Austrian students reject 'antisemitic' boycott Israel campaign

The union is believed to be the first national group to have passed an anti-BDS resolution.

October 14, 2017 20:15
2 minute read.
Manifestants pro-BDS à Berlin

BDS activists in Berlin. (photo credit: REUTERS)


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The Austrian National Union of Students passed a motion on Friday against BDS, because the boycott movement targeting Israel is antisemitic and its demands recall the Nazis’ economic war against Jewish businesses.

It is believed to be the first time an Austrian national student union has passed such a resolution.

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The Austrian Jewish students group announced on its Facebook page: “We are very happy to announce that the Austrian Students Union is the first national student union to officially pass a resolution denouncing BDS and also passing a version of the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance – IHRA definition of antisemitism. The resolution states BDS to be an antisemitic campaign and calls not to give it any space or supporting funds.

“This has been a big step in the fight against antisemitism, and we are very happy that after our lobbying effort almost all factions have supported the motion.

“A special thanks to the GRAS Greens and Alternative Students and their continuing support in the fight against all antisemitism.”

The GRAS group wrote on its Facebook page that it is “pleased that the Austrian Students Union representatives voted with a phenomenal majority for our motion.”

The resolution passed nearly unanimously, with no opposing votes and only one abstention.


The Austrian National Union of Students condemned the “antisemitic BDS campaign and its spreading on college campuses,” GRAS said.

Marita Gasteiger, a GRAS member of the executive committee of the Austrian National Union of Students (ÖH), tweeted on Friday, “loveliest moment: ÖH positioned itself against antisemitism & BDS.”

The motion states the students union has “a special historical responsibility” to not forget what took place, and pledged to not remain silent when antisemitism appears. BDS “demands such as to not buy from Zionists reminds us of horrible historical examples.”

The resolution noted that human rights organizations – the Simon Wiesenthal Center and the Anti-Defamation League – classify BDS as antisemitic, and that the BDS movement works with the “national and Islamic forces in Palestine,” which include the terrorist organizations Hamas, Islamic Jihad and the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine.

The organization BDS Austria disrupted a talk by Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked talk at the University of Vienna in February. Last year, a coalition of student groups at the University of Vienna passed a resolution rejecting BDS and labeling it antisemitic.

Austrian financial services giant Erste Group closed BDS Austria’s bank account last year.

The Austrian National Union of Students is based in Vienna and was founded in 1946. According to its website, the union is “the legal representative of all students to the relevant ministries.”

The Vienna-based NGO Austrian-Arab Meeting Center (ÖAB) hosted in June a BDS event with Farid Esack, a South African Islamic theologian and head of BDS South Africa, which has raised money for Amman-based Palestinian terrorist Leila Khaled.

The ÖAB has a bank account with Erste Group Bank. Khaled tours Europe to promote BDS. She is a member of the PFLP – an EU- and US-classified terrorist organization.

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