New Austrian Foreign Minister Denies Comparing Zionism With Nazism

© AFP 2022 / HERBERT PFARRHOFER / APADesignated Foreign Minister Karin Kneissl arrives for talks with Austria's President on December 17, 2017 at the Hofburg palace in Vienna
Designated Foreign Minister Karin Kneissl arrives for talks with Austria's President on December 17, 2017 at the Hofburg palace in Vienna - Sputnik International
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MOSCOW (Sputnik) - New Austrian Foreign Minister Karin Kneissl said in an interview with an Israeli newspaper, published Monday, that she never compared Zionism to Nazism.

When she was appointed in December, Kneissl was slammed by the Israeli media for having described early Zionism in her 2014 book "My Middle East" as a "blood-and-soil ideology based on German nationalism."

"To insinuate any comparison between Nazism and Zionism is utter nonsense. I have never made any such comparison. What I pointed out is the historical fact that Theodor Herzl was certainly inspired by the nationalist aspirations that swept through many European countries during the 19th century. You always have to see things in the historical context," Kneissl told The Times of Israel.

Kneissl stressed that she and the new Austrian government are and remain committed to Israel as a Jewish state and to the two-state-solution, where Israel and Palestine live side by side, in peace and prosperity.

READ MORE: Dozens Detained in Austria For Drug Dealing Involving Underage Migrants — Police

She also said that neither right-wing Freedom Party (FPO), which nominated her for the ministerial position, neither FPO leader Heinz-Christian Strache have anti-Semitic inclinations.

Foreign Minister and leader of the Austrian People's Party, OEVP, Sebastian Kurz, left, and Heinz-Christian Strache, chairman of the right-wing Freedom Party, FPOE, talk to press after talks with Austrian President Alexander van der Bellen at the Hofburg palace in Vienna, Austria, Saturday, Dec. 16, 2017 - Sputnik International
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The Austrian snap parliamentary election were held on October 15. The People's Party (OVP) received 31.5 percent of the vote, while the Social Democratic Party of Austria (SPO) came in second with 26.9 percent of the vote. The FPO ranked third, winning 26 percent of votes.

In mid-December, the OVP, headed by newly appointed Chancellor Sebastian Kurz, and the FPO, chaired by now Vice Chancellor Heinz-Christian Strache, announced that they had reached a coalition agreement to form a new government.

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