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article imageAustria Freedom Party criticized for Nazi-like cartoon

By Layne Weiss     Aug 20, 2012 in World
Vienna - Heinz-Christian Strache, the leader of Austria's Freedom party has stirred up a lot of anger by posting an apparently anti-Semitic cartoon on Facebook, similar to Nazi propaganda during World War II.
The cartoon depicted a banker with a hooked nose and star of David cufflinks. He is being fed delicacies by a man who represented the government, The AP reports. The third figure is emaciated and poorly dressed with nothing more than a bone on his plate. He represented the people.
Austrian Jewish leader Oskar Deutsch said the cartoon was similar to the ones Nazis used in the 1930s, BBC News reports.
"It is not a coincidence that a caricature of Jews like the ones in 'Stuermer' (Nazi newspaper) in the 1930s and 1940s appeared on the Facebook of FPOe leader Strache," Deutsch said according to AFP.
Mr Strache, however, denied the picture was intended to be anti-Semitic. He said it was meant as a criticism of the banking system.
On Sunday, he posted an amended version of the picture, BBC News reports. The new version was labeled in English. The star of David emblems had been removed from the banker's cufflinks and he no longer had a hooked nose.
According to The AP, Strache's Freedom Party had been notorious for its anti-Semitic slogans, but is now more focused on the opposition of Muslim immigration. Some of the groups supporters, however, still include anti-Semites.
Strache posted another picture on his Facebook over the weekend. This one was taken at a local festival and depicted the Freedom Party leader next to a roast suckling pig with the caption: "Isst du Schwein, darfst du rein," (If you eat pork, you can come in) AFP reports.
The caption has reportedly been deleted, but the picture is still up.
Monday, Strache received condemnation from not only Jewish leader Oscar Deutsch, but also from center-left and conservative politicians as well.
"It's about time the FPOe finally did something against the incendiary and discriminating tones within the party itself. ," the secretary of the conservative People's party strongly persisted Monday, AFP reports.
A lawyer in Vienna has also announced plans to sue the FPOe for Holocaust denial, which is illegal in Austria.
More about austria freedom party, Antisemitic, Cartoon, banking system, Jewish leaders
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