The Case for Working with the Austrian Far Right

While noting his concerns about the racist and ant-Semitic roots of Austria’s Freedom party, which is now part of the county’s governing coalition, Daniel Pipes urges Jews to work with the party, not against it:

The [current Austrian] government comprises two very different parties, which together won 58 percent of the vote: the arch-establishment and very mildly conservative Austrian People’s party and the populist, firebrand Freedom party of Austria, whose roots lie in the far-right swamp of German (not Austrian) nationalism.

The two parties’ coalition agreement is an anti-jihadists’ dream. Distinguishing between Islamism (which it calls political Islam) and the religion of Islam, it boldly stakes out new ground. . . .

Those hostile to the Freedom party stress its Nazi origins, its “politics of resentment,” and its anti-Western outlook. . . . My assessment: the Freedom party brings realism, courage, extremism, and eccentricity; it has a way to go before it becomes just another party. Its leadership’s efforts to address a problem like anti-Semitism (visiting Yad Vashem or calling for the Austrian embassy to be moved to Jerusalem) have gone down badly among rank-and-file members.

But I advocate working with the Freedom party, not marginalizing it. . . . [A] political party has no DNA or essence; it can change and be what its members make of it. Note, [for instance], how the U.S. Democratic party changed on the race issue.

Read more at JNS

More about: Anti-Semitism, Austria, Conservatism, Immigration, Islamism, Politics & Current Affairs


Iran’s Options for Revenge on Israel

On April 1, an Israeli airstrike on Damascus killed three Iranian generals, one of whom was the seniormost Iranian commander in the region. The IDF has been targeting Iranian personnel and weaponry in Syria for over a decade, but the killing of such a high-ranking figure raises the stakes significantly. In the past several days, Israelis have received a number of warnings both from the press and from the home-front command to ready themselves for retaliatory attacks. Jonathan Spyer considers what shape that attack might take:

Tehran has essentially four broad options. It could hit an Israeli or Jewish facility overseas using either Iranian state forces (option one), or proxies (option two). . . . Then there’s the third option: Tehran could also direct its proxies to strike Israel directly. . . . Finally, Iran could strike Israeli soil directly (option four). It is the riskiest option for Tehran, and would be likely to precipitate open war between the regime and Israel.

Tehran will consider all four options carefully. It has failed to retaliate in kind for a number of high-profile assassinations of its operatives in recent years. . . . A failure to respond, or staging too small a response, risks conveying a message of weakness. Iran usually favors using proxies over staging direct attacks. In an unkind formulation common in Israel, Tehran is prepared to “fight to the last Arab.”

Read more at Spectator

More about: Iran, Israeli Security, Syria