Activists Charged with “Provocative” Waving of Israeli Flag at Anti-Semitic Rally in Austria

Three pro-Israel activists are facing a €100 ($120) fine or two days in jail for waving an Israeli flag at an Austrian pro-Palestinian rally at which anti-Semitic slogans were shouted, Benjamin Weinthal reported Wednesday for The Jerusalem Post.

The three students were at a rally near the American embassy in Vienna, according to the account, originally published in the German language edition of Vice.

The criminal notice, dated January 3, stated that the students “showed an Israeli flag at a rally in an extremely provocative way and manner that was visible for participants at the rally and thereby produced considerable offense and provocation among the Palestinian protesters.”

“My mother is Israeli, her family [members] are refugees from Iraq and Libya,” one of the students explained. “An Arab-speaking friend from Israel was able to translate some of the slogans yelled [at the rally], for example, the Arab battle cry to massacre Jews: ‘Jews, remember Khaybar, the army of Muhammad is returning,’ and… ‘Death to Israel.’”

Khaybar, which is located in what is now Saudi Arabia, is a place where Muslims killed and looted the Jews of the town and it is frequently referenced by Muslims when they are attacking or planning to attack Jews.

The student, identified only as Matthias F. said that he had heard other chants such as “intifada,” and “child-murder Israel,” which prompted him and his friends to unfurl their Israeli flag. “We were shocked by these slogans and did not want to leave the slogans unchallenged. Antisemitism and hate of Israel should not be tolerated,” he explained.

The police notice citing the students’ activity called the display of the Israeli flag “especially reckless,” which “disturbed the public order.”

Matthias said that the police objected to the display of the Israeli flag but not of the Palestinian or Turkish ones held by the anti-Israel protesters. He called the criminal complaint against him and his friends as “unbelievable,” adding, “It can’t be that antisemitic slogans can be hollered and go unpunished while showing an Israeli flag is reason to be fined.”

In a followup, Shiri Moshe reported for The Algemeiner on Wednesday that Jewish Communities of Austria (IKG), an organization representing Austria’s Jews, has offered legal assistance to the pro-Israel students.

[Photo: James Emery / Flickr]