Austrian politics has been rocked by “Ibiza-gate” allegations that the country’s vice chancellor was discussing the possibility of a foreign citizen investing into a local newspaper in exchange for favourable media coverage.
Rudolf Adam, a former diplomat and deputy head of Germany’s Federal Intelligence Service, claims that the scandal that turned Austria’s politics upside down was orchestrated by Israeli secret services.
Writing for the political magazine Cicero, Adam argues that the plan to bring down Vice Chancellor Heinz-Christian Strache with an explosive video leak was unlikely to have been hatched by the United States, which is currently “fully occupied with Korea, Iran and China”.
Nor could be Russia behind the “political assassination”, as Adam puts it, given that the now-former vice chancellor had been advocating closer ties with Moscow.
No European service “could and should” do such a thing, Adam maintains, while China and the Arab countries appear to have little interest in Austrian domestic politics.
“All that remains is a state that has the human and technical capacities for such an operation and a clear motive: Israel,” he continues.
Rufold Adam, who has worked in German embassies in Moscow and in London, points out that Jewish communities in Europe are afraid of a rise in anti-Semitic sentiment and Holocaust denial, which could pose an existential threat to the State of Israel.
He claims that Strache embodies “deep-seated anti-Semitism” and a “trivialisation” of Nazi atrocities, so Israel had to react.
“Israel has a survival interest in the EU pursuing an Israel-friendly policy. This line has already been controversial among EU members. A triumph of political parties close to the FPO could initiate a turnaround here and bring the EU as a whole into a more Israel-critical line,” he claims.
Ironically enough, Adam himself was accused of anti-Semitism following the publication of his opinion piece.
According to Israeli newspaper Ynetnews, the Conference of European Rabbis (CER), the foremost Rabbinical alliance in Europe, said that the attempt to blame Israel for Strache’s downfall is “reminiscent of classic anti-Semitism” and cannot be ignored.
Two German papers reported on 17 May that Heinz-Christian Strache, the head of the nationalist FPO party, and his assistant Johann Gudenus had discussed offering business dealings to a woman, who later turned out to have Latvian citizenship, in exchange for friendly media coverage.
The conversation presumably took place on Ibiza in the summer of 2017.
The woman was reportedly seeking to invest illegal money into Austria’s largest newspaper, the Kronen Zeitung. She was said to have discussed tilting its media coverage in favour of the FPO, effectively boosting its electoral chances in the 2017 general election.
Incidentally, the video was held back for almost two years and surfaced nearly a week before the European Parliament elections. Adam believes it is not a coincidence, given the “unprecedented success” of right-wing parties and that Strache was playing a “central role” in this right-wing bloc with his FPO.
Strache, who did not question the authenticity of the tape but called it a “targeted political assassination”, was forced to step down as vice-chancellor and FPO leader. Chancellor Sebastian Kurz scrapped his People’s Party’s coalition with the FPO, forcing the latter to quit the government.
Kurz himself was forced to resign on Monday after a no-confidence vote in parliament, while his government was dismissed.