pro israel rally vienna.
(photo credit: Oskar Goldberger)
The rolling series of mass anti-Semitic and anti-Israeli demonstrations across Austria are facing resistance from pro-Israel groups and Austrian Jews.
Vienna's small Jewish community and the political group Cafe Critique staged a rally on Monday evening on the Judenplatz (Jewish Square) under the motto "Against the terror of Hamas and for Israel's right to self-defense."
According to a report in the left-leaning daily Der Standard, an Austrian Interior Ministry spokesperson said 28 anti-Israeli demonstrations "with high attendance" have taken place in Austria since the outbreak of the IDF operation in Gaza.
Speaking from Vienna, Heribert Schiedel, an expert on Austrian anti-Semitism at the Documentation Center of Austrian Resistance, told The Jerusalem Post that he saw banners comparing Hitler with Prime Minister Olmert, as well the Nazi swastika with the Star of David at some of the pro-Palestinian demonstrations.
"Hamas is a group of unscrupulous murderers" who plan "the destruction of the Israeli state and terrorize its population," Ariel Muzicant, head of Vienna's 7,500 member Jewish community, told a crowd of 500 pro-Israel supporters.
Representatives of the Social Democrats, the Conservative Party, and the Green Party, the three mainstream Austrian political parties, spoke at the anti-Hamas event.
Pinning the blame on the Hamas for the outbreak of violence, Social Democratic councilman Peter FlorianschÃ¼tz said, "The main responsibility must be borne by those who use this conflict to support a logic of total domination, and they certainly are not in the Israeli government."
Dr. Stephan Grigat, a political philosopher and member of Cafe Critique who helped initiate the coalition "Free Gaza from Hamas" in Vienna, told the Post, "Whether Israelis or Palestinians - anyone interested in a long-term deescalation of the violence will have to fight the Iranian-backed Hamas.
"It must be remembered that all too often, in the current global conflict with Jihadism, the murderers hide behind the call for peace," he said.
Holding the rally on the Judenplatz carries great historical weight in Vienna because of the Holocaust memorial located on the square, which is devoted to the 77,000 Austrian Jews murdered by German and Austrian Nazis during World War II.
The rally organizers mounted a large video screen on Judenplatz showing footage of the "Code Red" alarms warning Israelis that they have 15 seconds to seek refuge in bunkers before Hamas rockets strike.
According to news reports, 100 police were present at the rally.
Austrian authorities have raised their security measures to protect Jewish and Israeli institutions against terror attacks.
While the European Union has outlawed Hamas, Austrians are permitted to raise funds for Hamas for non-military purposes. The Standard paper reported that Adnan Ibrahim, an Imam who was born in Gaza , delivered an anti-Western and anti-Israel diatribe last Friday in the Al-Schura mosque in Vienna.
He praised the Iranian "Khomeni revolution" for its opposition to Zionism and the US, adding that "Hamas in reality is resisting for all of us."