In Austria: Freedom of Speech for Anti-Semites not for Jews

Three Jewish students received a 100 Euro fine each from Vienna police in their mail for waving an Israeli flag at a pro-Palestinian demonstration last month. The protest was against President Donald Trump’s recognizing Jerusalem as Israel’s eternal and historical capital. During the demonstration “Death to the Jews” was shouted and an Israeli flag was burned. This demonstration was but one of many virulent anti-Israel protests that took place in cities across Europe. All the demonstrations were extremely anti-Israel anti American and anti-Zionist, and some denied Israel’s right to exist and others supporting the use of violence to fix the Palestinian problem.

You would think that people there might have been fined for how they behaved but that wasn’t the case. Instead the letter these students got explaining why they were fined said: They were “behaving insensibly, violating public order and creating a provocation.” I guess they were the only ones who did these heinous criminal acts because they were the only ones fined. reported on the protest which happened on December 8th: “Anti-Semitic slogans could be heard there, again and again.” Hundreds participated in the protest at the US Embassy, tens of Palestinian and Hezbollah flags were raised at that same event besides the aforementioned Israeli flag burning. However the only ones fined were these Jewish students holding an Israeli flag.

Adam Geiger, one of the flag raising students said that moments after raising their Israeli flag pro-Palestinian activists assaulted them from behind. The police also pounced on the aggressors but didn’t arrest them; they detained the Jewish students instead. Geiger considers the whole incident an anti-Semitic one.

The new Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurtz from the extreme right will need to explain how it is that in Austria, freedom of speech is a right for everyone, especially anti-Semites but not for Jews? 


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