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Ruth Wodak ruth.wodak at UNIVIE.AC.AT
Sat Mar 17 17:33:33 UTC 2001

Dear Friends,
Ruth Wodak and Andrei Markovits would  greatly
appreciate if you lent your signatures and names to yet another open letter
that we would like to write to Austria's President Dr. Thomas Klestil and
have published, just like last time on June 15, 2000, in Austria's paper of
Alas, Haider is at it once again.
This time he has used the forthcoming municipal elections for the mayoralty
of Vienna as an occasion to use anti-Semitic invectives. Here are  the two
cases in point:
1. At an FPOe party meeting on February 21, 2001,  in WIEN-OBERLAA, one of
the city's outer areas, he lampooned the incumbent mayor's electoral
by making fun of Stanley Greenberg, the noted pollster for Clinton and the
Democratic Party, who has served as an adviser to the Social Democratic
Party's efforts:
"Mr. Haeupl [the incumbent mayor and a member of the Social Democratic
has an election strategist: he's called Greenberg ... (loud laughter in the
hall). The mayor had him flown in from the East Coast. My friends, you have
choice: you can vote for Spin Doctor Greenberg from the East Coast, or you
can vote for the real heart of Vienna. (loud applause) We don't need any
proclamation from the East Coast. Now we've had enough" (prolonged applause)
As we are sure that all of you know, the term "East Coast" – or "Ostkueste"
in the German original – has become a thinly veiled pejorative code word for
JEWS in the vernacular of the Austrian and the German right (and not only
far right, by the way, since that term can be regularly found in articles
written in the FRANKFURTER ALLGEMEINE ZEITUNG, Germany's paper of record).
2. The second incident occurred one week later on February 28, 2001, on Ash
Wednesday, at a meeting in Ried, Austria's Inn District. He inveighed
Mr. Ariel Muzicant, the head of the Austrian Jewish community, in the
following manner:
"Mr. Ariel Muzicant: What I don't understand is how somebody called ‘Ariel'
can have so much dirty linen (laughter and applause). I just don't
it, but I think ... he'll probably have something to say about it tomorrow,
won't he? (laughter) ... but I am not particularly scared of this kind of
thing ... (more laughter).
The pun here is that "Ariel" is a well-known laundry detergent in Austria.
In the same speech, Haider also accused Muzicant of extorting the same
of money from the Austrian government for compensatory payments for slave
labor that he (Muzicant) had allegedly accumulated in his real estate
business in Vienna.
Making matters worse is the fact that at the Ried meeting the audience was
soon transformed into a frenzied anti-Semitic mob that obviously relished
every one of Haider's anti-Semitic inuendos.
Worst of all in this sorry affair has been the virtual silence of Austria'
government and political class to these outrageous and clearly inflammatory
statements leaving, in essence, Ariel Muzicant and the Austrian Jewish
community all by themselves.
yesterday, Muzicant charged Haider. In the evening news, Haider attacked
Muzikant again, saying a) this was just a joke
b) that Muzicant had to be critized because he said bad things about
We would therefore very much appreciate it if you would yet again lend us
your voice by signing the following letter addressed to President Klestil.
Trust us, the last letter had an IMMENSE effect on Klestil and the Austrian
public debate. It was noticed and had influence. This one will do the same.
This is the letter that we will write to Klestil and that we would much
appreciate if you signed. Please reply by Wednesday, 21.3.2001 if you would
be prepared to sign such a letter:

Dear President Klestil:

Yet again, the news from Austria has been very disheartening. We have
followed with dismay and anger Joerg Haider's statements about Stanley
Greenberg's being from the "East Coast", well-known – and pejorative – code
word for  "Jew" in the vernacular of the Austrian and the German right; as
well as his reference to Ariel Muzicant's first name which Haider lampooned
by invoking the detergent "Ariel".
Austria, as a liberal democracy, permits free speech which we fully support.
What we find deeply disturbing, however, is that Haider repeatedly resorts
the not-so-subtle subtext of anti-Semitism to gain political advantage for
his ugly cause. More disturbing still is the fact that the Austrian
government and the country's political class were very tardy in reacting to
Haider's inflammatory statements, thus leaving Mr. Muzicant and Austria's
Jewish Community all to themselves in this hour of need for solidarity and
Hereby, we would like to register our protest that language such as Haider's
is still – or perhaps yet again – salonfaehig in Austrian politics. We also
voice our disappointment concerning the silence with which Austria's
leadership met Haider's contemptible remarks. Lastly, we express our
solidarity with Austria's Jewish community and its leader, Mr. Ariel
Muzicant, in this hour of need.

Andrei S. Markovits
University of Michigan, Ann Arbor
and all other signatories
Andrei S. Markovits (andymark at  (
Professor of Politics
Department of Germanic Languages and Literatures
Adjunct Professor of Political Science
Department of Political Science
Adjunct Professor of Sociology
Department of Sociology
The University of Michigan
3110 Modern Language Building
812 East Washington Street
The University of Michigan
Ann Arbor, Michigan 48109-1275
Phone: 734-764-8018
Fax: 734-763-6557
Home Address: 718 Onondaga Street; Ann Arbor, Michigan 48104-2611
Telephone: 734-213-2226
Telefax: 734-213-2242

Ruth Wodak
Professor of Linguistics
Department of Linguistics
University of Vienna
Berggasse 11
1090 Vienna
Research Center „Discourse, Politics, Identity"
Austrian Academy of Sciences
Strohgasse 45, 1030 Vienna
Tel: 7102510/6201
Fax: 710250710

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