Austria communist party rejects BDS, recalls Nazi boycott of Jews

“Israel's right to exist is inviolable for the KPÖ [Communist Party of Austria]."

The Austrian Federal Chancellery, the government building where the Federal Chancellor and some members of the Austrian government have their offices hoisted an Israeli flag on its roof. (photo credit: OFFICE OF THE AUSTRIAN CHANCELLOR)
The Austrian Federal Chancellery, the government building where the Federal Chancellor and some members of the Austrian government have their offices hoisted an Israeli flag on its roof.
(photo credit: OFFICE OF THE AUSTRIAN CHANCELLOR)

One of the world’s oldest communist parties bucked the hard-left pro-boycott Israel trend, declaring in October its opposition to the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions campaign targeting the Jewish state.

“Israel's right to exist is inviolable for the KPÖ [Communist Party of Austria]. A boycott of Israeli goods – as demanded by the BDS campaign – recalls, against the background of German-Austrian history, the disgusting ‘do not buy from Jews’ propaganda of the Nazis,… [and] is deeply rejected,” wrote the Austrian communist party for the state Styria.

The party’s answer came in response to thirty questions submitted by politician Kurt Hohensinner from the Austrian People's Party in Graz, the capital of Styria.

“Because of different statements, there was always repeated irritation between representatives of the KPÖ and the Jewish community. Where do you stand with respect to the BDS movement? Where do you stand with respect to Israel’s right to exist?”

The Austrian People’s Party sent the questionnaire to the communists to gauge whether the parties could cooperate on city policy and lawmaking. The conservative Austrian People’s Party classified BDS as antisemitic in a federal parliamentary vote in 2020.

Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions Movement, also known as BDS. (credit: Wikimedia Commons)Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions Movement, also known as BDS. (credit: Wikimedia Commons)

Germany’s federal parliament declared BDS an antisemitic campaign in 2019. A year later, the Austrian federal parliament voted unanimously that BDS is antisemitic.  

In 2019, the KPÖ in Graz refused to vote for a resolution against antisemitism and against BDS, sparking widespread criticism across Austria, according to a November 2 article in the Austrian daily Der Standard by Markus Sulzbacher.

Sulzbacher’s expose covered rising left-wing antisemitism in Austria.

The communist party said it rejected the 2019 anti-BDS resolution because it “disregarded all conspiracy theory, German national and fraternity antisemites.” The KPÖ said the other parties rejected its “amendments” to change the resolution.

According to the Der Standard article, there were415 registered incidents of antisemitism in Austria for the first half of 2021.

The number of left-wing antisemitic outbreaks amounted to 100. There were 244 extreme right-wing incidents of Jew-hatred and 71 Muslim-based antisemitic events.

In May, an anti-Israel rally in Vienna during the Jewish state's conflict with the US- and EU-designated terrorist entity Hamas showed a large picture of convicted Palestinian terrorist Leila Khaled, with a rifle and the phrase "Rebellion is justified."  

Khaled is a member of another US- and EU-designated terrorist organization: the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine. She hijacked two planes: TWA flight 840 on August 29, 1969, and El Al flight 219 on September 6, 1970.

The Communist Party of Austria has its origins in the establishment of the Communist Party of Germany-Austria in 1918. The Austrian Fatherland Front and Nazis banned the communist party between 1933-1945. The KPÖ supported the founding of Israel in 1948 but turned anti-Israel after it defeated Arab armies in the 1967 Six Day War.