Thursday, May 31, 2012


Benjamin Weinthal writes on the Jerusalem Post about the Austrian defense minister Norbert Darabos, who's just as bad as Germany's Gunter Grass:
My latest straight-news report on critics asserting that Austrian defense minister Norbert Darabos ignores Iran’s determination to build a nuclear weapons device coupled with his attacks on Israel unleashed a spiraling war of words.

The crossfire reminds me of an Austrian governmental version of the Günter Grass scandal. Exactly as Mr. Grass—a lifelong German social democratic activist—found himself just a few months ago, the social democratic party (SPÖ) minister Darabos now finds himself locked in a war of words with his Jewish and non-Jewish critics. And exactly as Iran celebrated Grass's artistic contributions to international affairs, the Islamic world's most dangerous clerical regime has emerged as Mr. Darabos' chief advocate.

Iran has proved to be no fair-weather friend to Mr. Darabos. My Jerusalem Post dispatch “Austrian Defense Minister Should Resign” sparked Iran’s regime-controlled German language outlet (Iran German Radio, IRIB World Service, Das Deutsche Program) to bitterly complain about the “anger of Zionist circles in Europe.” According to IRIB, Dr. Shimon Samuels, from the Simon Wiesenthal Center, “in an interview with the Jerusalem Post intervened in internal Austrian affairs with surprising demands…”

During that said interview, Dr. Samuels told me that Mr. Darabos ought to resign because he endangered Austrian’s foreign policy and engaged in an anti-Semitic reflex by insisting that Israel is the only Mideast country to be blamed for the region’s problems. (Incidentally, when I asked Mr. Darabos’ spokesman Stefan Hirsch to send me examples of other foreign politicians that Mr. Darabos targeted for robust criticism, he declined to answer my email query). Mr. Darabos flatly rejected the accusation that he is “anti-Semitic” and proudly declared: “I am an anti-fascist par excellence.”

So what prompted Tehran’s defense of Mr. Darabos in its state-financed media outlets?

Last weekend, Mr. Darabos told the Austrian daily Die Presse’s Christian Ultsch in an eye-popping interview that Israel’s “threats” were “unnecessary” because “Iran is not ready to build the bomb.” In the same interview, Mr. Darabos termed Foreign Minister Avigdor Liberman “unbearable” and accused Israel of using the danger of an Iranian nuclear program – and the Palestinian issue – to deflect attention from Israeli domestic and social problems.
In that case, Darabos should be ashamed of himself for lying, but clearly, he's not. Read the rest of the entry for more, but for now, I think we've just found another clue to why Austria is not a place where any sane person wants to be right now.

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