An Austrian right-wing party leader may face prosecution for calling a Jewish museum director a “Jew in exile from America”.
Dieter Egger, head of the Freedom Party which is part of the coalition government in the country’s Vorarlberg province, was responding to criticism from Hanno Loewy, director of the Jewish museum in Hohenems.
Mr Egger had previously said that he believed that all Austrians should be forced to leave the country if they did not agree with his policy to pay family benefits only to native Austrians.
Mr Loewy publically took exception to the comment, comparing the statement to the deportation of Jewish Austrians by the Nazis.
In response, Mr Egger said: "The Jew in exile from America with his heavily subsidised museum should shut up and not mix in Austrian politics."
Mr Loewy, who is a German citizen, dismissed Mr Egger's comments as "nonsense".
Austrian Chancellor Werner Faymann was quick to condemn Mr Egger's statements and Feldkirch prosecutor Franz Pflanzner said that his office had launched a preliminary investigation due to an "initial suspicion" that Mr Egger had engaged in incitement.