Anti-Israel demonstrators gathered on Friday in the heart of Vienna, protesting
Israel’s Operation Pillar of Defense and chanting slogans calling for the murder
of Jews and bashing the Jewish state.
Israel’s eight-day military
operation to stop Hamas rocket fire from entering the country prompted two
fiercely anti-Israel protests in the Austrian capital.
Samuel Laster, an
Israeli journalist who lives in Vienna, told The Jerusalem Post on Sunday that
he heard a contingent of 15 to 20 Austrian Islamists chanting in Arabic, “Death
to the Jews.”
Laster first reported on the call to eliminate Jews on his
website die juedische (“the Jewish”).
Speaking from Vienna by phone, he
told the Post that a “mix of Austrian leftist radical extremists and Islamists”
appeared at the protest. He estimated that at least 400 anti-Israel protesters,
including Salafists, Muslim Brotherhood members and Palestinians, took part in
The demonstrators marched to the federal chancellor’s
The anti-Israel activists yelled “Freedom for Palestine” and
“Down with Israel,” and a group of Austrian Muslims blasted repeatedly in Arabic
“Death to the Jews.” Laster said the Austrian authorities, including the
domestic intelligence agency (Verfassungschutz), must increase their efforts to
combat “Islamic extremism.” He criticized the lax approach of Austrian police
officials who waved off the anti-Jewish rhetoric as merely a protest against
Dr. Shimon Samuels, the Simon Wiesenthal Center’s director for
international relations, wrote the Post by email on Sunday, “the
Verfassungschutz, whether in Germany or Austria, has to make the analytical leap
in treating the Trotskyite/jihadist movements as they did regarding Nazi and
Communist espionage or terrorism.
“These provide cover for a fifth column
of sleepers and lone-wolf recruits that endanger the host societies as much as,
if not more than, their Jewish citizens. Jews have somewhere to
go. Germans and Austrians do not.”
He added that when the ragtag
political activists scream “death to the Jews” in Vienna or Berlin they mean
“The Holocaust began with the word and brought the world to the
abyss. The alarms in Israel under Hamas rockets should reverberate in Vienna and
Berlin, for the indifferent and exposed Austrians and Germans who do not realize
that they have no Iron Dome,” said Samuels.
At an earlier demonstration
during the war, Austrian Islamists and Leftists screamed slogans calling for the
destruction of the Jewish state. According to a report on November 16 on the
Vienna news website Heute.at, protesters invoked slogans including “We are
against the two-state solution” and “We are for a Palestine that is free from
the West Bank and reaches to the Mediterranean and Israel will be wiped
Heute.at reported that a large segment of the protesters were of
Turkish and Arabic descent and yelled “Allahu akbar.”
The Palestinian and
Syrian communities in Vienna helped organize the rally during the IDF’s
operation against Hamas in Gaza.