for far too long. Stop the bagel wars, sign our bagel peace treaty!
  • Really, can you blame them?
  • “How I Stopped Hating Women of the Wall and Started Talking to My Mother.” Will you see it?
  • Taglit-Birthright Israel is redefining who they consider "Jewish" after a 17% drop in registration from 2011-2013. Is the "propaganda tag" keeping young people away?
  • Happy birthday William Shakespeare! Turns out, the Bard knew quite a bit about Jews.
  • from-cache

Would you like to receive updates about new stories?




















We will not share your e-mail address or other personal information.

Already subscribed? Manage your subscription.