Europe

Austrian Prosecutor: Quoting Hitler and Calling to Kill Jews is Legal Criticism of Israel

A Facebook post that showed Adolf Hitler with a statement praising the death of Jews constituted legitimate and legal criticism of Israel, the prosecutor’s office in Austria’s third-largest city said earlier this week.

Ibrahim, a 29-year-old owner of a hair salon outside of Linz, posted an image of Hitler in December along with the caption “I could have annihilated all the Jews in the world, but I left some of them alive so you will know why I was killing them…”. He was investigated under an Austrian law that forbids praising the Nazi regime, but successfully claimed that his anti-Semitic outburst was merely criticism of Israel’s actions during Operation Protective Edge, the war with Hamas that had ended a few months prior. The statements were not glorifying Hitler, but simply expressing “displeasure toward Israel,” prosecutor’s office spokesman Philip Christl told the newspaper Oberösterreichische Nachrichten.

“This position [of the prosecutor] is, unfortunately, becoming more popular,” Stefan Schaden, a board member of the Austria-Israel Society, told The Jerusalem Post. “Everything passes as so-called criticism of Israel. Anti-Semitism seems to have been officially abolished. In view of the climate in Europe, it is a dramatic development.”

The controversy over the lack of prosecution has reportedly spurred the prosecutor’s office to take another look at the case.

A German court ruled last year that the firebombing of a synagogue in Wuppertal was motivated by a desire to bring “attention to the Gaza conflict,” not anti-Semitism.

[Photo: darkweasel94 / Wikimedia]