Austrian far-right opposes Wiesenthal honour By Douglas Hamilton VIENNA, June 21 (Reuter) - Austrian far-right leader Joerg Haider said on Wednesday he opposed making Nazi-hunter Simon Wiesenthal an honorary citizen of Vienna, sparking a political row over alleged anti-semitism in Haider's Freedom party. The party has published advertisements in the Vienna press saying it opposes the honour because the Simon Wiesenthal Centre in Los Angeles displays Haider's picture next to those of Hitler, Stalin, Idi Amin and Pol Pot. At a regular news conference, Haider backed his party's campaign, saying ``the institution that bears his (Wiesenthal's) name is brutally misleading public opinion.'' ``Austrian democracy is heavily discriminated against (at the Wiesenthal Centre),'' Haider said. His picture was on show there ``alongside mass murderers like (former Ugandan dictator) Idi Amin and (Iraqi President) Saddam Hussein.'' A spokeswoman for Simon Wiesenthal, a longtime resident of Vienna, said he had no comment and was uncertain whether any statement was planned. The Wiesenthal centre in Los Angeles, a Nazi-hunting organisation that tracks down former war criminals and keeps alive the memory of the Jewish holocaust, is named for Wiesenthal but not directly linked to him. The president of the Austria-Israel Society, Walter Schwimmer, demanded an apology from Haider and Rainer Pawkowicz, who took out the advertisements, and an immediate end to the campaign against Wiesenthal. He pointed out that Wiesenthal had no say in what the Los Angles centre chose to put in its exhibits. The centre and Wiesenthal have been at odds in the past over criticisms of Austrians that the veteran Nazi hunter disagreed with. Pawkowic's advertisements said: ``This is how our Austrian republic is maligned: in the Simon Wiesenthal Centre in Los Anglese the portrait of Joerg Haider hangs next to pictures of political criminals and mass murderers Hitler, Stalin, Idi Amin or Pol Pot.'' ``In this way politicians including Joerg Haider who were democratically elected by one million Austrians are being slandered,'' it said. ``We say ``No' to honorary citizenship for Simon Wiesenthal.'' Left-wing Greens party member Friedrun Huemer accused Haider and his party of ``playing a dangerous game with anti-Semitic undertones.'' She said the Freedom party was also basing its case on erroneous facts. Haider's likeness was not displayed alongside Hitler or Amin ``but in a row with right-wing demagogues (Frenchman Jean-Marie) Le Pen and (U.S.) Ku Klux Klan leader David Duke,'' she said.
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