Israeli, Vienna politician slam anti-Israel measure

Green Party deputy Marco Schreuder decries Bundesrat criticism of Jewish state’s anti-terror policy as ‘one-sided.’

July 2, 2012 22:09
4 minute read.
Austrian Parliament

Austrian Parliament 370. (photo credit: REUTERS)


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BERLIN – The deputy chief of the Israeli Embassy in Vienna sharply criticized on Monday the Federal Council of Austria (Bundesrat) resolution for applying double standards to the Jewish state by singling out its anti-terror policy for condemnation but ignoring the policies other nations.

In a telephone interview with The Jerusalem Post on Monday, the Israeli diplomat in Vienna said “Israel was singled out while people in Syria are being slaughtered.”

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When asked if the resolution passed last week condemning Israel’s administrative detention of suspected Palestinian terrorists is anti-Semitic, the deputy chief repeated that the document unfairly “singles out Israel and is not helpful for peace.”

She expressed frustration and disappointment about the anti- Israel legislative action.

“We knew about it for the last 10 days. We gave material to various people. There was nothing much more we could do. This is a problem for the State of Israel all over Europe,” she continued The diplomat also cited South Africa, where there are growing anti-Israel governmental measures.

Speaking from Vienna with the Post on Monday, Marco Schreuder, a Green Party deputy in the 62-member Bundesrat who was the lone dissenting voice against the resolution, said that it “is only directed against Israel and not against other states. It is onesided.”

The Bundesrat is the legislative body for the nine states of Austria and is a cross section of political parties, ranging from the social democrats to the conservatives to the greens to the neo-fascist Freedom Party of Austria.

Schreuder, who has visited the Jewish state and listened to reports from Israeli parents about undertaking anti-terror measures to protect their children, noted in detailed explanation on his blog, as well as in conversation with the Post, that there are other countries around the world – Ireland, the United States, the United Kingdom and Australia, for example – that employ administrative detention. He told the Post that, generally speaking, the debate is legitimate about terror-prevention measures and striking a legal balance, but stressed that disparate treatment is being applied to Israel.

Schreuder said in his Bundesrat speech against the resolution that Israel’s counter-terrorism measure is mainly directed against Hamas. In a highly unusual move for an Austrian politician, he cited the anti-Semitic provisions of the Hamas charter – which calls for the murder of Jews and jihad against the State of Israel – to show his fellow legislators the lethal threats that the Jewish state faces from Hamas.

Many German and Austrian politicians downplay the Hamas charter and its goal to obliterate Israel.

Schreuder asked in his speech why the resolution is not also directed against administrative detention on the Palestinian side, which is frequently used against gay Palestinians and alleged collaborators on behalf of Israel. He noted that gay Palestinian men are arrested when they have contact with Israeli groups or NGOs for homosexuals.

In an email to the Post, Yacov Stiassny of the Israel-based Central Committee for Jews in Austria decried the resolution as “the old naked hate against the Jews that presents itself with a new holier-than-though look.”

He added that this reasoning helps explain why Israel is the number one subject in the Austrian parliament debate and in the media coverage, rather than Syria or Darfur.

Stiassny praised Marco Schreuder as “the only ‘righteous’ deputy in the Bundesrat,” referencing a clear reference to the term “righteous gentiles” that Yad Vashem uses to describe non-Jews who fought to save Jews from the Nazis.

Stiassny said the anti-Israel sentiments in Austria embody the same driving force of age-old anti-Semitism. In terms of post- Holocaust Austria, he said it is the political legacy of Austria since the time of former chancellor Bruno Kreisky, who worked with Palestinian Liberation Organization head Yasser Arafat.

“Most of the Bundesrat deputies know neither the country nor the history of Israel,” said Stiassny.

Schreuder wrote on his blog that he opposed the unanimous Vienna state council condemnation of Israel’s interception of the Gaza-bound Mavi Marmara flotilla in 2010.

Similar to the Bundesrat vote last week, members of all mainstream democratic parties from the Vienna state council, ranging from the social democrats to the greens to the conservatives, formed an alliance on May 31, 2010, with the radical right-wing Austrian Freedom Party, and blasted Israel’s actions aboard the Mavi Marmara.

The fiercely anti-Israel social democratic representative Omar al-Rawi engineered the resolution in 2010 and spoke at a pro-Hamas rally at the time, which was attended by between 10,000 and 12,000 people. He told the pro- Hamas rally that the nine dead peace activists “did not die in vain” and declared that their fight must continue.

Schreuder, who had a seat in the Vienna state council at the time, said he would have voted against the resolution but was out of the country when the vote was taken. He protested the resolution on his blog.

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