Austrian Jewish community calls for gov’t to ban IHH branch

Also call for ouster of Social Democratic Councilman who supports IHH.

IHH 311 (photo credit: Courtesy)
IHH 311
(photo credit: Courtesy)
BERLIN – The Austrian Jewish community issued a statement on Wednesday calling for the Austrian Interior Ministry to replicate the German ban of the International Humanitarian Relief Organization and outlaw the Austrian branch of the Turkish IHH NGO.
The German Interior Ministry shut down the Frankfurt- based IHH Germany this week because of its financial support of Hamas.
The 7,500-member Austrian Jewish community also called for the resignation of Social Democratic Councilman Omar al-Rawi, because of his “agitational politics” in support of the IHH activists who attacked Israeli naval commandos aboard the Turkish- sponsored Mavi Marmara protest ship on May 31.
In a reference to the German ban, the Austrian Jewish community wrote that the Interior Ministry in Vienna should “become active in similar ways with respect to the Austrian branch of IHH.”
Rudolf Gollia, a spokesman for the Austrian Interior Ministry, told The Jerusalem Post on Thursday that there was “no recognizable behavior” that warrants “measures” to ban IHH’s local branch. Gollia declined to comment about whether the security authorities were monitoring IHH’s activities.
Samuel Laster, a long-time observer of Austrian-Israeli relations and editor-in-chief of the Vienna-based online Jewish news site Die Jüdische, told the Post on Thursday that “Austria should ban the IHH because it is one of at least four Hamas front-organizations known to the authorities. Terror networks like to maintain infrastructure and accounts in Austria, which they call a ‘rest area.’ Austria does little unless Austrian interests are affected.”
Laster added that “the close of the investigation of two Hamas organizations around 18 months ago suggested that the German IHH would move to Austria. That is why experts are urging a ban on IHH. In addition, Vienna is a control center for the Muslim Brotherhood and the focus of Wahabi-influenced propaganda.”
Laster’s news site and the Austrian Jewish community have charged Rawi with inciting a new round of jihadists to murder Israelis.
In June, Rawi called for the “continuation of the struggle” of the nine dead activists on the Mavi Marmara, speaking at a pro-Hamas rally in Vienna. His party, the Social Democrats, sponsored a city council resolution that unilaterally condemned Israel on May 31. Aviv Shir-On, the Israeli ambassador to Austria, told the Post that the resolution was one-sided and devoid of facts.
According to a report on Wednesday in the Die Presse daily, Rawi said, “My political criticism of the storming of a Gaza solidarity ship by the Israeli army has nothing to do with ‘fundamentalism and agitation.’” He added that “I have nothing to do with either the Turkish or the German IHH, let alone being their representative.
The confusion between these two organizations is apparently aimed at criminalizing the Turkish aid organization, and thus also the Gaza solidarity flotilla.”